Skip to main content Start of content

JUST Committee Meeting

Notices of Meeting include information about the subject matter to be examined by the committee and date, time and place of the meeting, as well as a list of any witnesses scheduled to appear. The Evidence is the edited and revised transcript of what is said before a committee. The Minutes of Proceedings are the official record of the business conducted by the committee at a sitting.

For an advanced search, use Publication Search tool.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the accessibility of this publication, please contact us at

Previous day publication Next day publication




[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

Thursday, April 26, 2001

• 0938


The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose (Oshawa, Lib.)): This morning we have three witnesses to give testimony. From the Department of Public Safety of New Brunswick we have Mr. Donald Dennison, deputy minister, and Bob Eckstein, program consultant. From the Office of the Attorney General of Prince Edward Island we have Mr. Phil Arbing, provincial adviser, justice and corrections.

Gentlemen, have you decided who will lead off here?

Ordinarily we give you ten minutes each for a presentation. I'll be a bit loose on that today because we only have three witnesses, so don't worry about it if you go a few minutes over. Then we start questioning, and that's when things get interesting.

Who would like to lead off? Mr. Dennison?

Mr. Donald Dennison (Deputy Minister of Public Safety, Province of New Brunswick): Bonjour. It's a pleasure to have the opportunity to address the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights this morning.

I have with me Bob Eckstein, who is the young offender program consultant with the Department of Public Safety in New Brunswick.

• 0940

The Department of Public Safety is a new department. It is composed of what was previously the Department of the Solicitor General, and it combines components from four other former departments of the provincial government to provide a new vision and focus attention on issues of public safety.

In my presentation this morning I want to focus on two themes. One is our emphasis on community-based programming, and the second is our long-standing partnership with the federal government on matters relating to justice.

As we indicated in our letter to the chair, New Brunswick has consistently supported the spirit and the philosophy of federal legislation in this area. We've already made major gains consistent with the direction of the federal legislation in our programming in New Brunswick. We've implemented a three-year plan for community and correctional services and we have in place intensive support programs for youth. We have substance-abuse treatment and alternative measures programs available throughout the province.

As a principle, we use secure custody as a last resort, and this works. Our youth incarceration rates have dropped significantly, and we have the highest rate in Canada of cases resolved through probation as opposed to open or closed custody.

What do we feel will be the impact of this new legislation? For one, while we are in full agreement as to philosophy and approach, we find the bill is rather complex, particularly in regard to sentencing provisions and sentence calculations.

The Juvenile Delinquents Act contained fewer than thirty pages. The Young Offenders Act has over seventy sections in it, and Bill C-7, this new Youth Criminal Justice Act, has over 190 clauses. The volume and complexity of this legislation means that it will be harder for parents and youth to understand what the legislation is doing and saying, and it will mean a need for more explanatory materials. Second, it will place a greater burden on provincial resources to meet requirements for things such as conferencing, referrals to child welfare agencies under clause 35, preparation of victim impact statements, and the like.

We have no argument that these aren't good measures or that they're not warranted. We believe that they are, but New Brunswick also believes that they should be pursued in true partnership with the federal government. We are strongly committed to a working partnership with the federal government on justice measures, and this is evidenced by the Canada-New Brunswick initiative for adult offenders. I'm just going to tell you a bit about that, because we think it's very important, and we think it signals where we should be going.

The Canada-New Brunswick initiative was developed and pioneered by your chairman, Andy Scott, and my department. Through this initiative we have succeeded in closing seven of eleven adult institutions in New Brunswick, and we are now sending inmates to federal institutions where there is unused capacity and more importantly where larger numbers provide the critical mass needed for effective treatment programs. The cost savings from the closure of seven provincial institutions—and the most recent closure was just last year—go directly into community-based programming. This is why this is a very good initiative.

New Brunswick inmates who are serving sentences longer than a year or sex offenders serving longer than six months serve those sentences in federal institutions, where they receive a much broader range of programming than is available in our provincial jails. The savings that result from our closure of provincial institutions go directly into community programming.

This innovation is something we think your committee should, on another day and in another set of hearings, perhaps be thinking about, as to whether it doesn't set the pattern for what could be duplicated elsewhere in Canada.

• 0945

We think there's a strong argument to be made that one level of government should be operating penal institutions and another level of government operating community-based services.

We're fully committed to a partnership with the federal government. We think it should be a full financial partnership as well. What began as a fifty-fifty cost-sharing proposition in 1985 for programs and services related to youth has eroded to a situation where today the federal contribution comprises less than one-third of costs. This poses two problems for New Brunswick.

The first problem is that we don't have the option we've exercised with our adult institutions, that of closing institutions and diverting the savings into community-based programming. We can't do that with regard to our youth institutions because we have only one.

That institution, which is built on the therapeutic community model—and we believe, and others have told us, that it's probably the best institution of its kind in the country—cannot be closed because it's the only one we have. We do believe that it can be more multifunctional. The number of youths in there who are under closed custody sentences is going down, and we truly believe it could become a youth centre.

The second problem we face—and this problem is related to funding the requirements under the proposed Youth Criminal Justice Act—is New Brunswick social services budgets are already stretched as a result of declines in the Canada health and social transfer, the CHST. This means that it makes it more difficult for us to find the additional funding we want to put into community-based programming for youth. It's more difficult because our social funds are already being stretched to meet our commitments for standard health and education services.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we are calling for the partnership principle to be fully honoured and for a return to fifty-fifty funding with the federal government for youth services. We have bridge funding available to us, but that will expire. We need sustained funding so we can have a full partnership over the long term. We welcome the implementation of this legislation, and we want to work closely with the Government of Canada in that regard.

We would be very happy to receive questions. As I said, with me I have Bob Eckstein, who is our consultant on these matters, who has spent many years in this field, and who can respond to your questions on our presentation.

Thank you very much.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Thank you, Mr. Dennison.

Mr. Eckstein, would you like to say anything?

Mr. Bob Eckstein (Program Consultant, Department of Public Safety, Province of New Brunswick): I'll just say something in addition to what Mr. Dennison has indicated.

One of the considerable challenges we face comes from the new sentencing provisions under the proposed act, because at the present time—and I want to reiterate it—we have only one secure custody facility. It's a very well-run facility, with a considerable number of programs.

Our open custody capability within New Brunswick is a community-based open custody system on which the judiciary is very dependent. It consists of foster homes and group homes, and the youth in our province go to the regular schools and use the regular resources within the community. It's not an institutional concept, it's a child-welfare-based program. It's very difficult to remove valuable resources that are serving the community now and shift the funding elsewhere, because you leave a void.

