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Evidence of meeting #32 for Public Safety and National Security in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was offender.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Don Head  Commissioner, Correctional Service of Canada
Michael Côté  Director General, Rights, Redress and Resolution, Correctional Service of Canada
Shane Dalton  Acting Analyst, Offender Redress , Correctional Service of Canada

5 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

I have just a small one.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Kevin Sorenson

Okay, very quickly.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

This is just in response to Mr. Scarpaleggia's concern that anyone who'd been designated a vexatious complainant would not have the ability to make further complaints.

I think it's actually quite clearly laid out in proposed section 91.2:

An offender who has been designated as a vexatious complainant shall, when submitting a new complaint or grievance,

—which means they are completely allowed to—

provide the institutional head with additional material, as required by the institutional head, to establish the merits of his or her complaint or grievance.

It just means that this would be an extra step that they would have to take. They would still be able to make complaints even after being designated a vexatious complainant, correct?

5 p.m.

Commissioner, Correctional Service of Canada

Don Head

It's going to become an issue of definition now, because if we deem them a vexatious griever in trying to stop that, allowing them to keep doing it is basically the same system that we have now.

Again, this is one of the things that is, I think, in the prescriptive nature of the way that's laid out right now, actually problematic in terms of getting to the point we need to get to.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Okay. Thank you.

5 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Kevin Sorenson

Thank you for that clarification.

I just have one little quick question, although maybe it has been dealt with.

I think you see the spirit of what this bill is trying to do. The person who drafted the bill is here, and the government has recognized that there is a problem there, in corrections, with vexatious complaints. On the other side of it, there's a real concern that all of a sudden we're going to be throwing people into a position where now they've been branded as a vexatious complainer and it's going to limit them down the road.

Are there any concerns you have with this bill? Is there anything we could do to make it better?

As I recall, the government in debate said that an amendment would come forward that may allow you to delegate another individual. Certainly that isn't going to mean that multiple people out there will have the opportunity to do this, but if that amendment were to carry, there would be one person delegated to perhaps work through all these vexatious complaints. Is that because of time, or what?

5:05 p.m.

Commissioner, Correctional Service of Canada

Don Head

If that kind of amendment came forward, it would basically be enabling language, so I would make a decision at some point on whether I would delegate or not.

Having that kind of language there is actually helpful just in terms of thinking this through and looking at the number of individuals. Maybe in the early days I wouldn't delegate that; I would keep that under my own authority. As time went on and we built up the right knowledge base in terms of managing that, I might delegate that to one person in each region, which may be my regional deputy commissioners, who are assistant deputy ministers. So that kind of amendment would be helpful.

The other thing I would suggest to the committee for consideration is to look at stepping back a little bit from the prescriptive nature of the way the bill is proposed. Again, the intent of the bill is going to help us out tremendously, but in the prescriptive nature—the way it's laid down right now—there are some administrative issues that could be problematic for us going forward.

I think the committee has actually talked around some ideas that might be helpful in terms of keeping the intent and addressing the very significant issue we have without being as prescriptive in the legislation.

There is also an opportunity through regulation. I would see some of the steps being more in the regulation than in the act, with the act being the sort of overarching piece that allows us to get at this problem.

5:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Kevin Sorenson

All right. Thank you very much.

Not seeing any other questions, we'll just suspend for the rest of the time and move directly into committee business.

Committee business is in camera. That means each member of Parliament is allowed one other staffer with them, if they so choose.

Thank you again, Mr. Commissioner.

[Proceedings continue in camera]