National Joint Committee of Senior Criminal Justice Officials Annual Report 2008-2009

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Message from the Chair

I am pleased to present the annual report of the National Joint Committee of Senior Criminal Justice Officials (NJC) for the 2008‑09 fiscal year.  This report describes the major activities and achievements of the NJC and its regional committees (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies and Pacific).

Every year, the NJC holds two national meetings, while the chairs of the regional committees hold 30 or so meetings throughout the country's five regions.  A wide variety of issues are discussed, such as: organized crime, gang management strategies, intimidation of justice officials, aboriginal issues, high‑risk offenders, child exploitation, victims' rights and the sex offender registry.  Time and time again, NJC regional committees invite representatives of their respective communities to take part in these discussions.

We hold the national meeting in the spring in one of the five regions, while the fall meeting is usually held in Ottawa, so that more representatives from Public Safety Canada are able to attend. Our semi‑annual meeting in Fredericton on June 5-6, 2008 was entitled "Offenders with Mental Health Issues: How do we respond?” NJC participants representing various federal, provincial, municipal and voluntary organizations active in the criminal justice system, discussed the collaborative approaches in addressing the needs of offenders suffering from mental health disorders. The meeting focused on issues related to offender management and long term supervision in the community.

This year, NJC hosted a major international Symposium on systemic response to threats and intimidation towards justice officials, October 19-21, 2008 in Québec City, QC.  NJC members attended the Symposium in lieu of a fall meeting.  Over 250 delegates, from all criminal justice partners including Magistrates, attended this very successful Symposium on a timely topic.  General and specific recommendations were tabled in order to support justice officials that are intimidated or threatened by organized crime.  Preventive measures were also discussed in workshops.

The success of the NJC has always been attributable to the dedication and participation of our members. During the last years of my mandate as Chair of the NJC, I have had the pleasure and opportunity to work with members of both the national and regional committees, who have given me every reason to be confident that the NJC has made a valuable contribution to the criminal justice system. As I look forward to the upcoming year, and the work yet to be accomplished by the NJC, I am certain that it can continue to be a driving force in the criminal justice system for years to come.

The current Government has reiterated that the safety of its citizens is a fundamental objective. NJC will help to fulfill this mandate by facilitating the dialogue among criminal justice professionals regarding law enforcement and legislation, and by focusing on crime prevention. I am confident that our upcoming meetings will explore a variety of issues related to public safety and communities and will build on the success of the past years.

The issue of criminal gangs is a major preoccupation not only for the Government of Canada but also for criminal justice officials. Effective gang management strategies from a police, prosecution and correctional perspectives are important topics for NJC. The 2009 semi-annual spring meeting that took place in Victoria addressed these issues.

In 2009-10, we will review our three year Strategic Business Plan in order to ensure efficiency and compliance with current Government priorities.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all NJC Regions for their significant contribution to the criminal justice community and the safety of all Canadians.

Mr. Pierre Sangollo
President
National Joint Committee of
Senior Criminal Justice Officials

Background information

The National Joint Committee of Senior Criminal Justice Officials was established in 1973 under the joint auspices of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) and the National Parole Board (NPB).

The original purpose of the Committee was to improve communication, understanding and cooperation among police and corrections officials.  Its founding members were senior police officers representing the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, RCMP, and officials from NPB.  Later, the Committee expanded to include the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel (CACC) and representation from the First Nations Chiefs of Police Association.

NJC establishes and maintains efficient and effective mechanisms of communication and consultation between the police, CSC, NPB, CACC, the First Nations Chiefs of Police Association and other agencies which are part of the criminal justice system.

The NJC works in partnership with governments and all agencies and services in the provision of advice on any matter referred to the Committee by these governments, agencies and services.

Today, NJC is a unique coast-to-coast forum that brings together representatives from Public Safety Canada, the Department of Justice, CSC, provincial Crowns, police and the NPB.  NJC is also the sole criminal justice forum in Canada that engages people who are active in the operational administration of criminal justice and represents governments, non-governmental organizations and other criminal justice players in discussions on the criminal justice system.

