Minister Mendicino issues Direction on use of Dry Cells


Ottawa – August 29, 2022

Today, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, issued the following statement:

Canadians rightly expect that Canada’s correctional system will build safer communities across the country by supporting the rehabilitation of offenders and their successful reintegration back into society.

Today, I issued a Ministerial Direction to the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) regarding the use of dry cells, one of several tools used by CSC to prevent the introduction of contraband. This Direction will ensure that CSC maintains safe and secure procedures surrounding dry cells, while always respecting the dignity and human rights of inmates.

This Direction provides clarity on the use of dry cells while the government develops regulations to supplement the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (“CCRA”).

The Direction also strengthens oversight as follows:

  1. When a placement reaches the 48 hour mark, written notice and the rationale for the placement must be provided to Regional Headquarters, and when it reaches 72 hours, it must also be provided to National Headquarters.
  2. Outside of business hours, if a placement is expected to reach either 48 or 72 hours, written notice and a rationale for the placement must be provided in advance.
  3. CSC will ensure that significant consideration is given to offenders’ physical and mental well-being when assessing the rationale for placement in a dry cell.
  4. CSC must ensure that adequate bedding, nutritious food in accordance with the Canada Food Guide, clothing and toiletry articles are provided to inmates in dry cells.

These efforts are further to the amendments the government made in the Budget Implementation Act, in which the CCRA was amended to respond to issues highlighted by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia decision in Adams. v. Nova Institution in 2021.

CSC and Public Safety Canada are working together to introduce changes to the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations to improve search and seizure in Canada’s federal institutions, including additional guidance regarding the use of dry cells.

The introduction of contraband into federal correctional institutions remains a significant and pervasive threat to the safety of staff, inmates and even the individual introducing it. The appropriate and measured use of dry cells helps CSC stop contraband and creates a safer environment for everyone.

CSC will continue to operationalize the new dry cell policy consistent with the principles and standards articulated in today's announcement. The government will also continue to consult widely regarding the regulatory changes. We will continue our efforts to ensure that our correctional system is keeping Canadians safe.


Audrey Champoux
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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