USGE advises Parole Officers to stop participating in CSC pilot programs

June 29, 2017

Dear Don Head, CSC Commissioner:

Over the past few months, USGE members have learned about a number of key changes that CSC is making in relation to the management of inmates/offenders both in the institution and the community.

USGE understands that these changes are being made in response to the recommendations of the Office of the Auditor General’s Report (Preparing Indigenous Offenders for Release) and likely changes to federal legislation.

CSC has communicated direction to the field identifying how these changes will come into effect, with some already having been put into place (ie. automatic reviews). National consultations are also underway. While USGE was pleased to learn at the Senior Executive Meeting on May 18th, 2017 that a “time and motion” review is being considered for this fall to better measure Parole Officers workloads, this has not been confirmed. Regardless, in the meantime, USGE remains extremely concerned about both the process and impacts of pilots that are already under way.

These concerns include:

  • USGE members are eager to know precisely how their feedback will be incorporated when implementing these changes more broadly, particularly when it comes to workloads. There is a strong feeling that while parole officers will spend time providing feedback, this feedback will not change the direction or outcomes.
  • USGE is concerned that CSC has not closely considered the workload implications of these case management changes, and that CSC has not properly accounted for these changes in their current regional resourcing indicators. It is USGE’s position that Parole Officers workloads need to be properly assessed and resourced if CSC is going to meet its public safety mandate and support the overall wellbeing of its Parole Officers. USGE believes that workload and resourcing actions need to take place now to support the work of all Parole Officers.
  • In other words, the rate at which changes are being made when it comes to case management activities is such that Parole Officers are reporting that their workloads are continuing to increase, and that the quality of contact with offenders is diminishing. Therefore, USGE is urgently requesting that Correctional Service Canada ensure that workloads are reasonable and that additional parole officers, case management assistants, Aboriginal liaison officers, as well as Aboriginal Community Development Officers are retained to support parole officers in many locations across the country.

Based upon the feedback we have received from across the country, USGE has no choice but to act in an effort to alleviate the current workloads of frontline Parole Officers.

To this end, USGE will be immediately advising the Parole Officer group to no longer participate in any CSC pilot programs until USGE is reassured that the additional resources are on site so that the day to day workloads of parole officers do not increase. Unfortunately, for the time being, this includes a withdrawal from pilots such as the DRAOR (both Institution and Community) and Electronic Monitoring.

As you know, USGE members, i.e. your employees, are deeply committed to implementing changes that are sustainable and contribute to the success of rehabilitative outcomes among offenders. However, both the process and nature of the changes that CSC is seeking to implement at the present time are disconcerting to many employees who have been doing this work for a long time.

We look forward to an opportunity to discussing with you a way to move forward that recognizes and acknowledges many of the concerns we have raised above. However, the well-founded issues that USGE has identified above must be the starting point for this dialogue.

Sincerely,

Stan Stapleton