SUB-COMMITTEE ON CORRECTIONS AND CONDITIONAL RELEASE ACT OF THE
STANDING COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
SOUS-COMITÉ SUR LA LOI SUR LE SYSTÈME CORRECTIONNEL ET LA MISE EN
LIBERTÉ SOUS CONDITION DU COMITÉ PERMANENT DE LA JUSTICE ET DES DROITS
DE LA PERSONNE
[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]
Monday, May 3, 1999
The Chairman (Mr. Paul DeVillers (Simcoe
North, Lib.): I call this meeting to order. This
is a meeting of the Subcommittee on the
Corrections and Conditional Release Act of the
Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
We have with us, from the Citizens' Advisory
Committees, the chairperson of the national executive
committee, Mr. Ron Warder;
and Vice-Chairperson José Gariépy. We invite you to make your
presentation during the next 10 to 15 minutes, following which
members of our subcommittee will have questions for you.
I just wanted to say that the subcommittee, in its
travels, has been very impressed with the people
we have met in the various regions and at the
various institutions. We are looking forward to your
presentation, as the national advisory committee.
Would you like to make your presentation of about
10 to 15 minutes?
Mr. Ron Warder (Chairperson, National Executive
Committee, Citizens' Advisory Committees): Thank you,
Chairperson. We've kept our presentation short to
allow for those questions, and that's certainly our
We represent about 400 citizens who
comprise about 60 citizens' advisory committees across
Canada. We believe citizens' advisory committees
provide an invaluable service as independent observers
of Correctional Service Canada for the Canadian
Currently we exist under the authority of CCRA
regulations, and at that, they only stipulate that CACs
“may” be established. We wish to make the case that
appointed members of CACs and the Canadian public
deserve to have that statutory entrenchment of
citizens' advisory committees in the body of the CCRA
itself, rather than the regulations.
This would provide a higher degree of
permanence to the independent observer function and
would increase the stature of CACs, both within the
correctional system and with other bodies and the
community at large.
Commissioned following a series of serious prison
disturbances, the MacGuigan report, which we have as
appendix A in our presentation, publicly acknowledged
for the first time in Canadian correctional history a
need for involving ordinary citizens in monitoring and
evaluating correctional policies, programs, and
procedures. Noting that correctional authorities had
traditionally operated in a relatively isolated manner
the general public had little understanding of the
correctional justice process, Justice MacGuigan
recommended that citizens' advisory committees be
established in all penal institutions.
inception, CACs have performed an invaluable role as
informed observers, advisers, and commentators on the
operation of Canada's correctional facilities and
Essentially we perform three roles: we advise, we
act as independent observers, and we act as liaisons
with the public at large.
Having wide powers of access
to prisons, offenders, and staff, local CACs
are expected to be representative of the community they
represent and of the offender populations and programs
they serve. Members are expected to take their role as
independent observers and advisers seriously,
satisfying themselves that the provision of
correctional treatment, conditions, supervision, and
programs are in compliance with Correctional Service
Canada's policy and the provisions of the CCRA.
CACs perform a crucial role in acting as independent
intermediaries between the correctional authority and
offenders, helping to ensure that disputes are resolved
fairly and promptly. Local committees strive to
achieve a high degree of visibility, credibility, and
accessibility within their community and in the
correctional facilities and programs they monitor.
In an effort to recognize and support the autonomy of
each local CAC, an independent national association
of CAC members was first established in 1979. We
represent that body. A mission document and
constitution were put together and approved by the
national executive committee in October 1993.
It's important to note that in our national
constitution, the independent observer function is:
to identify all policies or actions judged to be
unjust and recommend corrective measures.
I'll turn it over to Monsieur Gariépy to continue.
Mr. José Gariépy (Vice-Chairperson, National Executive
Committee, Citizen's Advisory Committee): I believe you already
have a copy of our brief, along with the various appendices. I will
touch on some of the more important aspects of this document.
Appendix B outlines the roles and responsibilities of the
citizens' advisory committees that Mr. Warder spoke of. Our prime
function is to provide objective and independent advice to local
and regional managers of the Correctional Service of Canada. Such
advice may relate to correctional services in general, to the
running of correctional facilities or to programs and their effects
on the community.
