Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the committee for allowing me to appear at a later date than you originally requested. My schedule was quite full, but I'm glad to be here today.
Good morning, and thank you, Mr. Chair and committee members, for the opportunity to discuss how the freeze on departmental budget envelopes and government operations will affect the daily operations of the Correctional Service of Canada.
I'd also like to address the impact on CSC operations that can be expected from the legislation connected with the government's criminal justice initiatives, in particular the Truth in Sentencing Act and the Tackling Violent Crime Act.
The freeze on the Correctional Service of Canada's departmental budget envelope and operations applies to operating budgets only, as you know. Operating budgets will be frozen at the current levels, and the freeze will also apply to 2011-12 fiscal year and 2012-13 fiscal year reference levels.
There is no freeze on wages. CSC employees will receive the salary increase for this year resulting from collective agreements and set at 1.5% by the Expenditure Restraint Act. As with other departments, the Correctional Service of Canada will absorb this increase as well as any increases to salaries and wages in 2011-12 and 2012-13 that result from future collective agreements.
Work is well under way at CSC to improve efficiencies within our operations to pay for these increases. For instance, we have introduced new staff deployment standards at our penitentiaries for our correctional officers. We are also now using computerized rostering systems to ensure that we are efficiently staffing our facilities on a 24/7 basis. This is improving our effectiveness by ensuring that our people know when and where they will be working their shift rotations well in advance. It will also help to reduce our overtime expenditures by more efficiently replacing correctional officers who are absent on training or leave.
We've also improved our integrated human resources and business planning methods to more accurately forecast our staffing and recruitment needs going forward. Because our penitentiaries must be properly staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, we make every effort to maintain our staff complement at appropriate levels. This is an important part of minimizing the overtime that would otherwise be incurred to fill vacant posts in our facilities.
Personnel costs represent our largest expenditure. For fiscal year 2010-11, Correctional Service of Canada's main estimates are approximately $2.5 billion, and personnel expenditures, including salaries and benefits, represent approximately 61% of the budget, or $1.5 billion. The rest is dedicated to operating costs, which represent approximately 25%, $625 million, and capital investments at approximately 14%, $329 million.
It's important to note that 90% of CSC's budget is non-discretionary and quasi-statutory. CSC has fixed costs that it must fund on a continuous basis. These include the provision of food to offenders, the utility costs related to the maintenance of our accommodations, clothing for offenders, and uniforms for our staff. The remaining 10% provides us with some opportunity and flexibility to seek out ways for us to meet the freeze on operating costs. I am confident that we will continue to find improvements in our program delivery that will help us to absorb these costs.
The government's criminal justice initiatives will present some opportunities for CSC as well as some challenges. The primary impact of the legislation will be a significant and sustained increase to the federal offender population over time. This will be particularly evident in the short to mid term.
As the members will know, the Truth in Sentencing Act replaces the two for one credit for time in custody before sentencing to a maximum of one day of credit for each day served in provincial detention. Only under exceptional circumstances may a judge provide a 1.5-day credit. Consequently, many offenders who would have previously received a provincial sentence will now serve a federal sentence of two years or more, and those who would have received a federal sentence will now receive a longer federal sentence.
Normally we would have expected an incarcerated population of about 14,856 by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. This figure is a result of our projections for regular growth, which is set at about 1% for male offenders and about 2.8% for women offenders. However, we are expecting an additional 383 offenders by the end of the 2014 fiscal year as a result of Bill C-2, the Tackling Violent Crime Act. And with the implementation of Bill C-25, the Truth in Sentencing Act, our analysis is forecasting an increase of 3,445 more offenders, including 182 women, by 2013.
Mr. Chair, this is a considerable increase over such a short period of time. The additional 3,828 offenders resulting from Bill C-2 and Bill C-25, together with our normal projections, represents a total growth of 4,478 inmates in the 2014 fiscal year and an anticipated total penitentiary population of 18,684 offenders by March 31, 2014. This growth, Mr. Chair, well exceeds our existing capacity today.
