Business Continuity Planning
Branch/Agency: Parole Board of Canada
- The Parole Board of Canada has taken measures to protect the health and safety of the public, offenders, and its Board members and staff in response to the COVID-19 situation.
- The Parole Board has streamlined its operations to focus on its core functions in the areas of: conditional release decisions, operations and appeals; pardon / record suspension revocations; Board member appointments; and essential Internal services.
- Consistent with measures taken by the Correctional Service of Canada to restrict visitor access to its institutions, the Parole Board has suspended all observers at its hearings, including victims. This is a temporary measure, and is being re-assessed on an ongoing basis.
- The Parole Board is also currently conducting its hearings primarily by videoconference.
If asked about impact on victims’ rights
- Victims will continue to have the ability to participate in PBC hearings by submitting statements by way of video or audio recording. If a victim has provided a victim statement, it will be considered by Board members in their decision-making.
- Victims who are not able to attend a parole hearing can request to listen to the audio recording of certain hearings. They can also request a copy of the written decision.
- Victims will continue to receive all legislated information to which they are entitled. They also have access to this information 24/7 through the Victims Portal, a free online service.
As part of its Business Continuity Planning in response to the current COVID-19 situation, the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) has streamlined its operations to core functions: Conditional release decisions, operations and appeals; Board member appointments; Pardon / record suspension revocations; Essential internal services (e.g., pay, HRMS, finance, mailroom).
In accordance with directive received from the Treasury Board Secretariat, most PBC staff are working from home (telework) and managers exercising the widest discretion to facilitate alternate work arrangements and ease staff anxiety. Staff at home are working irregular hours to help alleviate and deal with issues around network access.
A small number of Board members, executives, managers and critical staff are reporting to PBC offices – but practicing social distancing at work.
Casuals/Terms/Students – we have very few, but they will be informed that PBC will honor their contract and pay them, as per most recent OCHRO direction.
Hearings are being conducted by videoconference and this is generally working well. CSC has restricted access to visitors to its institutions. PBC has aligned itself and suspended observers at hearings, including victims. PBC regional offices have notified victims and observers directly. Some victims have expressed frustration publicly that hearings are proceeding (according to law) without victim attendance.
The Pardons and Record Suspension function has been suspended except for revocations. Revocations have a public safety impact and legal risk if not actioned.
ATIP function – deemed critical and continues to function; extensions of deadlines are being sought in some cases.
Prepared by: Mark Prieur, Director, Public Affairs and Partnerships, 613-808-7588
Approved by: Daryl Churney, Executive Director General, 613-404-4344
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