Highlights from the semi-annual national meeting

Offenders with Mental Health Issues: How do we respond?
Fredericton, June 5-6, 2008

The semi‑annual meeting, which took place in June 2008 in Fredericton, NB, was entitled " Offenders with mental health issues: how do we respond?” NJC participants, representing various federal, provincial, municipal and voluntary organizations active in the criminal justice system, discussed the collaborative approaches in addressing the needs of offenders suffering from mental health disorders. The meeting focused on issues related to offender management and long term community supervision.

The Honourable John Winston Foran, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, delivered the opening remarks and noted that both federal and provincial systems face the challenges of dealing with offenders suffering from mental health disorders. Improved communication, understanding and cooperation among police, corrections officials and other partners is the most effective way of addressing the challenges of mental health.

The police representatives observed that the criminal justice system often criminalizes people who suffer from various mental health disorders and significant police resources are involved in dealing with this type of offenders. Detective Fiona Wilson-Bates from the Vancouver Police Department studied various factors that contribute to the high rates of arrest of persons suffering from mental health problems and the increase in suicides rates among these offenders.  She suggested that the improved cooperation between the criminal justice system and mental health authorities could help offenders, alleviate some administrative burdens posed on both systems and increase public safety.

Cameron Gunn, Crown Prosecutor, who represented the New Brunswick Office of the Attorney General, recommended that police, courts and correctional institution should develop alternatives to incarceration for offenders with mental health issues. He argued that community-based residential institutions, multi-disciplinary outreach programs and other alternatives to incarceration are more effective in addressing the needs of offenders who suffer from mental illnesses than traditional intervention methods.

Irving Kulik, Executive Director of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association, talked about “The Collaborative Project”, an initiative undertaken by his organization and the St. Leonard's Society of Canada. This project focused on developing best practices, reducing stigma and discrimination, and strengthening the community based programs for people who suffer from mental illnesses.

Symposium on Systemic Response to Threats and Intimidation Towards Justice Officials
Québec City, October 19-21, 2008

NJC and the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel hosted a major international Symposium on systemic response to threats and intimidation towards justice officials, October 19-21, 2008 in Québec City, QC. Over 250 delegates attended this very successful Symposium on a timely topic.  Attendees included a wide variety of criminal justice professionals, such as:

NJC received positive feedback from the Symposium delegates.  The conference provided a venue to:

Invited speakers presented on a wide range of topics related to intimidation, such as:  the evolution of organized crime; intimidation from a police, prosecution, judiciary and corrections perspective; the psychological impacts of threats and intimidation; as well as an international perspective from the United States and Argentina.

Regional NJC highlights

Atlantic region

Chair: Pierre Castonguay

In 2008-09, the NJC Atlantic Region Executive Committee planned and hosted the semi-annual national meeting held June 5-6, 2008 in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The meeting focused on effective responses for offenders with mental health issues. NJC participants, representing various federal, provincial, municipal and voluntary organizations active in the criminal justice system, discussed the collaborative approaches in addressing the needs of offenders suffering from mental health disorders. The meeting focused on issues related to offender management and long term supervision in the community.

A number of long-standing members and past chairs have recently retired from NJC due to promotions. It is obvious that with the departure of such long-standing and significant contributors to NJC Atlantic, there is a need to recruit new members throughout the Atlantic region. This process has already begun with some renewed interest during the planning of the semi-annual meeting in Fredericton. It is expected that the momentum gained during that time will carry us forward as we strive to create partnerships among the participants in the criminal justice system.

A new Regional Chair, Stephen McIntyre, Chief of Police of the Rothesay Regional Police Force, representing the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has been elected in May 2009.  Chief McIntyre, with the assistance of Eric Woodburn of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel, will undertake efforts to revitalize the NJC Atlantic Regional Committee.

A number of issues to be addressed at our next regional meeting have already been identified by the Atlantic Region Executive Committee, such as: Gang activities inside institutions and in community, application of 810.1 and 810.2, long term supervision orders, offenders with mental health deficiencies, and justice witnesses related to the Witness Protection Program Act (WPPA) to name a few.

Quebec region

Chair: Didier Deramond

In 2008-09, the Committee met five times in the Montreal region. At the first meeting on April 4, 2008, the members discussed updating the working group's reference paper on managing justice partners, the 2008-09 action plan/committee priorities and the symposium on “Battling Intimidation — Partners in Law Enforcement” held at the Château Frontenac in Quebec City from October 19 to 21, 2008. The entire regional committee was involved in planning and developing the national symposium with the NJC. Follow‑ups on the symposium were done at the June and September 2008 meetings.

