Deaths in Custody

Classification: Unclassified

Branch/Agency: CSC

Proposed Response:


Deaths in Custody

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has very clear legal responsibilities when an inmate dies in custody. Any time an inmate dies in custody, CSC must promptly notify the following parties, regardless of the cause of death:


CSC has legislation and policies governing the review and investigation of deaths in custody as well as the investigation of other incidents involving offenders.

An investigation is convened when an inmate dies or suffers a serious bodily injury. Several factors are considered when determining what level of investigation is convened (i.e., Tier I, Tier II, Local, File Review), such as:

Following the death in custody of a federal inmate, a national board of investigation (for non-natural death) or a mortality review (for a natural death) is convened by the Commissioner under section 19 or 20 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. The Senior Deputy Commissioner, in consultation with the Director General, Incident Investigations, will determine the authority under which the investigation will be convened and the type of investigative process to be applied.

When an incident occurs in an institution or in the community, the Commissioner; Director General, Incident Investigations, Institutional Head; or District Director may convene an investigation or file review. The objectives of investigating an incident are to:

Current Status

CSC is currently developing and implementing a number of interconnected initiatives to address issues related to Deaths in Custody.


Prepared by: Jessica Martineau, Officer Parliamentary Relations, 613-943-1726

Approved by: Kirstan Gagnon, Assistant Commissioner, Communications & Engagement, 613-995-6867

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