We are moving quickly to identify the measures required to address these population increases, and we are taking a multi-faceted approach. Several measures are now being developed, including temporary accommodation measures such as double-bunking. We are also now in the process of tendering for the construction of new accommodation units, program space, and support services within existing Correctional Service Canada institutions.
Regarding the expanded use of shared accommodation, I should note that it will be aligned with greater offender accountability. We expect offenders to be out of their cells engaging in programs and making positive efforts to become law-abiding citizens who can contribute to safe communities for all Canadians when they are released. These temporary measures will be implemented in a way that will minimize any adverse impact on front-line service delivery at our institutions. I assure you that with the proper support, any steps we take around budget implications and capacity issues will not jeopardize public safety or the safety of staff or inmates.
With respect to the new units, we can expedite the design and construction process by using proven and refined designs. Furthermore, we are strategically planning expansions at institutions located where we expect the greatest increases. Beyond expanding our facilities, CSC will be improving our program delivery capacity to meet the needs of an increasingly complex and diverse offender population. This includes programming for offenders who require treatment for mental health disorders and addictions, or those who are trying to break from their affiliations with gangs, particularly among our aboriginal offender population.
I should note that we are expecting the largest increase in our prairie region, where we will need 726 more accommodation spaces. As this region is where a majority of our aboriginal offenders are housed, we are currently reviewing our aboriginal corrections strategy to improve our delivery of education and employment training. This will assist in the safe reintegration of our aboriginal offenders back to their home communities.
Of course, there is a cost to all of this. Our current estimates are approximately $2 billion over five years in order to provide sufficient resources to address the additional double-bunking that will occur and to get the new units up and running. This also includes funds to ensure that we continue to provide offenders under our supervision with access to programs.
The assessment of this legislation's impact on CSC will be a long and complex process. As we continually monitor this impact, we will continuously fine-tune our approach to accommodate population increases and adjust our service delivery. We will also seek to connect this short- and medium-term impact with future requirements associated with the aging and inadequate infrastructure at some of our older institutions.
A long-term accommodation plan that will provide a forecast to the year 2018 is expected to be presented for consideration by this spring. As we move forward, we will be consulting with our partners and the communities in which we are located across Canada to ensure that we proceed in a transparent and collaborative fashion.
Of course, with the short- and long-term accommodation measures I've mentioned above comes a necessary increase in our staff complement. As indicated in the most recent report on plans and priorities, CSC is planning to staff an additional 4,119 positions across Canada over the next three years. This increase will enhance our capacity to carry out our mandate, help in our work with offenders, and improve our public safety results. I am very sensitive to the possible effects of an offender population increase on the work and safety of my staff in our penitentiaries and parole offices, whether they are existing staff or new hires. But I'm also very aware of, and extremely confident in, the commitment and ability of my employees to deliver high-quality correctional services that produce good public safety results for Canadians. I am speaking about our correctional and parole officers, our vocational and program staff, our health care professionals, and our support staff and management teams across the country. These are dedicated people, and the additional staff who will be added over the coming years will significantly help those who are on the ground today working with offenders.
We have been modernizing the way we select and train our correctional officers and other staff, and we work together with our union partners to make sure we are hiring the best-suited people who are committed to making a difference in the lives of others and the safety of their communities.
While it's clear that the criminal justice legislation and the spending freeze will pose some challenges, I am confident that the Correctional Service of Canada will successfully adapt and continue to provide good public safety results for all Canadians.
Mr. Chair, in closing, I wish to thank you for this opportunity to speak to the committee, and I welcome any questions you may have today.
Thank you very much for that question, and I look forward to trying to explain it as clearly as I can.
I'm quite confident with the numbers that we have projected based on the information that's available to us. We have had an opportunity to review the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report, and I think, as you're quite aware, there are some differences, partly because there were certain pieces of information that we couldn't provide the Parliamentary Budget Officer as a result of cabinet confidence. Therefore, some of his calculations are based on some assumptions that are not the assumptions we have used in our process.
We've looked at many things in our calculations, including past trends in terms of overall population growth. You heard me mention earlier our normal population growth of about 1% for men and about 2.8% for women, and that's based on historical data and trends that are available to us.