At the meeting on June 13, 2008, members discussed CSC's Review Panel Report. Also at the meeting, André Courtemanche announced that he would be leaving the committee. He is retiring from the Correctional Service of Canada.

At the meeting on September 12, 2008, Sabin Ouellet, Chief Prosecutor, Bureau des affaires extérieures et de la sécurité, Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales du Québec, explained the history and rationale behind section 810, Bill C‑2 and the sub‑committee on the post-sentence supervision of dangerous offenders.

At the meeting on December 12, 2008, the Chair informed members that an organizing committee meeting would be held following the symposium in October for a debriefing. A summary of recommendations was sent to participants, administrators and associations (i.e. police chiefs). The representative from the Direction générale des services correctionnels du Québec informed committee members that recommendations had already been submitted to the Deputy Minister.

For the meeting on February 27, 2009, committee members met at CSC's Martineau Community Mental Health Unit. The unit director, Réal Racicot, talked to members about the centre's program, objectives, clientele, multidisciplinary team, volunteers and the activities residents participate in. Members were then invited to visit the centre.

A meeting with the Association des Directeurs de Police du Québec (ADPQ) and criminal justice managers was held on March 31, 2009, at the Hilton Montreal-Laval hotel. One of the main subjects on the agenda was criminal and street gangs. How can we successfully curb gang membership? What are the effective intervention tools? Which partners are critical to success? The meeting ended with closing remarks from Pierre Sangollo (National Chair) and Didier Deramond (Quebec Chair).

Committee members also attended the symposium on “Battling Intimidation — Partners in Law Enforcement” held at the Fairmont Château Frontenac in Quebec City from October 19 to 21, 2008.

Ontario region

Chair: Mike Federico

NJC Ontario Region routinely holds two meetings a year, usually in the spring and the fall.  In 2008, instead of holding a spring meeting, members attended the national meeting in Ottawa on February 7, 2008, and took part in some of the presentations. 

Zone 3 of the Ontario Region held its annual conference on November 27, entitled “Who Else is You – Identity Theft Scams”.  The conference featured Senior Fraud Investigator of TD Canada Trust, Len McGowan, who discussed debit card skimming and counterfeit credit card investigations.  Detective Ken Reimer of the Toronto Police Service explored ATM tampering and counterfeit currency cases.  Detective Sergeant Gary O'Brien of the OPP Anti-Rackets examined fraud against governments.  Noted author of such books as The Canadian Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft, Graham McWaters, provided the audience with practical tips on how to avoid being victimized.  Finally, Ms. Mary O'Donoghue, General Counsel to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario spoke on the efforts of the Privacy Commissioner to protect citizens' confidential information.

Zone 3 includes the police forces of Barrie, Cobourg, Durham Region, Kawartha Lakes, Midland, Peterborough, Peel Region, Toronto, York Region, a number of Ontario Provincial Police Districts, and several Royal Canadian Mounted Police Detachments.  Also represented are the Crown Attorney's Association, Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Security, the Ontario Parole and Earned Releases Board, the Correctional Service of Canada and the National Parole Board.

Disclosure of Police Records to Corrections and Parole Authorities

For some time the NJC Ontario Region has supported the need for an agreement between police and correctional agencies in Ontario to cover the release of information, particularly about victims and witnesses.  The matter was referred to the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), and at its annual general meeting (June 22, 2005) the OACP adopted Resolution 2005–02, Disclosure of Police Records to Corrections and Parole Authorities.  To move the matter forward, the Committee met with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) where it was agreed that, while changes to the regulations of the Police Services Act (PSA) were pursued, an All Chiefs' Memo would be issued to encourage compliance among police services Ontario wide (ref: Nov 24, 2005 minutes).

In May 2006, a comprehensive package including an appropriately worded All Chiefs' Memo was produced.  The package explained a Chief's authorities when considering the release of information of the type contemplated, and the Ministry believed the package would provide Chiefs of Police with the reassurances they sought.  But to ensure the memo fully conformed with the spirit as well as the letter of privacy legislation, the MCSCS asked the opinion of the Privacy Commissioner.  The Privacy Commissioner offered her opinion and the memo is being redrafted in a way that will meet acceptable privacy standards. 