We also act as independent observers and we like to stress our
independent status. We closely monitor the day-to-day activities of
the Correctional Service in each of its facilities. We visit
correctional facilities and meet on a regular basis with inmate
committees, local board members and staff. This is one role that we
have chosen to play. When serious disturbances occur, for example,
a hostage-taking, our experience as an independent observer proves
to be an asset. We also attend National Parole Board hearings .
Our third function is to serve as a communications link
between the Correctional Service of Canada and the community. We
educate and inform the public and increase their awareness of
correctional issues. We organize forums, discussion groups and
workshops. Our goal is to build a partnership between the community
and different correctional facilities. For example, we can identify
resources willing to welcome inmates when they take part in release
programs or community projects.
As noted in part D of our submission entitled “Powers and
Membership”, there is no mention of Citizens' Advisory Committees
in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. Section 7(1) of the
CCRA regulations states that CACs may be, and I stress the word
“may”, set up by an institutional head or director of a parole
office, while CD-023 states that CACs must be established at each
institution. In our view, this discrepancy should be corrected.
Section 7(4) of the regulations stipulate that CACs may only
advise the warden or parole director. Since our role is rather
narrowly defined, the operation and existence of local committees,
including meeting space and access to the facility, is the
responsibility of respective wardens and parole directors.
Section 7(5) of the regulations stipulates that CAC members
must have access to any part of the institution, to any staff
member and to any hearing, provided the offender consents. I will
come back to this point a little later.
All of our members volunteer on a regular basis in various
institutions across Canada. They represent a good cross-section of
their community and of the offender population.
Our conclusion in part E refers to a discussion paper drafted
by the Human Rights Division and entitled “Citizens' Advisory
Committees: Enhancing the Role of Independent Observers”. You will
find this discussion paper in Appendix C. It recommends that we
consider statutory entrenchment of the independent observer role
function in the body of the CCRA itself rather than in the
regulations. Obviously, we fully support this recommendation.
As I mentioned earlier, section 7(5) of the regulations states
that CAC members may attend a hearing respecting an offender only
if the offender consents. In our view, this hampers our ability to
act as an independent observer and we recommend that this
regulatory provision be amended.
CACs help to ensure that the Correctional Service of Canada
upholds the principles of openness and integrity. We have observed
that over the past several years, there have been far fewer serious
incidents in Canadian institutions. While we do not wish to take
all of the credit for this, we do believe that the 400 Canadians
involved in the CACs across the country should be recognized for
the job they do and we wanted to point that out to you.
Appendix D of our submission contains the Citizens' Advisory
Committees annual report which outlines all of the activities
undertaken by CACs.
We hope that our work and the importance of the role we play
are recognized and enshrined in the CCRA, and not solely in the
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Gariépy.
We'll start with a round of seven minutes.
Mr. Jim Gouk (Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, Ref.):
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, gentlemen, for
As has already been mentioned, we've had the
opportunity to talk to many of the citizens'
advisory committees as we've travelled around, and
they are doing a very good and effective job
and there is a very good function for them.
What you have asked for in here is not
unreasonable at all. One of the things
you said is that you are an independent body in
an advisory role that has a function of providing
advice and recommendations. Beyond the
enhancement of your own group for the purpose of being
able to function in the role you have as this
independent observer, given that we are now about to
look at possible amendments—widescale if necessary—to
the CCRA, I would ask what observations you have
in terms of how the system operates, not just in
relation to you, but how the system itself operates.
You, as inside, independent observers, could be in a
position to give us a lot of good suggestions and to
voice certain concerns.
I wonder if you could share some of those with us.
Mr. José Gariépy: We serve on the National Executive, but we
are also members of local citizens committees. We have an important
role to play, namely heightening public awareness of what goes on
inside institutions, because this is still somewhat of a mystery.
It's important to demystify correctional facilities and what goes
on inside them. Since we act as independent observers, our role...
Mr. Jim Gouk: Could I interrupt for a moment?
