Roles and Responsibilities of a Board member

The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is an independent administrative tribunal. The PBC makes decisions on the conditional release for offenders sentenced to federal institutions and for offenders sentenced to provincial institutions in provinces and territories where there are no provincial or territorial boards of parole. The PBC also renders decisions regarding record suspensions for former offenders who have successfully re-entered society as law‑abiding citizens; and makes clemency recommendations.

  • The PBC decision-makers are full-time or part-time members. They are Governor in Council (GIC) appointees made by the Governor General of Canada, on the advice of the Queen’s Privy Council of Canada (i.e., the Cabinet).
  • There are not more than 60 full-time members and a number of part-time members who hold office during good behaviour[1], who are typically appointed for mandates of three to five years. There is a possibility of reappointment; however, there is no guarantee.

Role of a Board member

Preparation for hearings

  • Board members must examine many cases each day and render decisions crucial to public safety.
  • Time management is a very important skill, as each case can consist of several volumes of files. The content of the files can be very descriptive and disturbing.
  • Board members work independently, with little administrative support.
  • Board members should be proficient in computer skills, especially in word processing.
  • In general, a Board member’s work week consists of two days of preparation for hearings, two days of hearings and one day of in-office decisions. 
  • On average, Board members must prepare three to six cases per hearing day. Each Board member must be thoroughly familiar with all files. Therefore, they should expect to spend at least six to eight hours reading and preparing for each hearing day. In some cases, preparation might take longer.
  • In addition to the established workload, Board members must further their knowledge and keep abreast of changes in decision-making and administrative policies on risk assessment. 

Decision-Making: Hearings and Office Reviews

  • While the majority of Board member’s work is performed in the office, some of the work takes place in institutions. In some institutions (minimum and medium security), the Board members will be in the presence of offenders while walking the corridors.
  • Decisions are made by one or two Board members, either through an in-office file review (without a hearing) or a hearing with the offender and their parole officer. The hearing may take place in person, usually at the institution where the offender is incarcerated, or remotely by videoconference or teleconference.
  • Hearing days begin at 8:00 a.m. and rarely end before 4:30 p.m. Generally, Board members will advise the offender of their decision and reasons at the hearing and will provide the written decision and reasons no later than 15 days after the day on which the decision was made.
  • Hearings are conducted in close proximity to offenders, whether they are taking place in-person or remotely. At times, Board members must be able to manage confrontational and aggressive behaviours.
  • Some hearings are held in the presence of Indigenous Elders in accordance with Indigenous culture and spirituality. In some cases, the Elder performs a smudging ceremony by burning sacred herbs in the hearing room.
  • Hearings can also be held in the presence of victims, offender assistants, Cultural Advisors, observers and the media.
  • In general, Board members render eight in-office decisions on days intended for this purpose. Some Board members may also render decisions in record suspension cases (formerly pardons).
  • Board members are often confronted by human misery. Board members must remain objective, while being exposed to disturbing and offensive information.
  • They are to understand and apply Court decisions.
  • They are to work with another Board member to conduct hearings but render decisions independently.
  • Board members are to consider the protection of society as the main focus of the decision-making.
  • They adopt well-developed interviewing skills and display active listening skills.
  • They are tasked with writing clear, concise and comprehensive decisions based on a thorough risk assessment. These decisions should be able to withstand scrutiny from offenders, victims, and society in general.


  • Board members have the duty to uphold the credibility of the PBC.
  • Board members are to remain independent and accountable.
  • They are to have no political involvement. 
  • They do not offer public comments on their role as Board members.
  • They should not participate in any activities incompatible with this same role.
  • Board members are to be cautious in their use of social networking sites.

Terms and conditions of employment

  • Full-time members must be willing to relocate close to the regional office (Moncton, Montreal, Kingston, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Abbotsford).
  • Board members are required to travel in the performance of their duties. Given the travel distance to the institutions, Board members start very early in the morning and return home at irregular times. Board members should expect to be away from home overnight frequently.
  • Board members are subject to the Treasury Board Travel Directive for work-related travel.
  • Salary ranges: GCQ 4: Full-time Board member: $141,700.00 - $166,600.00/year;
    GCQ 4: Part-time Board member: $710 - $835 per day. Part-time members do not receive any benefits (i.e. vacations, sick leave, pension plan, etc.)
  • For more information on the Terms and Conditions of Employment for Full-Time Governor in Council Appointees (GIC), please refer to the Government of Canada GIC Appointments Website.
  • Statutes and guidelines govern the conduct and actions of GIC appointees while in office. Please refer to the following links for more details:

    • The Conflict of Interest Act establishes conflict of interest and post-employment compliance measures for public office-holders. The Act is administered by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.
    • The Ethical Guidelines for Public Office Holders outline four ethical principles that must be adhered to by all public office holders, please refer to the Government of Canada GIC Appointments Website mentioned above and go to General Information – Reference Material.
    • The Guidelines for the Political Activities of Public Office Holders are based on the general principle that public office holders should not participate in any political activity which might impair, or be seen to impair, their ability to discharge their duties in a politically impartial manner or cast doubt on the integrity or impartiality of the office. Please refer to the Government of Canada GIC Appointments Website mentioned above and go to General Information – Reference Material.

Part-time Board members

  • Part-time members are expected to be available on a regular basis (on average, approximately five to ten days per month). For this reason it is expected that they not leave the country for prolonged periods.
  • Part-time work is distributed evenly to Board members.
  • A part-time position is not sufficient to earn a living.

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