Police/Corrections Liaison Officers

To help manage offenders serving their sentences in the community on conditional release, CSC in Ontario has established a liaison program with local police, where a police officer working on-site at a CSC community facility, provides information and advice between the police and CSC.  The police officer is seconded to CSC and the salaries of the police officers are paid by CSC.  The benefits of this arrangement include the timely exchange of information and a prompt police response when needed.  Currently, a police officer is working with CSC in Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Kingston.

The program is receiving favourable reports and the initiative promises to further improve offender-management especially when combined with the All Chiefs Memo by promoting a freer exchange of information between police and correctional and parole authorities, province-wide.

Police Handbook on Conditional Release:

In 2000, the NJC Ontario Region published a handbook for police officers “intended as a rapid reference resource on conditional release of adult offenders, federal and provincial, within the Ontario Region (NJC Ontario Region Police Handbook, 2)”.  The booklet has since been updated, and throughout 2008 was distributed to police services in Ontario.

Prairie region

Chair: Wayne Michaluk

In 2008-09, the Prairie Region of the National Joint Committee of Senior Criminal Justice Officials remained focused on promoting criminal justice initiatives and information sharing between all justice partners.

Active Committees in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Brandon/Dauphin and The Pas continue to promote the discussion of current criminal justice issues and provide opportunities to enhance working relationships between departments. Workshops and meetings in the Region have focused on topics such as; identity theft and the dangers associated with the increased use of internet sites such as MSN and Facebook; anti-gang initiatives to promote healing and opportunity for gang members to disengage from gang related activity; an introduction by the Winnipeg Police Service behavioural health services unit to the Winnipeg committee regarding the work they are doing in promoting wellness and assistance activities for the members. The shortage of lawyers in rural areas and the increasing remand counts seem to be consistent topics of discussion across the Region. Mental health challenges amongst the offender population continue to be at the forefront in working towards effective ways to provide safe means to work with this segment of the population. Work between departments to manage 810 orders and Long Term Supervision Orders in the community remains an area of concern when public safety is a priority. International relationships and working closely with Canadian and United States Border Services to effectively communicate information on potential illegal activities that cross international boundaries has been an area of interest and discussion in regional forums. Also, discussions continue at the local levels from the information gleaned from the Quebec City Symposium in October 2008 on the Systemic Response to Threats and Intimidation of Justice Officials. The Symposium has been a catalyst for interest in the topic and has identified a need for further review of existing policies and plans to address the potential challenges.

Potential workshops and regional meetings have been planned for 2009. Themes focused on employee wellness and the work of Critical Incident Stress programs in the various organizations has been discussed. As well, interest has been shown in the Region to pursue a Symposium for Community Corrections with a goal of establishing a more collaborative approach to working within the accountabilities and challenges of the Criminal Justice System in a manner that creates and ensures safer communities.

The Prairie Region is excited to announce that Chief Clive Weighill from the Saskatoon Police Service has accepted the role of NJC Chairperson for the Region. Chief Weighill will bring much enthusiasm and direction for NJC, which will only enhance and build on the efforts already taking place in the Region. Chief Weighill will be introduced to the national group at the May 2009 Semi-Annual Meeting on Gang Management Strategies, in Victoria, BC.

Pacific region

Chair: Doug LePard 

2008-09 was another busy and productive year for the NJC Pacific Region.

The Pacific Region, in collaboration with other core supporters, played a significant role in the “Prolific and Violent Offenders (PADO)” conference held March 31-April 3 in Abbotsford BC.  This was a major conference with over 200 attendees from every province and two territories.  The Pacific Region Executive was prominent in putting on a two-hour panel on best practices in the management of high risk offenders.  In addition an Executive member moderated a panel on Dangerous Offender and Long Term Supervision Order applications, and another member was a keynote speaker on “psychopathic and predatory offenders – what we know to what we do.”

On June 27, 2008, a Regional NJC meeting, hosted by the RCMP Behavioural Sciences Group, was held in Surrey, and was well attended by Zone Reps from around the region from as far away as Prince George, representing provincial and federal corrections, municipal police and RCMP, and Crown counsel.  The meeting included presentations on “NJC – What's it All About?” for the many new members attending; the Downtown Community Court model; Sentencing Patterns for Chronic Offenders; the lack of capacity to deal with mentally ill offenders; the Prolific Offender Initiative; and Preventing Youth from Joining Gangs, as well as other NJC business.