As it relates to the bills I mentioned, particularly Bill C-25, we used a set of assumptions that are slightly different from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, and some of the assumptions the Parliamentary Budget Officer used are not ones we would use. For example, in the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report, he bases some of his calculations on about an 8,000-plus offender admission rate into CSC. Our admission rate is lower than that. His calculations actually include admissions for not only warrants of committal, new offenders coming into the system, but also individuals coming back on suspension or revocation from the community. So those are not new offenders; they're just offenders who are already in the system who are being suspended. So there's almost a 50% difference in terms of calculation from admission rates when you start to look at that.
As well, in his calculations, again based on the information that was available to him, he looked at using total operating costs for CSC as opposed to those that are directly linked to providing services to offenders at the custody and intervention level.
So those two areas create some differences in the numbers.
Thank you for being here, Mr. Head and Ms. Dumas-Sluyter. I am very grateful to you for your attendance. Thank you also for your patience at the start of the session.
As I listened to your presentation, I noticed that you were very familiar with the present situation in the penitentiaries. That puts you at a great advantage. Often witnesses we have had here were concerned with the bureaucratic aspects, but did not have the knowledge of the real situation that you do.
Mr. Head, I think we have to look at the present situation in the penitentiaries in order to be able to project and predict what will happen, given the two acts that you have to deal with and the increase in the numbers of offenders that will suddenly arrive at your door in the next few months.
At the moment, the situation is deplorable. I have in my hand some letters from CX employees, saying that their training has been greatly cut back. The training budget, which was more than $1 million, is to be reduced, in fact. So CX employees do not feel safe. They have to be trained to learn how to use their weapons, but that is not happening. That is the first thing.
Second, some institutions are overcrowded, which leads to a tense climate. Because of the overcrowding, inmates cannot get the hours of recreation to which they are entitled, in order to go into the yard, to take courses or work at their trades, or even to just do what they have to do—after all, there is some rehabilitation in prison. It all leads to climate of some tension.
Third, there is also a petition about CX employees that you received in 2010, I think.
So, this is the situation as we see it. We know that the two new acts are going to mean an increase in the number of inmates. We are aware that the correctional investigator has mentioned that the biggest population of people with psychiatric conditions are in federal prisons, precisely where the fewest psychiatric services are provided. You are telling us that you are aware of the problems and that the Correctional Service of Canada will be able to adapt. But, at the same time, the correctional investigator is saying that the Correctional Service of Canada is adapting, but it takes a long time to make any progress.
Mr. Head, what are we going to do to ensure the safety of the inmates in the Correctional Service of Canada's institutions, as well as the safety of the staff of those institutions and of those who reside in the vicinity, given the two new acts, the freeze in the budget envelopes and the fact that money is being used to build or expand inside? That is my question.
Thank you for that multi-level question.
I have a couple of comments. One of the things that we are ensuring as we move forward, as I mentioned in my opening comments, is that whatever we do, whether it's related to the changes in legislation, to departmental budget freezes, or to anything around our overall transformation agenda, is that the environment within which our staff work, our inmates live, and our visitors come to is safe and secure. That is paramount in all our decisions. We need to have a safe, secure environment for everybody who comes to those facilities.
We are, as you pointed out, very conscious of the impacts of an increased offender population coming into the facilities and what that could mean for the operating environment, the tension within the environment. We have had experience in facilities across the country where we have had double-bunking for periods of time in the past, so we do have some experience in managing that. But we are going to continue to monitor this very closely.
In terms of some of the other points you raised, I just want to mention that, as a result of budget increases in the last several years, we have been able to provide additional advanced or enhanced training to our staff, including our correctional officers. For example, we recently acquired new sidearms for our correctional officers and have just about completed the training of all staff on the new firearm.
Overall, our training budget has increased by about $24 million, so that's allowing us to provide training not only to our correctional officers but also to our health care staff, our parole officers, and our psychologists--the whole range of staff.