I don't want to lead you down the wrong path. You're
reiterating what your role is. I understand what your
role is. You've laid that out very well. What I'm
saying is, in that role, you've stated that part
of your function is to be independent observers and
advisers, to advise officials on what problems you see
and what changes should take place. That's what I'm
asking for. What are those observations and what
changes do you see taking place—not in terms of your
own role, but what problems have you seen in the prison
system that we might address?
Mr. José Gariépy: For example, when we meet with inmate
committees at their request, we try to make them view circumstances
more realistically. They usually have many demands, but it's
unrealistic for them to want more than what the non-offender
population has. We also try to make inmates more aware of what's
happening outside the institution.
Mr. Ron Warder: I think maybe what you're
asking is whether the system is working.
In general the system is working quite
well, but institution by institution, parole office by
parole office, issues come up. They may just be unique
issues for that particular jurisdiction or that
One of the areas the public is concerned about
and that we, as community members,
hear more about is the area of parole and release
issues. Traditionally citizens' advisory committees
are well established in institutions, but there's a
lot of work in our own group to determine what our role
is as far as our attachment to parole offices goes. So
we're bringing back a lot of information to the system
about what people's fears are around parole and how they
Mr. Jim Gouk: What I'm looking for, though, is
something more specific. For example, we have heard,
most recently when we went to the Edmonton Institution
for Women, that the inmates feel they are not
prepared for being released into the community. They're
not given any training. They're not given anything
that would take them outside the segment of the
community and the people they've associated with, which
in some cases is what put them in there in the first
So again, if you're looking at it from the
community perspective, representing the community,
particularly as the national voice for this organization,
do you see problems in the
training inmates are getting to prepare them for
being released into your communities, the communities
your members represent? Do you see a problem with
the types of day paroles and work releases they're
getting, or things
of that nature? Are there things that are
working well? Are there things that are not working
well? What can we do to fix the ones that aren't
working well or to make them work better?
Mr. Ron Warder: I can't speak for the Edmonton
Institution, as I'm not familiar with that
institution; but I can speak for the B.C. women's
institution. From my access to and
involvement with that to some degree, I think
they have a very good
training program established. They have linkages with
community college. It seems to be working quite well
there. There may be lessons to be learned from there;
I don't know.
In terms of work release, I am attached
to William Head Institution in Victoria, and the work
release program is working very well there. The
community supports it. There have been very few issues
around that. Part of our role in that has been
working with the community to find acceptance for those
sorts of programs.
Again, I don't think we can talk about a system-wide
problem. As a national executive, we hear more about
what CACs are facing in terms of their roles and
responsibilities in the institutions. We haven't really
developed a sense of the whole system in terms of
what's working and what's not. That's not what we're
prepared to speak about.
Mr. Jim Gouk: Okay.
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Gouk.
You have seven minutes, Mr. Marceau.
Mr. Richard Marceau (Charlesbourg, BQ): I too would like to
thank you for taking the time to meet with us this afternoon.
If I understand correctly, the National Executive Committee of
Citizens' Advisory Committees represents 400 citizens who comprise
60 Citizens' Advisory Committees in contact on a regular basis with
various correctional facilities across Canada. As such, you enjoy
special observer status.
Since you know the system better than anyone else, you're
recommending that your role be recognized and you want your status
as an independent observer, along with a description of your role
and functions, to be entrenched in law.
I can't quite understand why your list of recommendations
isn't longer. Mr. Warder said it was impossible to be familiar with
the workings of the system nationwide and to know all of its
shortcomings. If you can't manage to do that, with your 400 members
and 60 local advisory committees, then who can? Do you have any
other recommendations for us, aside from that particular one?
Mr. José Gariépy: No. That's the only one. It's important that
our status be recognized in law and that we not be at the mercy of
wardens, who could well decide that there's no longer any need for
a citizens' advisory committee. We are currently in a very tenuous
position and we are constantly called upon to justify the work we
do within the system. Perhaps it's a question of principle, but
formal recognition of our status is a fundamental concern of ours.
Mr. Richard Marceau: I understand you quite well. However, I'm
disappointed that your committee, which knows the system inside
out, managed to come up with only one recommendation. It's
important to be up front here, because the work we do will affect
I'd convinced myself that I would be hearing from people who
were familiar with the system and who had a national vision, unlike
most of the witnesses who have a regional perspective of things and
a narrow institutional vision. I'm disappointed, sirs.
I'm quite familiar with the MacGuigan Report. I'm not saying
that I keep it on my nightstand, but I've read it. Personally, I've
not been impressed by advisory committees. I have to wonder how
representative the witnesses really are. We wanted to meet with
ordinary citizens and I had a number of questions about the
involvement of people in institutions. Given that you've come
forward with a single recommendation today, I have many questions
that have yet to be answered.
You maintain that your status is tenuous at best, but I'm
sorry to have to say that a report like this won't do a lot to
strengthen the credibility of advisory committees. That's my
Mr. José Gariépy: If I can respond to your comments, we
mustn't lose sight of the fact that committees are comprised of
volunteers. Recruiting members is an ongoing problem. The turnover
is fairly high. People commit for a time and then quit for personal
reasons. It's not easy retaining our members. We're asking people
to volunteer their time to this cause.
I'd also have to say that committees differ greatly from
region to region. I'm not as familiar with other regions, but I do
know the Quebec region and the volunteers are committed, motivated
individuals. What we need now is legislative support. Our status
must be recognized in the legislation so that wardens can't treat
us anyway they like.
Once this has been accomplished, it will be much easier to
motivate people to stay on, because they will know that their
independent observer status is secure and that their job is to
increase public awareness of conditions inside institutions and to
argue in favour of social reintegration. One function of CACs is to
communicate information to the public. We need to get across the
message that social reintegration begins the day an offender is
incarcerated, not the day he is released.
Therefore, our job is to heighten the awareness of local
authorities and also increase public awareness of the work going on
inside correctional institutions. The issues are not always black
and white. More often than not, there are grey areas.
Mr. Richard Marceau: Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Marceau.
Mr. Lynn Myers (Waterloo—Wellington, Lib.): Thank
you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I am interested in the citizens' advisory committees.
I certainly have heard that you do very good work, and
that should be noted and commended.
I wonder if
you could answer a couple of technical questions. How
are committee members chosen? Are there criteria in
choosing these people? I heard you talk about the
volunteer aspect, and I understand it might be tricky to
keep people on, as you indicated, but I wonder if you
could outline that for us.
Mr. José Gariépy: Recruitment methods vary widely from one
region to another. The National Executive Committee is reluctant to
set down selection rules that would apply across the board.
Recruitment is generally done by word of mouth. Members enlist
acquaintances. We also run notices in local papers where we invite
people to attend a meeting to find out if they are interested in
joining our organization. If they are, then we initiate the
The National Executive Committee is currently working on
selection procedures and on ways of keeping its members, an equally
important consideration. Members receive some training and learn
about their role and the Correctional Service of Canada. That's
usually how we proceed.
Mr. Lynn Myers: Does every institution
have a CAC? Is it a given
that each one would have one?
Mr. José Gariépy: Each institution has a citizens' advisory
committee, unless things are different in other parts of the
Mr. Ron Warder: I would also point out that in
some institutions where they have a small parole
office attached to them.... There's supposed to be a
CAC for each parole office too, but sometimes they'll
combine, if it makes sense in the community to combine
the two CACs.
Mr. Lynn Myers: Can you give me a sense of who
you're accountable to? How is that processed? Is there
an inherent accountability system in place?
Mr. Ron Warder: The regional deputy commissioners
appoint, and it's for a two-year period initially.
So you're accountable to your local
committee in terms of the normal group processes you'd
have in a committee such as that, but ultimately the
accountability flows through to the deputy
commissioner, who may appoint or not appoint people
based on recommendations. Also, if somebody is
acting in a way that is not particularly helpful, then
the responsibility lies with the deputy commissioner
to deal with it.
Mr. Lynn Myers: I think
I heard you say you're looking at legal support
in the act. I just want to be really clear. Is it
your position then that the CCRA should be amended
to require the National Parole Board to
establish CACs in all of their regional offices? Is
that a fair statement? Is that how you see it?
Mr. José Gariépy: We want the legislation to state clearly
that each institution “must” have a citizens' advisory committee,
instead of “may” have.
Does each parole office really need to have a citizens'
advisory committee? As Mr. Warder pointed out, some parole offices
in Quebec are attached to an institution. CACs are attached to
institutions which in turn are attached to parole offices.
Sometimes the two can be combined. We want the legislation to
acknowledge this fact.
Mr. Ron Warder: Just as an example, it wasn't that
long ago that in the Pacific region you had CACs
attached to every institution, but the parole CACs fell
by the wayside. It took a regional deputy commissioner
to say, “You must have those now.” So all of a sudden
we now have some very vibrant CACs attached to parole
offices in B.C.
We're saying it shouldn't be flowing
back and forth like that, depending on the flavour of
Mr. Lynn Myers: So what you're really saying is
you want to see consistency and stability in that
Mr. Ron Warder: That's right.
Mr. Lynn Myers: Very good.
Thank you very much,
The Chairman: Thank you.
Mr. Grose, there are
three minutes left in this round. Do you want to take
them now or come back later?
Mr. Ivan Grose (Oshawa, Lib.): I'll take it now.
I may get another one later.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have two lines of questioning here. Maybe I can
get rid of one of them right away.
As I understand it, you are not mentioned in the act.
Is that so?
A witness: Exactly.
Mr. Ivan Grose: Well, I agree with you that you
should be. That's an oversight.
One thing you mentioned caught my
attention: attendance at hearings. At the moment
you can only attend with the prisoner's consent?
Well, quite frankly, I think that shouldn't be changed
at the moment. The prisoner in a hearing has the
impression that everyone there is against him, and if
you haven't established credibility with him—and
that's very difficult to do—he should have the
choice of whether or not you are there.
My other line of questioning is this. I've
been most impressed. I never heard of the CAC until
six months ago, and I've been most impressed with the
people we've met and what they've
done so far. They have some credibility among the
inmates, and that's good.
But I think you're going to
have to work a little more on it. They somehow equate
you with the government man who takes complaints,
the Correctional Investigator, who in some
places has no credibility at all. Unfortunately,
because you come from outside, you're equated with him
in some cases—which I try to dispel, incidentally.
In fact I think I'll let it go
for the moment, Mr. Chairman, and get a complete
three minutes on the next round.
The Chairman: All right. Thank you.
Did you have a response to that, Mr. Warder?
Mr. Ron Warder: I just want to say that one of our
roles is to continually put some of these issues in
front of local CACs.
For instance, we came up with the
issue, should CAC members act as escorts for
inmates? That is a problem, because we're trying to
be independent. So we try to educate members about
that. We try to make sure they see the need for
them to be independent and to be observed as being
independent by the inmates, the staff, and the
to keep that balance. So we're continually having to
address that. You're right about the inmates needing to
view us in that regard.
Mr. Ivan Grose: I completely agree with you on
that escort thing. You don't want to be associated
with the man at all.
Mr. José Gariépy: If I could just comment on what you said, we
do face certain challenges, and we do have a number of goals, one
of which is to increase public awareness of CACs. The proof lies in
what you just said. You weren't aware that CACs existed, even
though they've been around since the 1960s. We would do well to
enhance our profile among institution staff who are unfamiliar with
our work and still somewhat leery of us, and among the public at
The Chairman: Thank you.
Mr. Jim Gouk: I have no further questions for this
group, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Any further questions, Mr. Marceau?
Mr. Richard Marceau: No.
The Chairman: Mr. Myers or Mr. Grose, do you have
any further questions?
Mr. Ivan Grose: Oh, yes, certainly.
The Chairman: Then go ahead.
Mr. Ivan Grose: Then I'll proceed with my
second line. It dovetails with what you've just been
I realize you're all volunteers. Most of
the people we met—I think the preponderance of
them—were retired businessmen. One was a retired
corrections official, doing, as far as I'm concerned, a
bang-up job, because he knew the thing literally inside
Do you have such a thing as a speakers' bureau—that
is, speakers who will go to address service clubs and
Mr. Ron Warder: Each institution or parole CAC is
encouraged to do so. A speakers' kit has been
developed, and a revised one is being developed.
They're encouraged to do that.
in the Victoria region, the Victoria parole CAC is
relatively new, whereas the William Head Institution
CAC is well established. We will go into Victoria and
speak at different functions as well. One of
the roles of the CAC member is to try to reach out.