On October 24, 2008, the Vancouver Island Zone held a Police/Parole workshop in Ladysmith with 80 attendees.  Topics included a joint presentation from the Integrated Gang Task Force, National Weapons Enforcement Support Team, and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit. In addition, the Victoria Police Department Street Crime Unit gave a presentation on gang activity in Victoria.

On October 27, 2008, the Pacific Region Executive met at Vancouver Police HQ to discuss a variety of issues, including information sharing between RCMP and CSC; high risk offenders notifications; offenders working for Elections Canada; Criminal Justice Reform Secretariat initiatives; a report back on the Quebec NJC conference attended by Teal Maedel from Pacific Region; and an upcoming Police/Parole Workshop.

On January 22, 2009 the Lower Mainland Zone held a one day Police/Parole Workshop at Shadbolt Centre in Burnaby with 150 attendees, and a theme of Threats and Intimidation Against Criminal Justice Officials.  The Mayor of Burnaby, RCMP Deputy Commissioner, CSC Deputy Commissioner, National Parole Board Rep, and NJC Pacific Region Chair all provided opening remarks.  Presentations followed on topics  ranging from a review of the Quebec NJC conference with the same theme; offender profiles; CSC intelligence; security precautions for Crown counsel; the Integrated Gang Task Force; the Violence Suppression Team; and risk assessment. 

NJC Pacific has been pursuing for some time a problem with inadequate information on Parolees being accessible to police on CPIC, and the Chair met with Mr. Coulter, CSC Commissioner, in Ottawa on the issue and followed up with correspondence.  That resulted in a decision by CSC to approve the NJC recommendation, addressing a long-standing concern for officer safety and effective response to parole violations.

In addition to the activities summarized above, NJC Pacific also took on responsibility for organizing the semi-annual National Meeting to be held May 7-8 in Victoria, BC.

Plans for 2009-10 include developing a succession plan for the Executive and the Zones, and examining the possibility of a holding a major conference that would be educational, but would also be a “marketing tool” to build additional support for NJC.

National Joint Committee business plan 2006-2009

Objective I
Maintain an efficient and effective mechanism of information sharing and communication among criminal justice partners.
Activities Outputs
  • Identify and review emerging trends and issues of mutual concern to all sectors of the criminal justice system.
  • Share information on best practices and innovative strategies in the criminal justice system including related crime prevention measures.
  • Two semi-annual national meetings;
  • Regional meetings in all five regions of the country (Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairie and Pacific);
  • Local/zone workshops held across the country;
  • Developing a communications strategy for the Police Officers' Handbooks on Corrections and Conditional Release;
  • National members belonging to a regional committee for better flow of information;
  • A yearly self-evaluation of NJC activities to determine whether the committee is meeting identified objectives; and,
  • Develop a comprehensive work-plan.
Objective II
Enhance consultations and the advisory role of the Committee within federal, provincial and territorial governments on issues pertaining to policing, prosecutions, corrections, and parole.
Activities Outputs
  • Work in partnership with all levels of government, agencies and services to provide advice on any matter referred to the Committee.
 
  • Invite stakeholders to participate at meetings and to make presentations on their issues and initiatives as they relate to criminal justice;
  • Share minutes, reports and other related documentation; and,
  • Develop a strategy to feed into the policy development process.
Objective III
Enhance relationships among member organizations and the Criminal Justice Community to establish clear links for coordination and consultation.
Activities Outputs
  • Develop communication initiatives to facilitate cooperation among the components of the criminal justice system.
  • Wide distribution of Annual Report;
  • Distribute Annual Report to senior federal and provincial government officials;
  • Launch a NJC internet site;
  • Improve relationship between regional and national committees -- better flow of information and improved participation;
  • Improve method used to bring emerging issues to the attention of key players in the criminal justice system;
  • Better forecasting of workshop activity; and,
  • Develop a communication strategy.

National Joint Committee membership

Chair 

Pierre Sangollo
Director Intelligence and Preventive Security
Correctional Service Canada

Public Safety Canada

Mary Campbell
Director General
Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate

Vice-chair

National Parole Board

National coordinator – NJC

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police

Correctional Service of Canada

Canadian Association of Crown Counsel

Department of Justice

First Nations Chief of Police

Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics

Regional chairs

Regional chairs

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