In terms of the mental health issues you raised and commented on, they are of concern to us, the number of offenders who are coming in with mental health disorders and how we respond to them. We have received some increases in our budget over the last few years, but there's still a lot of work to do. As I mentioned at previous committee meetings, unfortunately, we have become the default mental health system in the country. That's not the place I want to be. I believe those with mental health problems need to be treated in other places. However, we have to respond to the decisions of the court, and we're trying to respond the best way we can, both for those who are in the institution and those who are under our supervision in the community.
Those are the numbers I've come across, not the national numbers but in the area I represent. I wish Chris were still listening, because I think he would benefit from...acknowledging, at least, that in that particular case increased prison sentences are not going to prevent crime or reduce crime for that population.
One of my concerns is the contrast between your fairly optimistic report that you'll be able to meet commitments, even in light of the budgetary freeze--which is really the subject of our study--and the report of the correctional investigator that “...on the horizon, several criminal justice-related issues”, etc., “are making their way through the system. They will have downstream impacts.... An increase in the prison population will add to the pressures in a system that is already having difficulty fulfilling its mandate to provide safe and humane custody, and to reintegrate offenders into their communities in a timely fashion.”
That's only one paragraph from a fairly condemning report of the investigator.
I know that education and training have suffered in the institutions in recent years. There used to be salaried staff teachers in Corrections. A couple of the smart guys set up a private company called Excalibur, and they now contract to Corrections. It's not through a school division any more; it's not a supervised curriculum that's useful to the inmates. It's haphazard, thrown together, shoddy teaching at a greater cost than it used to be when they had in-house teachers. Excalibur has been exposed as a sham for years.
I know that the education and training is suffering already, and I can't help but think that if you're going to try to meet the $2 billion in extra expenses, in light of a budgetary freeze, it's going to have to mean stacking up prisoners like cordwood—native prisoners, mostly, in my region—and cutting corners on basic things like education and training that might put them on a proper footing to do something useful when they get out of prison.
I don't see how you can possibly square that circle any other way. Perhaps give us some more specifics on how you plan to find $2 billion over the next five years without cutting off your rations of food or something.
It's a pleasure to be here this morning to talk about my former office's role--at the moment, I am between assignments, so I don't in fact have a specific assignment--in coordinating the security budget for the G-8 and G-20 summits.
To begin, let me say a couple of words about the office's mandate in relation to G-8 and G-20 security, the related cost drivers, and finally the accountability of the Government of Canada with regard to the G-8 and G-20 security budget.
As coordinator of Olympic and G-8 and G-20 security, my mandate vis-à-vis the summits was primarily to ensure an integrated approach to security planning for the summits, to develop a comprehensive exercise program to test security planning assumptions, and to ensure that funding, planning, and operational measures were both linked and risk-based.
Based on a medium threat assessment and a review of the business cases brought forward, the Government of Canada budgeted up to $930 million for security for the two summits. That amount included a contingency reserve of about $55 million for unforeseen costs. Canada hosted two separate and independent summits in separate geographic locations, which frankly is unprecedented. The reality of the situation was that the magnitude of the endeavour required security operations, including land, air, and maritime components, and multiple security partners because of the various jurisdictions.
The more rural region of Muskoka and the limited size of the Huntsville community created requirements for infrastructure upgrades, temporary accommodation, telecommunications upgrades, and significant transportation and service costs. While rural settings are in some sense generally easier to secure, they can be more expensive as a result of higher fixed costs.
Remote sites are also unable to accommodate larger meetings such as the G-20, which is why virtually all of those meetings have been held in urban centres. Given the nature of the Huntsville site, reinforcements from out of area would not have arrived in time in the event of a major incident, and therefore numerous additional police officers and others were required to be kept in proximity to the site, which incurred considerable travel, accommodation, and overtime charges.
While the principal G-8 leaders were transported by helicopter, the inclusion of other world leaders dictated ground transportation from Toronto to Huntsville, requiring hundreds of kilometres of ground routes to be secured. Additional motorcades for G-8 leaders were needed in the event that inclement weather prevented air travel, a common occurrence in June in that part of Ontario.
Given the shortness of the hearing this morning, I'm trying to be very brief. I've offered you a brief overview of the context relating to the G-8 and G-20 summit security costs.
But before taking your questions, I should also speak to the government's commitment to accountability in terms of the security budget.
