ARCHIVED - Government of Canada Takes Action to Increase Offender Accountability

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or record-keeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Reforms to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act

In December 2007, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) Independent Review Panel released its final report outlining recommendations for the Government of Canada.  The panel was assigned the task of completing a review of CSC's operational priorities, strategies, and business plans.

The Government is taking action on the recommendations contained in the report, titled A Roadmap to Strengthening Public Safety. Budget 2008 invested $478.8 million over five years to initiate the implementation of this new vision for federal corrections and to address the report's key recommendations.  It sets the foundation to strengthen the federal correctional system as proposed with the tabling of this Bill.

The proposed legislation includes the following key reforms:

These changes will ensure the “protection of society” becomes the paramount principle of corrections and conditional release.

Better Support for Victims of Crime
Enshrining in law, a victim's right to participate in parole board hearings

Although the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) clearly recognizes the interests of victims of crime and the role they play in the correctional and conditional release process, victims and victims' advocates have voiced dissatisfaction with the current provisions and have called for enhancements. Therefore, a victim's right to attend and make statements at National Parole Board hearings will be enshrined in law.

Additionally, the CCRA will be amended to expand the information that may be disclosed to victims by CSC and the Parole Board of Canada. This includes:

When offenders withdraw their participation 14 days or less before a parole hearing date, the Board may still proceed with a review and decision. This ensures that victims will no longer travel long distances to attend a parole hearing which is then cancelled at the last minute. Victims will also be able to request information on the reasons for a waiver of a parole hearing.

In addition to the proposed reforms to maximize the knowledge available to victims of crime, a National Advisory Committee on Victims Issues co-chaired by the Departments of Justice and Public Safety has been created. This committee gives victims the opportunity to provide input into policies and procedures that impact victims and victims' services.

Increasing Offender Responsibility and Accountability

The current disciplinary system will be modernized and enhanced, including:

Furthermore, adding a requirement in the Act to complete a Correctional Plan for each offender underscores the plan's importance. The legislation will require that a plan include certain elements such as behavioural expectations, objectives for program participation, and an offender meeting their court-ordered obligations, such as restitution to victims or child support.

The proposed legislation also includes provisions to:

Ensuring the Parole Board of Canada has the capacity and power it needs to protect society
Emphasizing the importance of taking into consideration the nature and gravity of an offence in National Parole Board decision-making, as well as the degree of responsibility of the offender.

The CCRA will be amended to:

Date modified: