ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 24 — November 21, 2012

Registration

SOR/2012-234 November 1, 2012

CORRECTIONS AND CONDITIONAL RELEASE ACT

Regulations Amending the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations

P.C. 2012-1453 November 1, 2012

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, pursuant to section 156 (see footnote a) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (see footnote b), hereby makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations.

REGULATIONS AMENDING THE CORRECTIONS AND CONDITIONAL RELEASE REGULATIONS

AMENDMENTS

1. Sections 147 to 151 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations (see footnote 1) are replaced by the following:

147. The review of the case of an offender shall be made by a panel that consists of at least one member of the Board if the review involves making a decision respecting

  • (a) terminating or revoking the parole or statutory release of the offender;

  • (b) cancelling the suspension, termination or revocation of the parole or statutory release of the offender;

  • (c) cancelling a decision to authorize the unescorted temporary absence of the offender referred to in paragraph 107(1)(e) of the Act;

  • (d) confirming the decision to terminate or revoke parole or statutory release of the offender;

  • (e) cancelling the suspension of the long-term supervision of the offender;

  • (f) recommending the laying of an information charging the offender with an offence under section 753.3 of the Criminal Code;

  • (g) imposing conditions on the offender under subsection 133(3), (4) or (4.1) or 134.1(2) of the Act,
    • (i) before or after the release of the offender, in the case of the statutory release or long-term supervision of the offender, or

    • (ii) after the release of the offender, in the case of a release on parole or on an unescorted temporary absence;
  • (h) relieving from the compliance with, or varying the application of, the conditions referred to in subsection 133(2) or 134.1(1) of the Act;

  • (i) removing or varying a condition imposed on the offender under subsection 133(3), (4) or (4.1) or 134.1(2) of the Act;

  • (j) granting parole or cancelling a decision to grant parole to the offender who is serving a sentence of imprisonment of less than two years; and

  • (k) postponing a review.

2. Section 154 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:

154. In the case of a panel consisting of more than one member, a decision of the Board in respect of any review of the case of an offender shall be rendered by a majority of the members of the panel but where there is no majority, the case of the offender shall be referred to a new panel of members who were not members of the previous panel.

3. Section 159 of the Regulations and the heading before it are repealed.

4. Paragraph 165( a ) of the Regulations is repealed.

COMING INTO FORCE

5. These Regulations come into force on December 1, 2012.

REGULATORY IMPACT
ANALYSIS STATEMENT

(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)

1. Background

The Parole Board of Canada (the Board) is an independent administrative tribunal that has exclusive authority under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (the Act) to grant, deny, cancel, terminate or revoke the day parole and full parole for offenders serving sentences of two years or more. In addition, the Board makes conditional release decisions for offenders serving sentences of less than two years who are located in provinces and territories that do not have their own parole boards (all except Ontario and Quebec).

The Act and its regulations form the legislative framework that guides the Board’s policies, operations, training and parole decision-making, and provides the legal framework for the correctional and conditional release system in Canada.

The Board’s plan to implement cost reduction targets will require regulatory amendments to reduce the number of Board members required for certain reviews (e.g. reviews conducted after an offender has been released on parole).

The current Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations (CCRR) require the review of a case of a federal offender (i.e. those offenders serving a sentence of two years or more) to be made by a quorum (i.e. panel) of at least two Board members where the number of members is not otherwise specified in the Regulations. Precedent for reduced quorum already exists in relation to decisions for provincial offenders, which are made by one Board member.

2. Issue

In order for the Board to meet cost reduction commitments, certain changes are required to be made to its legislative and regulatory framework. It was determined that the quorum for certain reviews could be reduced, and necessary efficiencies achieved, without undue risk to public safety or adversely affecting offenders’ rights.

The current CCRR requires at least two Board members to make all decisions pertaining to the release of, and conditions imposed on, federal offenders. The following types of reviews were identified for reduced quorum from two Board members to one:

  • reviews after the offender has been released from custody (including terminating or revoking parole or statutory release, cancelling the suspension, termination or revocation of the parole or statutory release, cancelling the decision to authorize an unescorted temporary absence, confirming the decision to terminate or revoke parole or statutory release, cancelling the suspension of a long-term supervision order or recommending the laying of information);
  • reviews to impose conditions on the statutory release of offenders and long-term supervision orders;
  • reviews to change conditions after the offender’s release from custody; and
  • reviews of requests for postponements of parole hearings.