We want the detention services to remain there for the kids that really need it. We also want to have the capacity to build on the community base, but we just don't have the money to move in that direction. I think it's really important that we stress that.

With the new provisions under Bill C-7, where you have custody and supervision orders, a lot of youth reintegrating into the community.... We're going to have to have strong family-based programs in particular, because all the youth coming out of custody return to the community. They usually go back to the same environment they came from. If you ask them, that's exactly where they want to go, so you want to work with these families and these communities. That's why we have a good open custody system now.

• 0950

We have reduced our open custody and secure custody capacities over the last three or four years in terms of the numbers going there, and significantly so. Our custody rate has declined from—I believe the number is, and I will quote it—34 per 10,000 in 1996 to 23.5 per 10,000 in the year 1999-2000. I think that's significant. We're moving in the right direction. We agree with the direction of this act in terms of philosophy, but we do have a major difficulty. How will we sustain the community infrastructure the courts are going to depend on with the new sentencing provisions that will result from this bill? I think it is important to emphasize this.

The other thing I want to stress is the whole issue of training. It's going to be very costly for jurisdictions. We appreciate the moneys the federal government has allocated to assist with staff training related to new policies and procedures. However, over the next couple of years this is going to be more and more significant, especially in the area of sentence calculation.

We've been working in collaboration with Saskatchewan and the federal government to develop an algorithm, as well as business rules and a handbook, for sentence calculation, but it's a very complex piece of legislation. It's a very thick document at this time, and it's going to take a lot of training for our staff in the areas of sentencing in situations such as merged sentences or where offenders breach probation within the community.

There's already a 20% to 26% rate of breach of probation in this country. With the new provisions on breach of probation conditions, specifically clauses 102, 103, and 109 of Bill C-7, there will be a great need for team-based supervision of these youth who are to remain in the community. These are the higher moderate-risk youth or the high-risk youth, who we hope will be placed on deferred custody orders, and the ones coming back into the community from custody. They're going to need considerable access to programs, and that's what the courts are going to expect. They're going to expect that there will be some breaches.

We want to see a greater advocacy component to supervision within the community and not an enforcement-based approach. With these new provisions, which we agree with in philosophy, we just need additional resources to work with these oftentimes very challenging offenders within the community and also to offer support for families.

Thank you.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Thank you, Mr. Eckstein.

Mr. Arbing.

Mr. Phil Arbing (Provincial Adviser, Justice and Corrections, Office of the Attorney General of Prince Edward Island): Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the standing committee.

I'm with the Office of the Attorney General of Prince Edward Island, which is the department responsible for the administration of justice. We have a broad range of responsibility, including the administration of young offenders legislation.

Thank you for your invitation and the opportunity to make this submission outlining some concerns and providing suggestions for changes to Bill C-7. We appreciate the fact that the matter of youth justice has been under scrutiny for several years, and since the province has participated in discussions at various levels, the substance and scope of our submission this morning will be restricted to selected areas. Five are related to legislation, one is related to implementation, and one to resources.

The first area I would like to comment on briefly is the request or need for further flexibility in enabling provisions concerning support to families. We recognize the importance, indeed the necessity, of not only dealing with the offending behaviour of young people but also of supporting their families. Family relationships, adequate support, and parental involvement are critical in assisting young people in difficulty with the law if we are to address their needs and reduce the likelihood of repeat delinquent behaviour. Thus the Youth Criminal Justice Act should provide maximum flexibility in enabling services and support to the young person and his or her family, particularly where the parents are struggling or where they lack the ability to adequately support the child or young person involved in the offending behaviour.

Cost-sharing agreements providing federal financial contributions and support in keeping with the objectives of the proposed legislation should also allow the maximum flexibility consistent with the principles and policy intent underlying the act.

We would propose three changes. Our first suggestion is that the declaration of principle be amended, particularly subparagraph 3(1)(c)(iii), to require that appropriate support be provided to the parents and extended family, this in addition to the idea and requirement that parents be simply involved in the procedure.

• 0955

Our second suggestion is that clause 156, providing for agreements with the provinces, be amended to include support for families. It now provides for providing payments to the provinces in respect of costs incurred for care of and services provided to young persons. We would suggest that it should include appropriate support or services to their families. Thus, ensuing agreements should reflect and respect this change.

My third suggestion is to amend clause 157 providing for the establishment of community-based programs by the provinces to include an extra paragraph for programs that include support for parents and caregivers assisting a child or young person to deal with offending behaviour, such as parenting support, family strengthening or counselling programs.

The second area we'd like to reference is conferences under clause 19. The concept of conferences is rather vague and open-ended. While a province may establish rules, there is no required minimum standard or expectation, so while rules may be established, they do not extend to conferences convened by a youth court judge or a justice of the peace.

We'd suggest there should be some minimum standard, requirement, or expectation set out in the act. These things could be the foundation for rules to achieve at least a minimum degree of consistency and predictability in this approach for those involved. And to ensure an enhanced degree of accountability as well as to promote public confidence in the system, all conferences should be subject to minimum rules and standards.

The third area, Mr. Chairman, relates to clause 35, providing for referral to a child welfare agency. The provision providing for this certainly has a noteworthy objective. However, it does not distinguish between child welfare and child protection. Provincial legislation already has a reporting requirement. “Child welfare agency” is not defined. This provision at the moment lacks criteria as to the reasons for referral, expectations as a result of the referral, and reporting back to court, among other procedural expectations.

It's also interesting to note that this provision involves referrals only to child welfare agencies, as opposed to other special services. One example might be in regard to addictions issues.

There is a further question as to why this objective could not be met through other provisions, such as those in clause 34 dealing with medical or psychological reports or clause 40 dealing with pre-sentence reports, or other provisions of the act that relate to assessments, case, or reintegration plans.

It is understood that it may well be requested to delete clause 35. A proposed option would be to amend clause 35 to define a child welfare agency or other potential referral options as those approved by the province. If the expectation is for a referral only, then no report back to the court is required.

A fourth area we'd like to bring to the attention of the committee is in regard to youth sentences, specifically subclause 42(7) providing for the intensive relocation, custody, and supervision order. This provision is limited to cases involving presumptive offences.

There are other situations that involve complex, high-risk behaviour that could benefit from this approach, including cases involving offenders under age 14. So we propose that subclause 42(7) be amended, allowing the sentencing option at the discretion of the court for other cases involving offenders involved in violence, provided it is consistent with the purposes and principles set out in clause 38 and the provisions respecting custody set out in clause 39. In effect, it's proposed that paragraph 42(7)(a) be amended to read “that a young person has been found guilty of a presumptive offence, repeat violent offences or multiple violent offences”, or some such similar wording.