My office provided full cooperation to separate reviews by the Parliamentary Budget Office prior to the summits taking place and then to the Auditor General after the summits occurred.
I welcome the opportunity here today to provide Canadians with additional information and to respond to any questions you may have.
Mr. Chair, members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to appear before you this morning to talk about Canada's G8 and G20 summits in June.
Hosting a meeting of the world's political leaders is a massive undertaking. Canada hosted two such meetings back to back over the course of a single weekend, as well as an international youth summit and a summit of global business leaders. To develop the final summit's agenda, we held 29 preparatory events in the first half of 2010. These 29 meetings of officials from G-8 and G-20 countries took place in different regions across Canada. Taken all together, this proved to be an undertaking of massive unprecedented proportion.
Summitry is an activity that is extraordinary to our regular government operations. It involves not only hosting, housing, and securing foreign leaders, but also the logistic and technical work in setting up all the required meetings.
Every foreign leader comes with a large group of delegates, and, while these people are responsible for their own accommodation expenses, the government still has to plan for this massive influx of foreign guests, to ensure a series of summits that unfolds seamlessly.
More than 6,000 officials and over 3,700 media applied for accreditation to the two meetings. We served more than 100,000 meals at nine different summit venues. We secured five hotels and arranged 130,000 one-way shuttle trips between summit sites. We did all this and more with a core planning staff of about 200 people, which rose to over 600 during the events.
In the context of the 29 preparatory meetings leading to the summits, I would like to explain our site selection process, the economies of scale we achieved, and the related events we hosted in support of the G-8 and G-20 summits.
In 2007 a team of public servants began evaluating sites across Canada for the 2010 G-8. The idea was to find a site fitting the Kananaskis 2002 model, which calls for a relatively secluded location.
In June 2008, the Prime Minister announced that he had chosen Huntsville's Deerhurst Resort to host the 2010 G8 summit. This choice was based on the facilities there, suitable for the retreat-like nature of the G8 summit.
Then, at the 2009 Pittsburgh summit in September, Canada announced that it would host a G20 summit on the same weekend as the G8 summit in June 2010.
Clearly, the G-20 is a much larger undertaking than the G-8, with more nations, more delegates, and broader media interest. In fact, Canada invited, in all, more than 30 delegations from countries beyond the G-8 and G-20, as alluded to by Mr. Elcock, including Malawi, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Haiti, Egypt, Colombia, Vietnam, Algeria, Spain, Nigeria, Senegal, and the Netherlands, not to mention international organizations, such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization, to name a few. As a result, we, the planners, faced a much greater logistical challenge.
Consequently, Muskoka's Deerhurst Resort, the G-8 venue, was simply too small to accommodate the needs of the G-20. Since both the G-8 and the G-20 were to happen on the same weekend, we, the organizers, had to find a site that would mitigate the challenges of hosting two world-class events back to back. What this meant was that the G-20 venue had to be somewhere that limited leaders' movements, minimized costs, and did not unnecessarily extend the time of the combined events, including travel. Toronto, as a result, was the clearest option.
Toronto was considered the best venue for the G-20 summit, given the sheer number of G-20 delegates and the focus on contemporary global economic issues. Toronto also offered the clear advantage of being just over 200 kilometres away from Huntsville, and both sites were close to the Lester B. Pearson International Airport.
Although the summits were held in two locations, the advantage of choosing Toronto and Huntsville as hosts was that the contracts for goods and services could serve both locations, given their relative proximity. It also meant that my office did not need to double up a request for proposals process.
These last two points underscored our overarching consideration in this summit planning, finding economies of scale where possible while accommodating two concurrent international summits, as well as the youth summit and a global summit of business leaders. By hosting these summits the weekend of June 25 to 27, the summit's management office used the same core staff, the same airport, and the same international media centre.
From December 2009 to June 2010, the Summit Management Office organized 29 preparatory meetings, including three ministerial meetings, such as the late-March foreign ministers' meeting which took place across the Ottawa River in Gatineau.
