“We thank the Correctional Investigator for the diligent work that went into the 2019-2020 Annual Report which raises important issues and recommendations regarding education and training, health and safety, and other important issues, in federal correctional institutions.
The Correctional Investigator contributes to public safety by identifying issues of concern within the federal correctional system. By collaborating with stakeholders and partners, the Correctional Investigator, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), and the Government of Canada all work towards the same core objectives: safeguarding our communities by ensuring that Canada’s federal correctional system is safe, humane and effective, and increasing the rehabilitation and safe transition of federal offenders back in the community as productive, law-abiding citizens.
Increased education opportunities and enhanced employment skills training are key contributors to successful reintegration. CSC has committed to modernizing the education opportunities it offers, including initiatives that develop digital literacy, a critical element of modern education. I’ve asked for an update from CSC in June 2021 that will help us assess what further actions need to be taken to ensure inmates are getting the skills and training they need to successfully reintegrate into society once their sentences are complete.
All offenders should be able to serve their time in our correctional system with dignity and without fear. A zero-tolerance approach to sexual coercion and violence is fundamental to CSC’s operations to protect the physical and mental health and overall safety of those who live and work within federal correctional institutions. In collaboration with CSC, Public Safety will conduct research to inform a strategy to detect, prevent, and respond to sexual coercion and violence in correctional institutions, with consideration of vulnerable populations such as inmates with prior trauma, LGBTQ2+, women, and those with mental health issues. An interim report on the work undertaken is set to be developed by Spring 2021.
The issues raised by the Correctional Investigator are extremely important and I will work closely with CSC leadership to ensure that progress is made and that we continue to meet the highest standards when it comes to protecting the public and maintaining public safety. Federal corrections continues to undergo a period of rapid transformation – I expect the CSC and the OCI to continue to work together to ensure that we are serving all Canadians to the very best of our ability.”