The fifth area, one of ongoing concern, is on implementation. And while this legislation incorporates many provisions from the existing Young Offenders Act, it also incorporates new concepts, introduces new language, and requires many new or changed procedures to implement and administer it. In effect, this legislation is very complex. It is important that there be adequate time to consider its impact and implications in the province. Many policy options and changes must be considered, and once these directions are determined, they must be developed further and incorporated into information, education, and training resources, materials, and approaches before the actual education and training for many groups, both within the justice area and public services, as well as for affected and interested community groups takes place.

• 1000

In addition, there's much work to be done in reviewing services, establishing new priorities, developing operational policy and procedures, and reviewing and redeveloping information and records systems. This not only requires resources, but a concerted effort over a reasonable period of time. All of this takes extensive work by the jurisdictions, as well as considerable coordination and cooperation between the federal government and respective provinces and territories to ensure this legislation is implemented in an orderly, effective manner.

We have to work together, and Prince Edward Island is quite willing to continue our relationship with the federal government in working together. If adequate time for orderly and thoughtful implementation is not provided, then we're at the risk of eroding public confidence in the youth justice system, not to mention support for or confidence in the new legislation.

Again, much of this effort cannot be fully undertaken until it is known what the act finally contains. While it may be beyond the power of your committee, Mr. Chairman, to set the date upon which the legislation is to come into effect, it is respectfully requested that the committee strongly consider and recommend that there be a delay of 12 to 15 months from the passage of the bill to its coming into effect. We think there are serious public confidence issues if we don't do this well and don't do it right.

The sixth area to bring to the attention of the committee is regarding financial and resource considerations. While the province recognizes and appreciates the additional transitional financial support available from the federal government to assist in the implementation of the legislation, the bill when fully implemented will impose increased and new costs on the province. While several of the new provisions are optional for the province, there is no doubt that minimum expectations will develop nationally in these optional areas, and indeed from the public, particularly interest groups, that these provisions then will be implemented or the push will be to have these implemented in the province.

Although the diversion philosophy and emphasis on community-based interventions is commendable, it is yet to be seen what new alliances will be formed between the formal system and the community and how resources will be reallocated to comply with stricter mandatory obligations on the one hand and for a wide range of community alternatives on the other hand.

As well, as a small jurisdiction, given our limited existing capacity, we'll be faced with the challenge of meeting the requirements for special services, be it in the area of transitional support for young people leaving a custody setting, intensive supervision programs, or intensive rehabilitation and custody programs among other requirements, such as treatment programs or clinical assessment.

It's proposed that your committee consider recommending additional funding, possibly on an incremental basis, so that in three to five years the federal financial contribution will be as close as possible to a 50% share of the cost, in line with the cost-sharing arrangements in the early years of the current Young Offenders Act. Again, adequate financial resources will be very important to having an effective youth justice system that will have the confidence, understanding, and support of the public.

The final point, Mr. Chairman, relates to review and evaluation. I started off by saying that this area of youth justice has been under scrutiny for many years. It is likely to be under scrutiny for many years to come. Thus, it is recognized that any legislative effort will not likely serve all interests, nor meet all expectations. No doubt there will be ongoing requests for amendments, given the importance of this legislation to the young people in our country as well as to society generally.

There will be a need to assess and review the effectiveness of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. We propose, then, that your committee recommend that the Youth Criminal Justice Act be subject to a mandatory review within five years of it coming into force and that the act include a provision to this effect.

In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, these remarks, concerns, and suggestions for change and your attention are advanced with a view that the legislation, its implementation, and administration will be more effective as a result. Thus, young people involved in offending behaviour and their families in need of support will be better served in addressing their needs and thus providing better protection for the public.

Thank you.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Thank you, Mr. Arbing.

For the benefit of the witnesses, our first round of questioning is seven minutes per member, and that includes the answers. So if a member makes a seven-minute speech, you don't have to bother answering. You'll find I love cutting off members. I never cut off a witness in the middle of an explanation. So we'll proceed from there.

Mr. Cadman.

• 1005

Mr. Chuck Cadman (Surrey North, Canadian Alliance): Thank you, Mr. Chair. I won't take seven minutes, as you know.

You've expressed some concerns that we've heard before from some of the other provinces, and so I'll start off with the question I asked some of the folks yesterday. The minister said there were extensive consultations on this, and I'm hearing things that it seems to me would have been sorted out through those consultations. I'd like to hear from each of you what your impression was, what the consultations actually involved. Did the government actually listen to what you were saying? Was there the consultation they say there was?

Mr. Bob Eckstein: That's a good question. We've had some meetings with respect to this act. This has been going on for about three years. As to meaningful consultations, one of the things we would like to have seen was a chance to really take a look at some of the significant challenges of the complexities of this bill. There were ways we could probably have addressed some of the issues within the bill to make it more amenable to the provinces.

With consultations within the jurisdictions, I know we've had an opportunity to have some in our province, but a lot of the consultations are after the bill has already been put in place. We originally had Bill C-3, now we have Bill C-7. So have consultations at the local level as to how the bill is affecting youth within the province and the communities at large, and then take it to a national forum to consider what the response was from communities and the youth themselves within jurisdictions.

Mr. Chuck Cadman: Anybody else?

Mr. Phil Arbing: Mr. Eckstein has probably summarized the situation we've been faced with over the last few years. Obviously, it would be helpful to know more about concrete proposals in advance. We appreciate that there are some protocol difficulties in that, but we're involved in this jointly, so if we can work on it together from the outset, we've got fewer difficulties or obstacles to deal with as we go along.

Mr. Chuck Cadman: Okay.

Second, I heard you talk of the complexity. That's certainly an issue that's come up time and time again, the complexity of the legislation, and there was a comment made that it was harder for the public to understand, harder for youth to understand. We've heard comments from judges that they're having difficulty understanding it. So it sounds as if some of the professionals are having some difficulty with it, not just the public. I'd like to hear some comments from you on that, the fact that the people who actually have to operate it have difficulty understanding it.

Mr. Bob Eckstein: One of the things we've been talking about in our jurisdiction—there are a number, so I'll attack this answer on two fronts—is that we don't have a lot of presumptive offences in New Brunswick—I think we've maybe had two over the last two or three years—but when they do come up, the provisions involving presumptive offences are very complex and difficult to understand. The crown prosecutors and defence counsel are going to have to know this act, and if you look at the legal aid lawyers, the defence counsel who will be representing these youth, it's going to take some time for them to get to know this act to represent the youth appropriately because of some of the provisions, especially the new sentencing provisions, under this legislation.