In addition, the Board is removing section 159 and paragraph 165(a) of the CCRR that refer to accelerated parole review provisions in the Act, as these were repealed in 2011 with the passage of the Abolition of Early Parole Act and are of no force and effect.

3. Objectives

One objective of the CCRR amendments is to achieve necessary efficiencies without undue risk to the public or adversely affecting the rights of offenders. By reducing the quorum from two Board members to one for certain reviews, the Board will achieve the necessary efficiencies and will be able to focus Board member resources on more extensive decisions (e.g. granting or denying parole for federal offenders).

Another objective is to remove CCRR section 159 and paragraph 165(a) that refer to accelerated parole review provisions in the Act that were repealed in 2011. This will eliminate confusion and uncertainty as these regulations no longer have a legal basis on which to stand.

4. Description

The current structure of the quorum provisions under the CCRR heading “Number of Members that Constitute a Panel” is unnecessarily complex as a result of previous changes to the Regulations. Sections 147 to 151 of the CCRR set out the minimum quorum for different types of reviews by the Board (e.g. detention cases and offenders serving sentences of less than two years). Many of those provisions specify a quorum of two Board members even though the CCRR already contains a “catch all” provision (section 153) whereby, unless otherwise expressly provided for, decisions will be made by a quorum of at least two Board members. As a result, the section 147 and section 151 provisions that specify a quorum of two Board members are redundant.

Sections 147 to 151 of the CCRR are being replaced by a new section 147 that outlines all decisions where at least one Board member is required (as described above). This will eliminate confusion and redundancy where the provisions refer to the use of two Board members, as those situations are already covered under section 153, and will clearly list the reviews where a different minimum quorum is required.

The Board is also removing section 159 and paragraph 165(a) of the CCRR that refer to accelerated parole review provisions in the Act which were repealed in 2011 with the passage of the Abolition of Early Parole Act.

5. Consultation

No public consultations have been undertaken as these regulatory changes are not anticipated to pose undue risk to public safety or to adversely affect offenders’ rights, and are necessary for the implementation of cost reduction initiatives.

The Board carried out a similar reduction in quorum in 2009 and the related consultation process resulted in only one stakeholder comment. That comment related to the potential for split votes on a two-member quorum. As a split vote is not possible in a one-member quorum, this concern is not applicable to the current changes.

6. Rationale

These amendments will help the Board to meet necessary cost reduction commitments. The Board will continue to meet its policy mandate of independent, quality decision-making on conditional release. Public safety remains the guiding principle in all of the Board’s decision-making and operations.

The Chairperson and the Executive Committee retain the authority under paragraph 151(2)(c) and subsection 152(3) of the Act to require, if necessary, more than one Board member to make decisions. In addition, the offender retains the same rights to appeal a Board decision to the Board’s Appeal Division. The Appeal Division is responsible for re-examining, upon application by an offender, certain decisions made by the Board as set out in section 147 of the Act. It has jurisdiction to reassess the issue of risk to reoffend and to substitute its discretion for that of the original decision-makers, but only where it finds that the decision was unreasonable and unsupported by the information available at the time the decision was made. These safeguards ensure that the law is respected, the rules of fundamental justice are adhered to, and the Board’s decisions are based upon relevant, reliable and persuasive information.

7. Implementation, enforcement and service standards

The amendments will require the Board to update manuals and procedures, to provide advice to staff and Board members, and to inform offenders and stakeholders of the changes. The Board will work with the Correctional Service of Canada to ensure offenders are properly advised of the change in regulations as soon as possible following their registration.

Changes to the Offender Management System (OMS — a computerized case file management system used by the Board, the Correctional Service of Canada, and other criminal justice partners, to manage information on federal offenders throughout their sentences) to reflect the change in the quorum will be undertaken when this databank is redesigned, likely in late 2013 or 2014. In the meantime, a work-around measure, in the form of an automated weekly updating script, will be implemented to address the changes to quorum.

8. Contact

Natasha Levesque-Hill
Manager
Policy Sector
Parole Board of Canada
410 Laurier Ave W, 6th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
KIA 0R1
Telephone: 613-954-7482
Fax: 613-954-7446

Footnote a
S.C. 1995, c. 42, s. 60

Footnote b
S.C. 1992, c. 20

Footnote 1
SOR/92-620