Two of these ministerial meetings were organized with very little notice. This included the Ministerial Preparatory Conference on Haiti in Montreal just a dozen days after Haiti's devastating earthquake in January. Although the Haitian earthquake was not on the agenda of either summit, DFAIT made efficient use of the Summit Management Office by tapping its planning expertise to deliver this conference on such short notice.
In addition to the increased number of preparatory meetings associated with hosting the G-20 summit, the scope of the G-8 agenda was expanded, which required additional meetings focused on the L’Aquila food security initiative and the G-8 accountability working group.
During the summits themselves, our work was comparable to a relay race. As soon as the G-8 summit ended, we immediately turned to supporting the G-20 business leaders summit, which was hosted by the Honourable John Manley of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives in Toronto in the hours before the G-20 summit began. Meanwhile, we supported the official youth summit, which started ahead of the G-8 summit and lasted through to the end of the G-20 summit.
With activities shifting from the Muskoka region to Toronto, university-led delegates observed the summit process, engaged in discussions on summit themes, and met senior officials, ministers, leaders, and other dignitaries. We welcomed more than 150 future leaders to Canada for this youth summit, a life-changing experience for all concerned.
Canada also introduced a new tool for summitry, a virtual G-20, a secure online community for G-20 sherpas and their staff to exchange documents, in part to mitigate the large number of meetings. This initiative was widely acclaimed by our G-20 counterparts. E-discussions and social media were made available to and used by media delegations and the general public on an unparalleled scale.
Conclusion. It was unprecedented in Canadian history to host not only two leader summits but also a youth summit and a summit of business leaders over the course of a single week. The key to these summit successes was our preparedness, which included the 29 preparatory meetings we hosted in the first half of the year.
Hosting just one summit constitutes an activity that is extraordinary to regular government operations, so hosting four summits, the G-8, the G-20, the international youth summit, and a summit of global business leaders, incurred extraordinary work and costs that we mitigated through economies of scale.
I should perhaps add, just as an indication of the kinds of activities that my office had to conduct, that we had a health division within my office, which provided 220 health care workers at seven 24-hour on-site emergency clinics, serving all four summits. We coordinated 61 aircraft arrivals and multiple helicopter movements between Toronto and Huntsville to make sure the leaders kept to their schedules. We did this with a core staff of one summits management office.
The planning of the G8 and G20 summits must be considered in the context of our site selection process, the economies of scale we achieved, and the related events we hosted in support of the summits.
I was lucky enough to attend the G-8 in L'Aquila, which actually turned into a G-35 because the Italian Prime Minister had invited a lot more people there. What struck me about that one was, as you mentioned--I obviously had never been to one of these before. There were close to 10,000 people attending this. You mentioned the security infrastructure in Italy. The policing started with the municipal police, the paramilitary, the carabinieri
. The Guardia di Finanza was also in attendance. The military was in attendance. The forestry police were brought in to secure this. The event took place on a newly completed military base that was constructed for the Guardia di Finanza.
There's been a lot of talk with respect to the location of this event in Toronto. I know some people have suggested that Toronto is incapable of hosting this type of an event. I suppose I'm the only member on this committee, with the exception of the chair, who's from the GTA. I think it was an extraordinary event, and the people of Toronto should be proud not only of what they accomplished, but of what the police force has accomplished.
I wonder about two things. Did we respect the municipal and provincial policing contracts when we did this? Obviously they have certain provisions for their working hours. Did we respect those contracts, as I think we should have and I hope we did?
Is there a military base in Toronto or close to Toronto that could have housed this? It has been discussed that we should have housed this on the CNE grounds. I've lived in the Toronto area my entire life. I do not know of a hotel on the CNE grounds that could accommodate 10,000 people. If you know of one, I'd appreciate it. I've asked consistently for people to explain to me how we could house this in a location without accommodations, and nobody has told me how....
I guess my questions are these. Did we respect the policing contracts, not only of the Toronto police...? Did the Toronto police and the command of the OPP and the RCMP do exactly what we expected them to do and police their city as effectively as we could have ever hoped they could have done?
Are there other alternatives? If we do this in the future, outside of Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver, where could we host a G-20 that could house 10,000 people?