I believe that's where the complexity is, a lot of the new sentencing regime that's coming down. The complexity to sentence calculation alone, if there are merged sentences, as I've already indicated, is going to take a lot of time for people to understand. Parents are saying they don't understand the Young Offenders Act. In my thoughts, the youth themselves are going to have a difficult time understanding this one when it comes down to a lot of the new sentencing components and the merged sentences, and whether you'd get consecutive sentences after breaches, when they're on deferred custody or if they're on the community supervision component, on reintegration out of custody, when they've breached there. So it's going to take a lot of time to get the public to understand the complexities of the sentencing component under this legislation.

Mr. Chuck Cadman: Anyone else on that? Mr. Arbing?

Mr. Phil Arbing: The question of complexity in a small jurisdiction such as ours presents particular challenges as well, because there's likely to be infrequent application. So whether it's crown attorneys, lawyers, or judges, they will need to have good reference material to go back to in order to deal with some of these situations, essentially on a case-by-case basis.

• 1010

I don't see a rhythm developing. Fortunately perhaps, we don't have a lot of these cases, but that will be a challenge. Getting materials properly prepared, as I mentioned in the opening remarks, getting that right will, I think, go a long way in respect of how we operate this and how it's being perceived. We certainly don't need a lot of unnecessary negative public attention to what we're trying to do together.

Mr. Chuck Cadman: I have just one final question. The costs are another issue that's come up on a number of occasions. Can you give us, not necessarily some hard numbers, but maybe some ballpark figures of what you see the impact is going to be financially on your respective provinces?

Mr. Bob Eckstein: It's a difficult question to answer. We're still in the midst of doing the total impact assessment, but we believe the greatest impact is going to be on resourcing at the front end of the system. We already know what an intensive support supervision program costs. We started intensive support programs in our province four years ago, so we know how much it costs for counselling, for intensive services through community-based organizations to work with these youth. We know there are significant cost impacts there. We're doing an analysis right now of the impact on victim services when courts state that they want to have the effects on victims included in sentencing. We're looking at that. We're also looking at the cost impact on reintegration of many of these youth coming out of custody, the types of numbers we're dealing with. So it really has resource impacts on the community.

The other thing is that there is going to be a more onerous component for our probation staff and our community supervision personnel in regard to the level of supervision that is going to be presumed with a lot of these youth coming out of custody. If all of them are going to have supervision orders as they come out of custody, there will have to be a much more intensified concept of supervision, or they're going to breach. We don't want to see that happen, so we're looking at mental health counselling and alternative education programs. The average age of our youth is 16.2 years on any given day. We want to try to work with that type of population to motivate them to want to change, but it takes a lot of team-based supervision, and that's costly.

We've started to do analysis, but to give you a ballpark figure would be difficult at this time.

Mr. Chuck Cadman: Mr. Arbing.

Mr. Phil Arbing: We don't have a clear indication of the costs. Sectors of the justice system are anxious about what this may mean, police, crown attorneys, and others. The challenge we have, I think, in a small jurisdiction is to provide minimum services, whether it's on the community side, custody, or other institutional-based programs, and these come with a high unit cost. We're going to have difficulty reallocating costs, though we agree with the idea of shifting the emphasis. You can't necessarily eliminate units or eliminate programs to start others, so that's going to be a challenge for us. The transitional funding that's been made available certainly has been helpful, but over the long run, as I mentioned in my remarks, we'd look to a further and increased federal contribution.

Mr. Chuck Cadman: It's been suggested that it may have been more appropriate for the federal government to do an in-depth cost analysis with the provinces before bringing this forward. Would you concur with that?

Mr. Bob Eckstein: Can I just add to that as well?

Mr. Chuck Cadman: Sure.

Mr. Bob Eckstein: One other thing I think it's important to realize in a small jurisdiction, as we've already indicated, is that we only have the one secure custody facility. We reserve that for the most significant cases within the province. Treatment with those type of offenders is expensive. So trying to remove resources from a custodial capacity in the community will leave a void in the types of treatment that will be provided to these youth.

The other thing is that in the small jurisdiction of New Brunswick, 52% of the population live in rural communities. We don't have a large centre with concentration of youth. So trying to create attendance programs and trying to create large-scale group programs is difficult. We have to rely a lot on individual counselling. Transportation is a significant cost as well.

• 1015

I just wanted to point these out, because there are implications for a small jurisdiction, especially since a lot of it is a rural type of programming that's required.

Mr. Chuck Cadman: But would an in-depth analysis up front have been useful, in your opinion?

Mr. Bob Eckstein: I believe so.

Mr. Chuck Cadman: Mr. Arbing?

Mr. Phil Arbing: It certainly could be helpful.

Mr. Chuck Cadman: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Ms. Venne.


Mrs. Pierrette Venne (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, BQ): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning, gentlemen.

You are very polite to the federal government, when you say that you agree with the legislation's philosophy, but that you think it's a very complex piece of legislation, very difficult to implement. As I see it, it's your way to say that you are not in complete agreement.

First, I'd like to ask you a few questions on section 24, where it says that prosecutions against young offenders have to be conducted by the provincial Attorney General or with his consent. I think that this provision, which was not in the Young Offenders Act, limits the possibility of taking private legal actions.

Could you tell what is your respective province's experience in terms of private prosecutions?


Mr. Bob Eckstein: I'll let Mr. Arbing answer that question first.

Mr. Phil Arbing: This hasn't been a particular topic of discussion in Prince Edward Island—at least, not that I'm aware of.


Mrs. Pierrette Venne: Okay. Has it been the same for you?

Mr. Bob Eckstein: It's the same in New Brunswick. I don't think it's a problem right now.

Mrs. Pierrette Venne: It's not one of your concerns.

Regarding the incarceration of young offenders, you mentioned earlier that you have only one secure custody facility in New Brunswick. No comment was made about the situation in Prince Edward Island in this regard. I'd like to know if it happens that young offenders are incarcerated in the same facility as adults. Are young offenders held in custody with adults or is there a separate facility to house them? Could it happen, on occasion, that young offenders are incarcerated with adults?


