Commissioner’s mandate letter

Dear Commissioner Kelly:

It is with pleasure that I write to you in my capacity as Minister of Public Safety. The purpose of this letter is to update the objectives of the mandate letter issued to you by the Honourable Ralph Goodale upon your 2018 appointment as Commissioner of CSC.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC)'s work is essential to keep our communities safe. This involves appropriate custodial measures and the effective rehabilitation and safe reintegration of people serving a federal sentence. I commend you and your team for your efforts to advance this important mission. I also want to applaud the great work of CSC employees, in particular in the face of the pandemic.

I am pleased to see that progress has been made over the past few years. This includes CSC's implementation of Structured Intervention Units; its work to develop and incorporate Indigenous-informed risk assessment instruments and its efforts to fight systemic racism and address conditions and outcomes for Black, other racialized, and Indigenous offenders. These are important steps forward, yet there remains more work to be done.

As you know, the Prime Minister has given me a mandate to act in several important areas, and many of these touch upon the work of the CSC. As Minister of Public Safety, he has asked me to "continue to combat systemic racism and discrimination in the criminal justice system, including across all federal departments and agencies responsible for national security and the safety of Canadians, and to work with my colleague, the Minister of Justice, to address systemic racism and the overrepresentation of Black and racialized Canadians and Indigenous Peoples in the justice system." To realize this objective, I ask you to:

  • Prioritize working with and funding Indigenous organizations and communities to create additional section 81 and 84 agreements in accordance with the CCRA to ensure that Indigenous offenders have access to culturally-relevant programming and supports in the community.
  • Support the Government of Canada's work to address systemic racism and the overrepresentation of Black and racialized Canadians and Indigenous Peoples in the justice system.
  • Continue, in partnership with Public Safety, the work that is ongoing to ensure the effective operations of SIUs.
  • Support Public Safety Canada in the development and the implementation of a Federal Framework to Reduce Recidivism, and explore opportunities to increase community corrections supports.
  • Work to enhance inmate access to technology, including providing internet access, to facilitate their access to education, programming and community supports, all of which are essential to their safe and effective rehabilitation and reintegration.

In addition to supporting me in realizing these objectives, I expect CSC to:

  • Continue implementing measures to address the mental health and wellness of all employees.
  • Ensure that federal correctional institutions are safe, humane and healthy environments, free from violence and sexual harassment, for everyone.
  • Improve access to post-secondary education and CORCAN vocational programming for offenders, and leverage community partnerships to connect those preparing for release with educational and employment opportunities.
  • Continue to expand prison farms.
  • Create a new position of Deputy Commissioner for Indigenous Corrections. A direct response to Call for Justice 5.3 of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, this role will ensure appropriate attention and accountability towards Indigenous issues in the correctional system, address the overrepresentation of Indigenous offenders (especially women) and help CSC implement the many other Calls for Justice that fall within their purview.
  • Reduce the use of SIUs for offenders dealing with mental health challenges through the provision of increased mental health services. 
  • Continue implementing measures to prevent, detect, track and respond to Sexual Coercion and Violence (SCV) in federal corrections, including mandating annual training on the issue of SCV and harassment for all frontline correctional officers and staff, and through an assessment of results stemming from the study on SCV for integration into policy, procedures and guidelines.
  • Expand promotion for, participation in, and resourcing of the mother-child program in Women's CSC facilities.
  • Ensure that the specific needs and interests of aging offenders are identified and met through the provision of effective and adapted programs, services and interventions.
  • Review, assess and integrate recommendations from the stakeholder and expert roundtable on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in federal corrections.

I look forward to a productive and collaborative relationship as we work together to build on CSC's strengths and its mandate to fulfill its responsibility to Canadians through the safe and successful rehabilitation of offenders.

Yours sincerely,
The Honourable Marco Mendicino, P.C., M.P.

Minister of Public Safety

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