Something we're emphasizing right now is that they
spend a greater preponderance of their time in fact
getting out into the community and speaking at those
sorts of functions.
A number of the institutions have done that as part of
their role. Some institutions are backing away from
that, from a staff point of view, and the CAC is filling
that position and having more credibility in some
Mr. Ivan Grose: The reason I ask that is, if
you had a speakers' bureau and sent out a circular to
service clubs and so on.... And I mean service clubs
particularly. These are usually the movers and shakers
in a community, who lead the thinking. Generally
speaking, my experience with them is they know nothing
about the correctional system, and what they think they
know is all wrong. So I know it's an extra burden, but
if you were to do more public speaking....
You have a
credibility that I, as an MP, don't have. I'm suspect.
I'm part of the system. You're not. You are part of
the community. You are looking into the system and then
bringing back the report to the local community. I
think you could do a great job there. I realize the
time it takes and I realize you're all volunteers, but
it's a thought.
Here's another question along the same line. Do
you have members in non-prison cities? For instance,
in the Kingston area, obviously there are at least
seven CACs, I would assume. Are there any members from
Toronto or any branch in Toronto, where most of the
customers come from?
Mr. Ron Warder: Unless they're attached to some
parole functions, there wouldn't normally be, no. There's
the matter of distance and costs.
Mr. Ivan Grose: Here again I'm wondering, what if
you had a member in Toronto, who probably only twice a
year would visit an institution with the local people,
but he then could serve as the spokesman who would talk
to the service clubs? You have a huge area such as
Toronto, which as I say is where most of the customers
for those institutions in the Kingston area come from,
and yet they're not getting the message. Believe me,
they're not getting the message; I know. I come from
Oshawa, and I do the best I can to explain there, but
then, as I say, I don't have the credibility, because
I'm part of the system.
There's another thing I might mention. I don't
know whether or not you liaise with the local MP,
because if he has an institution in his riding,
he has a problem to begin with.
It's the NIMBY thing; no one wants an institution
in their back yard. I'm wondering if your people try
to work with local MPs.
I'm trying to establish here
whether or not you have a tight national organization
or whether they're pretty much independent groups that
act on their own.
Mr. Ron Warder: Yes, I think you need to
understand that. It might help with some of the
frustration you've had with our presentation.
We're very much a grassroots organization. The
national executive body meets four times a year and has
conference calls in between. We don't have a huge
secretariat attached to us. To try to get national
consensus on a range of issues affecting corrections is
There's not a strong national,
top-down presence, as you see in a lot of
organizations. We take some pride in that actually,
and in being responsive to regional and local issues
and not being prescriptive particularly.
A lot of
local CACs do deal with their MPs and MLAs quite
regularly, and some do not. We encourage it. A big
part of the function of our organization at the
national level is to facilitate, educate, encourage,
and try to coordinate national issues as
best we can. But a lot of the work and a lot of the
time is at the local level, and at the regional level
to a lesser degree.
Mr. José Gariépy: I just have a brief comment, to add to what
was said about the Quebec region. There are no federal penal
institutions in Montreal. However, some of the people who serve on
CACs in other correctional facilities come from Montreal.
Therefore, the large urban centres are represented.
Mr. Ivan Grose: If funds were, by some magic act,
available to set up a national office with paid help
who could look at correspondence and keeping track
of things, would you be in favour of that? Or are you
in favour of leaving it the way it is, which, as you
say, is not a tightly tied organization?
Mr. Ron Warder: Well, I should be clear, though.
Part of the consultation branch of Correctional
Service Canada does provide us with staff support.
Of course everyone is in competition for federal
dollars in the budget, and everybody could use more.
We get good support to the degree it can be
offered, given the budgetary constraints you're
all living under.
Even through the local system, varying levels of
support are available to local CACs from
the institutions and the parole offices they're
attached to. We have been working to try to get some
standards and some consistency, so that
at least if you're in
one CAC in Saskatchewan, you're getting a roughly
similar level of support administratively to what you
get in Atlantic Canada. We're trying to make sure
there's some consistency there.
Sure, I think any national organization would love more
staff time. That was one of the issues for us in
preparing for this presentation.