Mr. Bob Eckstein: In New Brunswick, we do not have adults and young offenders incarcerated in the same facility. We have one secure custody facility for young offenders. The average population is between 70 and 75 on any given day in our secure custody facility. We have 28 offenders in open custody group homes around the province, and two of those beds are for substance abuse treatment. We have approximately 30 to 40 youths in foster homes on any given day. We do not mix our youth and adult populations.


Mrs. Pierrette Venne: Thank you. And what about you?


Mr. Phil Arbing: In Prince Edward Island, similarly, we have one facility that serves as a remand in secure custody. We have two small facilities that serve as open custody, and then we have a range of private home placements—referred to as alternative residential placements—that we use as well to support the open custody concept. We do not house youths with adults, pursuant to the remand in custody provision.


Mrs. Pierrette Venne: Okay. Thank you.

This is my last question: do you have a program or services for victims of youth crime?


Mr. Bob Eckstein: Presently in the province of New Brunswick, the services for victims of youth crime are not as extensive as they are in the adult regime. In terms of the assaults that would occur with youth, they would go through the victims' services coordinator in terms of the types of programs or compensations to victims that are there. We have an alternative measures program. Within our jurisdiction it is a restorative-based program, so we try to include the victims in those programs as much as we possibly can in order to ensure that for any concerns that have occurred, the victim has an opportunity to be heard in the alternative measures program.

• 1020

We also have a couple of pilot programs going on in New Brunswick that are restorative-based as an alternative to the formal youth justice system. In one alternative measures program that's restorative-based, the police would refer the youths to those programs. We have about a 70% participation rate right now in that pilot program in terms of victims coming to the program and dealing with the youths face-to-face to talk about their experiences and the concerns they have with respect to what has occurred to them. That's what we have for programs at this point.

Mr. Phil Arbing: In Prince Edward Island we have a province-wide victims services program that's available to any type of victim. Primarily, though, the kinds of victims who seem to avail themselves of it are those involved in personal injury or violent kinds of situations, including children, and particularly children of sexual abuse or sexual assault.

Victims services provides referrals. They provide short-term counselling. They provide support, preparation for court—for example, readying victims for trial if that's required—or assistance with the preparation of victim impact statements. In addition, the victims services program includes criminal injuries compensation provisions.

In addition, in dealing with victims, it's our experience that perhaps the greatest need is for quality information, effective communication, awareness of what's going on, and the opportunity to be involved. Not all victims want to be involved, but they want to be fully aware of what's going on. To that extent, whether it's pre-sentencing reports, alternative measures, or some of the other provisions of the current youth justice legislation, victims are advised as to what's going on, and they are provided the opportunity to be involved in alternative measures, to make the contribution, or to meet with the offender if that's what they wish. When it comes to violent offences, the wish there is that alternative measures not proceed until the victim's wishes are ascertained.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): You could get in one more quick comment.

Mr. Bob Eckstein: After hearing Phil talk, I just want to add I was remiss in mentioning that we also have an extensive victims services program across the province. We have over fourteen victims services coordinators in all regions of the province. They do extensive work in court preparation as well with child victims. We have child abuse protocols throughout the province in terms of reporting mechanisms. We also have the services of victims' services for impact statements for youths and adults. They work with the child and work extensively with the families, depending on how many victims there are of crime. So I just wanted to add that we have a very good, highly qualified victims services program in New Brunswick.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Thank you, Mr. Eckstein.

Mr. Peter MacKay.

Mr. Peter MacKay (Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, PC): Thank you, Mr. Chair. I want to thank our witnesses, as well, for being here.

It's certainly important that we get the provincial perspective. As you have pointed out in your presentations, at the end of the day, you'll be responsible for the administration of this legislation that we're bringing in, for the most part.

I agree with the comments of some of my colleagues who have indicated that there seems to be a general adherence and acceptance by the provinces that this new legislation is philosophically in the right direction. It draws the line in the sand between violent and non-violent. It is more inclusive for victims in participating in the youth system. It very much aims at and emphasizes rehabilitation and early intervention.

The difficulty, of course, is that in pursuing all those laudable goals, there doesn't appear to be adequate consideration that this is going to be an administrative nightmare. As far as the way in which this bill is drafted is concerned, the cost of doing so is going to take years to sort out and to implement.

As a general comment or question to you, if the money that was going to be spent on and that is accompanying this legislation was given to the provinces with a goal of meeting this 50-50 cost-sharing arrangement, and if it was put into the rehabilitative, early intervention, restorative justice model types of programs that are envisioned, do you feel that if that money was put in and amendments were made to the current young offender system to fine-tune some of the areas, this would be a better attempt to reform youth justice in this country, as opposed to bringing in a very cumbersome, convoluted, and onerous piece of legislation?

• 1025

Mr. Bob Eckstein: The first thing I want to mention, as Deputy Dennison has already indicated, is that there are a number of things in the bill we agree with. We agree with victims' inclusion in the process and with the whole restorative base to this. We agree with the need to spend more time on the front end of the system with cautioning programs, extrajudicial sanctions and measures, and the new sentencing provisions that highlight community as opposed to sending youth to custody.

From our experience we understand that in terms of coordination, these programs are time-consuming and costly. If you're going to prepare victims to be involved in a process, that takes time. Otherwise, you're going to have a low participation rate of victims. In speaking to our victims' services coordinators, they've indicated that it does take time for them to understand, or then they become revictimized through the system, and we don't want that to occur. So it takes time to do that, and it takes a coordinated effort.

In terms of intensive support and supervision programs, as I've indicated, we've already had experience with that over the last four or five years. They are costly in terms of administering them because of the high needs of these youth. If you want to lower the risk to reoffend, you have to tackle the needs. Family-based programs in particular, which are involved in 50% of the interventions, require time to coordinate and to meet with the families. The conferencing component is time-consuming.

The Province of New Brunswick would agree with your proposition that if there were more resources dedicated to the front end of the system and they were sustainable, you would see the systemic shift that I think this bill is trying to achieve. Otherwise, we're worried that we're going to have more breaches within the community, because there won't be time to do the advocacy and provide access to the programs they require.

Mr. Peter MacKay: Put another way, is it fair to say that these goals, which we all agree on, could be achieved within the existing system if the emphasis were put on programming and we could somehow do away with the time and the intricacy of putting into place an entirely new system, which I find extremely frustrating when I start going through it in detail?

For example, I want to draw your attention to one thing that jumped out at me. Clause 9 of the bill, under the heading “Warnings, Cautions and Referrals”, speaks of the inadmissibility at a bail hearing of evidence of these trackings that the police will be required to do. That is to say, if they take a kid home several times or they observe him in a park with known drug users, if they're collecting this type of data, which they do in the normal course of community monitoring, that type of evidence will no longer be admissible at a bail hearing if and when the time comes that young person has committed an offence and the feeling of the court, the youth worker, and the prosecutor is that we should hold this person in custody. This type of evidence won't be admissible. That to me is a glaring omission.

