Minister's Statements - Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre
Minister's Statement on the Task Force on the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre
Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, made the following statement after the first meeting of the Task Force on the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre:
“The focus at the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services every day is to ensure the proper care, custody and treatment of all inmates at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC), and institutions across the province.
I have been clear that the status quo with respect to capacity issues and overcrowding at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, and throughout our correctional system, cannot continue. That is why we are moving forward on transforming Ontario’s correctional system. For us, this transformation must focus on improved staff and inmate safety, increased access to rehabilitation programs, enhanced mental health supports, and community-based reintegration partnerships to truly build safer communities for all.
As this long-term vision for transformation develops, the ministry must also develop reforms to address immediate issues, such as those at OCDC. As such, on March 25, 2016, I announced the creation of a ministry-led Task Force to address the capacity issues specifically impacting the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. This Task Force has a clear mandate to develop an action plan to address overcrowding and capacity issues in the near term, and identify long-term solutions to improve the health and safety of staff and inmates at OCDC overall.
The Task Force, which is being led by Deputy Minister Matthew Torigian, held its first meeting today. The members are:
- Marg Welch, Associate Deputy Minister, Correctional Services – Task Force Chair
- Pauline Jones, Assistant Deputy Minister, Institutional Services
- Mike Wood, Acting Superintendent, OCDC
- Randy Denis, Eastern Regional Director, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
- Daryl Pitfield, Director, Institutional Operations Branch
- Monte Vieselmeyer, Ministry Employee Relations Committee (MERC) Union member
- Denis Collin, Local/OCDC Union President
- Todd Hockey, Correctional Officer, OCDC
- Vikki Bair, Crown Attorney, Eastern Region, Ministry of the Attorney General
- Meredith Porter, Community Advisory Board Chair, OCDC
- Dominic Lamb, Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa
- Irene Mathias, Mothers Offering Mutual Support - Community Representative
- Bryonie Baxter, Executive Director, Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa
The Task Force is also seeking input from members of organizations, those with lived experience, and the public, to provide advice and feedback to the Task Force as it moves forward on its plan to address capacity issues, and improve staff, inmate and community safety at OCDC via MCSCS.Feedback@ontario.ca. The deadline for providing input is May 13, 2016.
The Terms of Reference for the Task Force, which were also finalized today, require that an action plan be developed by no later than June 1, 2016, including a transparent process to track the implementation of the recommendations ultimately adopted by the ministry.
The work being done by the Task Force will further assist the overall efforts to transform the correctional system, including a comprehensive review of the segregation policy currently underway, to better align our mental health, rehabilitation and other supports for inmates, and keep staff and inmates safe."