All Short Term Recommendations Addressed at Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre
Province Releases Second Progress Update on Task Force Recommendations
Since releasing the first progress report in October 2016, the province has successfully addressed all of the Task Force's short term recommendations and is continuing to make progress on the remaining recommendations which require longer term solutions.
Improvements made since October include:
- The creation of interim step-down units, supporting up to 16 inmates with mental healthcare needs to access the same privileges as non-segregated inmates including screening and assessment services, treatment and community outreach, clinical and psychotherapeutic support as well as programs and supports that will help them transition back into the community
- Extended hours, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., for professional visits from lawyers and advocates,
- Increased spiritual/cultural counselling and programming for the diverse inmate population at the OCDC, including a weekly group meeting for Indigenous inmates
- Free weekly phone calls to make it easier for inmates on long-term remand who were moved from OCDC to other institutions to stay in touch with their families
- The establishment of a working group to improve the institution's food delivery services.
In addition to this work, Ontario has released its plan to resolve criminal cases faster and make more supports and supervision available to vulnerable, low-risk individuals who come in contact with the law, while maintaining public safety. This plan addresses some of the key recommendations from the OCDC Task Force Action Plan. In Ottawa, Ontario is investing in a new "bail beds" program to provide safe, supervised housing for low-risk individuals, hiring more court staff and prosecutors to expedite bail processes and decisions, and is expanding the Bail Verification and Supervision Program to include increased eligibility for services.
The province continues to make progress on the implementation of all remaining recommendations and will release the last of three progress reports by June 30, 2017.
Reforming Ontario's correctional system is part of the government's plan to keep communities safe, support rehabilitation and reintegration and help people in their everyday lives.
- The 13-member Task Force was comprised of ministry staff, local and provincial union leadership, legal experts and representatives from local community-based organizations.
- The Task Force held six meetings between April 12 and May 26, 2016 and consulted with local, provincial and national policing and corrections partners, and received advice and feedback from the public, community organizations and 130 inmates at the OCDC to help inform recommendations.
- The Task Force looked at ways the health and safety of all staff and inmates could be improved at the institution and made a total of 42 recommendations which included ways to improve conditions and address capacity issues at the OCDC.
“I want to thank the members of the Task Force for putting forward these recommendations to improve conditions at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, and also thank the dedicated staff who continue to support the delivery of these important changes. I am pleased to report on our progress since October, and I look forward to continuing to build on the action our province has taken to reform Ontario’s correctional system and keep communities safe.”
“This report shows that Ontario continues to make real and meaningful progress on the OCDC Task Force’s recommendations. We are moving forward with our plan to make the criminal justice system faster and fairer by reducing time-to-trial and improving the bail system. Our investments in community-based agencies in Ottawa will help protect the interests of all people — victims, the public and the accused — while keeping our community safe.”