That is symptomatic of a number of holes, if you will, in this legislation, with the cross-references and the new systems that are going to be put in place. For example, we are now going to have the equivalent of a parole system, with statutory release and conditional sentences, which aren't exactly working all that well in our adult system. We're now putting those into our youth system.

So I would reiterate that if the emphasis were to be put more on these programs, as opposed to putting in place a new complicated system, all the goals we hope to achieve would be easier and better achieved by simply giving the money.

• 1030

Mr. Phil Arbing: A question in response to your question, Mr. MacKay, for all of us would be, what is different in this? In the Prince Edward Island context, as we've mentioned, the new bill incorporates many of the existing provisions. It may have new language.

In addition, some of the provisions are enabling, in effect endorsing some of the things we're doing well now. If we had the resources, we might be able to do them, whether it's front-end alternatives or more victim involvement, these kinds of provisions, as well as support the young people coming out of custody arrangements.

While legislation can be helpful, we're left at this point with what we have. Prince Edward Island made a representation very early on in the process trying to address the question, why new legislation as opposed to amended legislation? But as I say, we're left with what we have at the moment. Certainly, underlying it all, adequate resources for programs and services will make the difference in the end, not the legislation necessarily.

Mr. Peter MacKay: You've all touched on this. It occurs to me that these new processes will lead to new appeals and conferencing, which can be triggered, it appears, at many stages of the proceedings. That is something that I know first-hand led to incredible frustration on the part of parents, victims, the police, and to a large extent even the young person. Delay is the deadliest form of denial, yet this is a recipe for a system that will be fraught with delay. Would you agree with that statement?

Mr. Bob Eckstein: First and foremost, we've already indicated that we really want to see the resurgence of the 50-50 cost-sharing arrangement, which we believe would significantly assist our jurisdiction.

In terms of the delays, we indicated in the submission that conferencing is a concern for us in terms of the time and resources that will be required, especially when there are no parameters in terms of how or when a judge can call a conference. So we're concerned about that. When you have to have the resources available, such as mental health people, whether it's a family group conference, a sentencing circle, or some other framework, it will create delays. Hopefully, the courts will be cognizant of that in terms of when they call conferencing, and we'll be able to deal with it. We are a small jurisdiction so communication is good. We'll have to try to address the issue of the delay component, for sure.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Thank you, Mr. MacKay. We'll get to you next time around.

Mr. John McKay.

Mr. John McKay (Scarborough East, Lib.): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The most significant transfer that the federal government makes to the provinces is through the Canada health and social transfer. What is the transfer from the federal government to the respective provincial governments in absolute terms? In terms of the percentage budget of the respective provincial governments, what is the amount of the equalization payment as it affects you? Has there been any increase in your respective departments' budgets as a result of those increased transfers in both tax points and cash? Have you done an analysis of the $206 million that accompanies this legislation and what that will actually mean for you?

I ask those questions because it seems to me your argument appears to be somewhat disingenuous. On the one hand you say you don't know what the cost implications might be and that you haven't had time to analyse it, even though this legislation has essentially been in the hopper for seven years through three Parliaments in three bills. You say that you agree with the philosophy of the legislation, which diverts from incarceration, which everyone agrees is a far more costly form of dealing with youth offences.

• 1035

You come before the committee and say you don't quite know what the costs are going to be, you think it's going to be complex, you want us to go back to a 50-50 formula, but you're not sure how much money the federal government has actually been giving over the period of time and what the percentage is out of the $206 million that you might receive. That leaves me wondering whether your argument is that you don't want to get into a resources squabble internally with your own department, or whether you would in fact prefer to just get a cheque directly from the federal government on a bilateral arrangement. I would be interested in your comments on those in order to see if you could flesh out some of the concerns that I have.

Mr. Donald Dennison: I might start off simply by saying the fundamental principle that initiated the federal-provincial partnership was the 50-50 principle. As we indicated, that no longer pertains. We know now that before the new legislation would come into effect...that's not being respected now. As a result, it's difficult for the provinces.

In effect, because it's not being respected, the province has to go to the CHST transfer payments, which were principally designed for education and health. It has to make the argument for the additional funding that this new legislation will require, taking it away from the purpose for which that transfer program was set up. In fact, that wouldn't be necessary if they honoured the commitment with which we began this road in terms of funding justice services for young offenders in 1985.

So it's not as though provinces aren't committed to these programs, because they are. We simply want the commitment to be the same, on the part of both governments, as it was in the beginning, so that we're not having to effectively either rob the health and social services transfer payments, or we are failing to live up to the standard that we would all want to see implemented for youth justice.

I'll ask Bob to comment specifically on how much we know now about the cost of the new legislation. You're right. This has been under study for a long time, and we do have a pretty good idea of those costs.

Mr. Bob Eckstein: I just want to indicate first of all that even with the 2% additional funding to our base over the next six years, the federal contribution will still represent only 36% of our actual costs today. We have to fund the additional moneys.

The other thing is that of the $203 million you're talking about, the Province of New Brunswick gets $3.5 million. That is bridge funding money. It's not sustainable investment. We have to find that money over the next five to six years in terms of sustainable funding.

We've done an initial cost analysis of this act, and it was just based on the effects of community-based programs. These are not the costs to police, these are not costs of systems, and these are not costs to the additional time that may be involved with the crowns.

For the programs with respect to probation officers, mental health programs, substance abuse, the anger management component, impact assessment for victim services, and the new ISSP programs, which we already started—we had them in some parts of our province, but we're going to have to expand to the other parts of the province—we're looking at probably over $2 million in additional sustainable money that we're going to have to have with this new act coming down the pipe.

So $700,000 is not going to go a long way—and that's just for community-based resources to assist us. We've already indicated that we can't move much of our secure custody or open custody capacity back into the community, because we've already done that. We've closed group homes and phased some of that open custody capacity into the community already.

Mr. John McKay: Do I still have time?

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Yes.

• 1040

Mr. John McKay: On your $2 million on sustainable, when you say it's a $2 million increase, is that a figure that calculates—in theory, I suppose, because we're all dealing theoretically here—the cost savings by the diversion programs? In other words, to simplify the argument, you're not putting the kid in jail any more—that should be worth a hundred grand a year. Presumably there will be x number of kids you're going to save on. So is your figure a net figure, or simply a gross-up of your costs?

