February 11, 2019 – Dorchester, New Brunswick – Correctional Service Canada
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, the Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, on behalf of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Hon. Ralph Goodale, announced that Correctional Service Canada (CSC) is moving forward with plans to build a Health Centre of Excellence at Shepody Healing Centre in Dorchester, New Brunswick.
Last March, Minister LeBlanc announced that a CSC working group would conduct an exploratory study to examine the feasibility of creating a Health Centre of Excellence at Shepody. That study has now resulted in a proposal to build a new facility with 155 health beds, which represents an increase of 87 mental health beds, including 10 new beds for women offenders, and 11 new hospital beds for the Atlantic region. The new facility would enhance public safety by strengthening CSC’s capacity to address the mental health needs of federal offenders before their eventual return to the community.
The Health Centre of Excellence would meet all Canadian and United Nations medical standards, and would improve access to interventions and treatment for offenders with mobility issues and those who require 24-hour care.
In the coming weeks and months, the working group will meet with local stakeholders, including volunteers, Elders, and members of Dorchester Penitentiary’s Citizen Advisory Committee, to further develop plans for the new facility. In addition, a request for proposals for pre-design services will be issued later this year.
The creation of a new Health Centre of Excellence at Shepody is part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to improve mental health care in the federal correctional system. The 2017 and 2018 federal budgets included $78.2 million for mental health care in CSC, and the recent Fall Economic Statement included another $448 million for corrections, of which $150 million is specifically devoted to mental health. The remaining $298 million will support the implementation of Bill C-83, legislation that eliminates the practice of administrative segregation and ensures that inmates who need to be separated from the mainstream offender population for safety reasons continue to receive the mental health care and other rehabilitative interventions they require.
The Government will continue working to ensure that the federal correctional system holds offenders accountable, while providing an environment conducive to inmate rehabilitation, staff safety and the protection of the public.
“I am thrilled that our government is moving forward with a bilingual Health Centre of Excellence in Dorchester. A mental health care centre of this kind will make communities safer by giving federal offenders better access to continuity of care in support of their eventual successful release to the community. This new infrastructure will also provide the hardworking staff with a modern, safe environment to do their important jobs.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade and Member of Parliament for Beauséjour