Ontario Continues to Make Improvements at Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre
Province Releases Final Progress Report on OCDC Task Force Recommendations
Improvements made since the last progress report in January include:
- The creation of a new nursing schedule that enhances mental health nursing coverage and provides 24/7 general nursing coverage
- A new support program for inmates with addiction issues
- Hiring 25 new staff, including eight recreation positions to provide more social and cultural activities for inmates that can be pursued in the community when they are released
- A new system, which will be in place by October 2017, to allow inmates on long-term remand who were moved to other institutions to make calls to cell phones
- The expanded use of video technology for professional consultations and video court appearances, scheduled to launch in September 2017
- Creating a pilot project to allow defence counsel to remotely connect via video link and web cam from personal computers with clients in custody, leading to more meaningful court appearances.
The province will continue to implement the remaining recommendations at OCDC that require longer term solutions as part of the broader transformation of Ontario's correctional services system. The government will provide regular updates as this work progresses.
Reforming Ontario's correctional system is part of our plan to keep communities safe, support rehabilitation and reintegration and help people in their everyday lives.
- 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 OCDC.
- The 2017 Ontario Budget includes a number of investments aimed at improving the province’s justice system, including transforming corrections.
- In Ottawa, Ontario has invested in the bail beds program to allow up to 24 vulnerable, high-needs individuals (12 men and 12 women) to have access to safe, supervised and supportive housing, and expanded the Bail Verification and Supervision Program to provide services to up to 220 more clients, including an additional 20 clients who could receive enhanced mental health support.
- In May 2017, the province announced funding approval for the construction of a new 725-bed multi-purpose correctional centre to replace the existing Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.
“I want to thank the members of the Task Force for their recommendations, and the staff at OCDC who continue to support important changes at OCDC and across our province’s correctional system. These recommendations were a catalyst for the broad and bold action the government has recently taken to reform the correctional system, including the approval of funding for a new jail in Ottawa. I look forward to working with the dedicated men and women who supervise and care for those in custody to transform corrections in Ontario.”
“Above all else, this progress report shows that, as a government, we have made meaningful progress in our efforts to make our justice system faster and fairer, and more responsive to the needs of the people it serves: from victims to the accused, to the broader community. Already, programs like our bail beds pilot are having real, tangible benefits for vulnerable, high-needs individuals who come in contact with the law here in Ottawa. Our government will work to build on successes like these as we continue to roll out our bail and time-to-trial initiatives provincewide.”