Mr. Bob Eckstein: As has already been indicated, one of the challenges of a small jurisdiction is that you can't take money from nothing. So we have one secure custody facility. We might be able to move some of our staff from there into the community, in order to absorb some of the new programs and services we're going to have to provide. Hopefully, there'll be more youth within the community. If we don't do that, we're going to have the challenge of breaches. If they don't have access to these needs-based programs, they will be right back into custody. So we will have to try that transition. That part has been incorporated into a component. We are still in the analysis, but we believe we will need to have around $2 million in additional resources invested within the community.

Mr. John McKay: A net $2 million. To take your argument simply, if you take ten kids out of the facility, you reduce from 75 to 65, but you don't save a million dollars.

Mr. Bob Eckstein: But you still have your administrative capacity. You only have one secure custody facility.

Mr. John McKay: Okay.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Thank you, Mr. McKay.

We're now into our condensed version, three minutes per customer.

Mr. Cadman, please.

Mr. Chuck Cadman: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Coming back to Mr. Peter MacKay's question on the extrajudicial measures, I'd like to go off on another tack. With the problems of the tracking from one jurisdiction to another, Mr. MacKay brought up the whole issue of the admissibility of the extrajudicial measures into bail hearings. I'm concerned about when a young person moves from one jurisdiction to another—not necessarily from one part of Canada to another—say from Moncton to Fredericton, and has already been cautioned a number of times in Moncton. In your province do you have the facilities to track those kinds of extrajudicial measures and cautionings from one municipality to another? Sometimes the police in the same department don't even talk and aren't aware of that. Given the emphasis on the extrajudicial measures in this bill, do you do that already? Do you anticipate implementing that kind of a program, and how much is that going to cost you?

Mr. Bob Eckstein: Phil, do you want to go ahead?

Mr. Phil Arbing: I'm not sure of the cost, but certainly there's the question of accountability. We usually talk in discussions about youth justice holding a young person responsible or accountable. There's another view on accountability, and that's holding the system accountable. The question relates to tracking, not only the individual young person, who may be provided with a measure or alternative during the life of that, as between police jurisdictions, but also after the case and when he comes back, if he comes back. There's a difference here, I think, and perhaps the legislation needs further clarification on information and records. What's a record, what is information, and how can it be used?

Mr. Chuck Cadman: If a young person's been cautioned and then six months later is cautioned again, it would be useful for the police officer doing the second cautioning to know that it's already been done six months prior in another jurisdiction. That's the sort of thing I'm talking about.

Mr. Phil Arbing: This is an implementation issue relating to the philosophy and the balance in tracking individuals, as concerns the police, but also for subsequent purposes. We're working on that one in Prince Edward Island now. There's not full agreement as to what we need there. I would think with improved police systems and records tracking systems, if it's a record, that can be done. Mind you, we have to rely on the information's being placed in the system, but we've got to be sure what our policy is up front in procedure.

Mr. Chuck Cadman: Mr. Eckstein.

Mr. Bob Eckstein: I'm not aware of the costs with respect to that either. We've had some initial discussions with some of our policing services and police staff on this particular issue. The tracking part of it is an implementation issue we're presently looking at. We're now developing systems within our jurisdiction to try to pick up on this. It is an issue we're looking at right now in terms of tracking the various sanctions and measures that are going to be taking place.

• 1045

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Thank you, Mr. Cadman.

Mr. Owen, please.

Mr. Stephen Owen (Vancouver Quadra, Lib.): Thank you.

Thank you for appearing before us, gentlemen. This is very interesting information, and it's critical for us to get it from each individual province's point of view.

As I listen to our discussion this morning and previously, I'm struck by some apparent contradictions. We hear from members of this committee, as well as from representatives from the provinces, that there is a strong commitment to the philosophical principles underlying this bill, in fact, this legislation that has been contemplated for many years now.

There seems to be an acceptance of the philosophy and the principles of restorative justice, as well as separating violent crime from non-violent perhaps first-time offenders, but in addition to that, there seems to be considerable experience across the country in actually implementing these programs, not only because they save money—and they do, and every study I've heard of in any jurisdiction in the United States, in Canada, in Australia, and in the United Kingdom, shows that these restorative justice and alternative programs actually save money—but apart from that, and the reason they're promoted is that they restore relationships in community, they reduce recidivism, they raise the level of accountability of youth, which is a positive force on the rest of their lives and therefore their communities, and they treat victims with much greater dignity and allow closure after a crime or an offence has been committed.

Apart from all that, diversion by definition is diverting it from expensive other processes. So I think the questions about net or absolute cost are very pertinent.

But I hear in your testimony and in another testimony coming before us that these systems are very complex and are going to take a great deal of time and money to implement. Yet we're also hearing that the principles are supported for all sorts of good reasons, including that they can reduce costs, and in any event, we've been trying to implement them over time.

So I'm hearing some different messages here, and while I can clearly appreciate and having been a former provincial justice official I have strong sympathy for the intention and attempt by provinces to get as much contribution as possible from the federal government towards provincial responsibilities in the administration of justice, youth protection, youth services, and such, it seems to be at variance to the principles you avow and the programs you have been implementing over time. Perhaps you could help me with that apparent contradiction.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Let the witnesses reply on my time.

Mr. Bob Eckstein: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As I've already indicated, we're a small jurisdiction. Approximately five years ago we did a major shift in downsizing our institutional open custody capacity and moving some of those resources into the community. We've already done that. So trying to take away from that capacity to move to the community is going to be very challenging for us, trying to come up with the additional $700,000 or so a year that we're going to need to invest in the community once this bridge funding money is done with over six years.

It's sustainable money that we're going to have to try to find. Bridge funding is not sustainable money, so we're going to have to have it there in place once we invest in those resources.

When you talk about restorative justice processes, as I've already indicated, this stuff takes time to coordinate. It takes people and resources to coordinate restorative justice programs.

I'm just looking at a couple of programs that we have in our province. One of them is a pilot, an expensive pilot program that is being provided by the federal justice department. I'm pleased that they're doing this, because it's showing that it's a good program. But the continuance of that program within our jurisdiction, sustainable coordination at the end of that pilot project, is going to take time and money. Where we're going to get the money, I'm not exactly sure at this point in time.

• 1050

The other thing is alternative custody. When you talk about deferred custody orders within the community, which are conditional sentences, as has already been mentioned, you also have parole coming out under this new act. There's going to be the requirement for jurisdictions to provide immediate access to needs-based resources for these offenders. If not, then we're going to end up having breaches. That costs money, and it takes coordination in terms of team concept.