Some things were said that I would like
to take the opportunity to comment on.
The Chairman: On that point, then, Mr. Warder,
in my opening comments I did say the
committee has been very appreciative of the work of the
CACs we've met in the regions. Monsieur Marceau
is a very hard-working, contributing member of this
committee, but I don't want you to attribute his
comments to the committee. Those were Mr. Marceau's
Mr. Ron Warder: And I don't intend to do that,
but I would like to speak to you just a little bit
The Chairman: Sure.
Mr. Ron Warder: I'm a former mayor of a
municipality in the Victoria area, and I think
the CCRA review is not a user-friendly
process for people in the field, lay people, people who
aren't familiar with the content of the CCRA. And it's
a very difficult document to be familiar with.
Also, it is our understanding that the committee was
looking at only things that pertain to the CCRA itself,
not particularly the regulations or
other issues in the correctional system that may or may
not be directly related to the CCRA.
So in terms of the position we find ourselves in,
let's talk about what's going to make the biggest
difference for us in serving the Canadian
public and Correctional Service Canada in our
work, and the rest will flow from that.
The Chairman: Thank you.
Are there any other questions?
Mr. Ivan Grose: One minute and I'll be finished.
The Chairman: Yes, go ahead, Mr. Grose.
Mr. Ivan Grose: I would like to congratulate you
on your work. In the six months since I've known you
existed, I've been very happy. I've been very
impressed with all the people I've met, and I'm
impressed with you two gentlemen. Thank you for
You obviously have seen that I would like to see your
work expanded and I would like to see you continue to do
the job you're doing. So all I can say is keep at it,
and if you ever need a friend at court, you have one.
A witness: Thank you.
The Chairman: Mr. Myers.
Mr. Lynn Myers: Mr. Chairman, I want to echo
what Mr. Grose just said and what you said.
It's very important that we as a committee
recognize the good work you're doing. In my question
I indicated that, but I want to
re-emphasize it, because the kinds of things
you do for people are very important, and that needs
to be acknowledged in a very
meaningful and tangible way. The committee
chairperson did that, and I want to echo that as well.
The Chairman: Before adjourning, I have a couple of
Mr. Grose made reference to your
suggestion that in regulation 7.5, the
requirement of the consent of the offender for you
to be at the hearing be removed.
I wonder if you could expand on that a little bit.
What types of hearings would you be looking to access?
Can you give any examples of where not having that
consent has been a problem to your work?
Mr. José Gariépy: It happens mainly when parole hearings are
held, when commissioners meet with the inmates requesting parole,
a temporary pass and so forth. Inmates are free to deny access to
independent observers like us. An inmate must consent before a CAC
member can sit in on a parole hearing. That's really the most
important issue, as far as we're concerned. When that consent isn't
forthcoming, we can't act as an observer. I think inmate and staff
both need to become more familiar with the work we do. That's the
The Chairman: Mr. Grose said the problem could be a lack of
trust on the inmate's part. How would you respond to that?
Mr. José Gariépy: If we step aside, it's as if we're
acknowledging this lack of trust. Our role is not only to ensure
that proper procedure is followed, but also to serve as an advocate
for the inmate. That's equally important. If we step aside because
the inmate doesn't want us attending the hearing, then he will
never learn to trust us.
The Chairman: The other point I have is that the
National Parole Board is not required to have a CAC,
and I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on possible
recommendations to maybe incorporate amendments to the
act that would require a CAC for the National Parole
Mr. Ron Warder: Our understanding is that
the CACs are created through institutions and parole
offices. We haven't examined the National Parole Board
requiring CACs. We simply want whatever mechanism works
to ensure they exist in parole offices as well.
In the community, there are now far more issues
around parole and around people on different types of
release than there ever have been. There's certainly a
greater emphasis on all the CACs attached to
parole and district offices now. They have a big job
ahead of them, particularly, for instance, in the
Abbotsford area, which I'm sure you're familiar with.
It's a very busy CAC, and I don't know if they always
want to be there.
Voices: Oh, oh!
The Chairman: Are there any other questions from
any of the members?
If not, then
thank you very much for coming here today. We greatly appreciate
your efforts. Thank you.