The judiciary or the courts are very reliant on formal systems, whether those be mental health programs, or alternative education or education programs that meet the oftentimes 30% to 35% of youth who aren't in school on any given day. We're going to have to find programs for them or they're going to breach. Those are costly resources that we're going to have to find.

Regarding anger management programs, when we talk about 52% of our population living in rural communities, we're dependent a lot on individual counselling. That's expensive to find, as opposed to group-based programming. It costs money, and it adds up. It takes a lot of money for coordination. Developing just group-based programs is not a possibility in a small jurisdiction.

Mr. Stephen Owen: So that I can understand the answers a little more clearly, bridge funding is often based on the assumption that over time there are going to be cost savings because of the positive effect of the programs—for instance, less recidivism, fewer charges going before the courts. So over time, is there not some balancing that will come into play?

Mr. Bob Eckstein: There will be some balancing. Obviously if you're investing on average $700,000 a year for five years in community-based programs, there's going to have to be a balance.

As I've also indicated, most of the money we're spending is going into intensive support and supervision programs. But in the end, we're going to have to find that sustainable resource. Hopefully we can get it from some of our open or secure custody capacity, which is what we're really going to try to do, but it's going to be a challenge when we have only one secure custody. That's what I indicated to begin with.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Does anyone else want to reply on that subject?

Mr. Phil Arbing: Prince Edward Island is faced with a bit of history in that we think we have a special case in trying to strive for the 50-50 funding. The Young Offenders Act came in, and the predetermined services were to be funded 50-50. In 1988 or 1989 there was a cap put on by the federal government. We did not have the Young Offenders Act fully implemented, so we've never had the 50-50.

We think there's a question there of fairness, and we've been trying to argue that on a special case basis. I believe we're the only jurisdiction that was caught that far behind.

In addition, the cost sharing we have—I guess this is getting somewhat repetitive—relates only to community services, probation services, custody-type services and programs. It doesn't relate to policing, crown attorneys, courts, and other kinds of services, including victim services.

The other challenge we have is getting from point A to point B, and the transitional money will certainly help that. We are a small organization, and hopefully we can reduce demands on one side and put it on the other. But can we close programs? It's very difficult.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Thank you.

Mr. MacKay, one question. We're running up against a time deadline here.

Mr. Peter MacKay: That's fine. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Witnesses, I have one last question, a general one, of course, about the philosophy. Having heard earlier from you about your agreement with the general philosophy regarding the emphasis, what would you say in terms of the tone that is set in the preamble, where there is a complete absence, and no mention anywhere in this bill, of deterrence or denunciation? That's not to say we want to put it in a negative tone, but these are words that are common parlance in courts around the country every day in dealing with youth.

It's a very difficult task for the drafters of legislation, I realize, in terms of this public protection versus emphasis on rehabilitation and reintegration, and all those good things. But are you troubled by the absence of any mention in this bill of deterrence or denunciation, knowing that these are principles that have to apply, particularly with youth?

• 1055

Mr. Bob Eckstein: It's not something that has preoccupied our concerns provincially. I do know, in working with young offenders over the last fifteen years, that deterrence is not necessarily a principle that considerably sways them from being affected by committing additional offences. People assume they think the same way as everybody else, and you have to address the needs and the circumstances of these offenders if you're going to deter them from crime.

I know the research shows that deterrence and denunciation don't work, so from a program perspective and a research perspective it's not something we've really given a whole lot of thought. As I've indicated, I think the best deterrence for offenders, and in terms of denunciation, is to have victims included in the process, as well as to have programs the youth and families are going to have access to, to change the circumstances of their life. If anything, that's what deterrence means to us.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Thank you, Mr. Eckstein.

Mr. Maloney, please.

Mr. John Maloney (Erie—Lincoln, Lib.): I was going to address the issue of cost, which has been pretty much flogged here this morning.

My understanding, Mr. Eckstein, is that your share of the transformation money, provisional money, over five years is roughly $5.2 million, which is roughly $1 million a year, as opposed to $700,000. We could look into that. I understand P.E.I.'s is roughly $2.2 million over five years as well. That's a significant amount of money in getting you set up, I would think.

Bill C-7 is sort of Bill C-3 as amended, and those amendments were in response to concerns that we've heard in the consideration of Bill C-3. On balance, or in general, what are your comments on the amended bill, or the new Bill C-7 as amended? Do you have any strong concerns on some of those amendments, like the establishing of rules for when to convene a conference, the judicial discretion in sentencing, or custody vis-à-vis supervision?

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): I'd caution the witnesses that we have about two minutes to go and then our lease on this room runs out. Please be brief.

Mr. Bob Eckstein: I'll let Phil answer this question, seeing as I seem to be hogging the microphone here. I'll let him answer it, but I do want to mention one thing when he's finished.

Mr. Phil Arbing: First, I have a point of clarification. In terms of the transitional or bridge funding coming to Prince Edward Island, over the five years it's roughly $1.3 million. The $2.2 million is really the average over the five years, which includes the base funding. This year, for example, in bridge funding there will be $300,000 in addition to the base funding of $1.9 million. In year five we would get $130,000 bridge funding, in addition to $2 million base funding. There's a discrepancy there somewhere. For our purposes, that results this year in about 35% of our total operating costs for the services under—I want to draw attention to it—the cost-sharing agreement, which doesn't extend to some of the others we'd like to see included, like family support programs for offending young people.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): You have about 30 seconds, Mr. Eckstein.

Mr. Bob Eckstein: I won't go into the cost sharing, but it also includes the base funding you were talking about there.

There is one section, paragraph 42(2)(l), which I know wasn't included in the submission, but I do want to talk about it. It's the agreement of a provincial director as to whether a program is available under the intensive support and supervision order. I believe this amendment doesn't go far enough. As it stands now in there, a judge can order the young person into an intensive support and supervision program approved by the provincial director. I would like to see it more on the basis that it would indicate placement into this program as approved by the provincial director, because otherwise we're going to net-widen these programs and it should be only reserved for those youths who require the intensive services within the community. It's not just the approval of the program, because in our jurisdiction judges already know those programs exist.

The Vice-Chair (Mr. Ivan Grose): Thank you, Mr. Eckstein.

Before we break, Mr. Peter MacKay has served us with a notice of motion, which will be on the agenda on Tuesday.

I'd like to thank the witnesses very much. I'm sorry I had to rush you a bit towards the end, but leases do run out. Thank you very much, and have a safe trip home.

Top of document