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House of Commons Emblem

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security


NUMBER 013 
l
2nd SESSION 
l
43rd PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Monday, January 25, 2021

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (1535)  

[English]

    Colleagues, it's good to see you. Welcome back to the committee. Let's hope that 2021 is a big improvement over 2020.
    Before I go through all the warnings about physical distancing, wearing a mask and all the rest of that stuff, I believe we are entirely virtual so I don't think we need to go into that.
    To carry on the study that we commenced last year, we are welcoming to our 13th meeting two witnesses who are very familiar to this committee. I will call upon Commissioner Kelly or Ms. Oades to speak for seven minutes each, in whatever order they see fit. The Order Paper has Madam Kelly first and Ms. Oades second. They can introduce whoever is with them.
    With that, Commissioner Kelly, you have seven minutes, please.

[Translation]

    I'm joined today by Alain Tousignant, senior deputy commissioner.
    I'd like to begin by extending, once again, my heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and communities affected by this terrible tragedy. No one wants to see this type of tragedy occur. I'm deeply saddened that it happened.
    Public safety is our priority. It must be at the core of everything that we do and it must guide every decision that we make. We take this responsibility very seriously when it comes to supervising approximately 9,400 federal offenders in communities across the country, including 2,000 offenders in Quebec.
    As I told the committee last year—I don't want to undermine in any way the seriousness of this tragic incident— it's extremely rare that an offender on day parole commits a violence offence of this nature. However, when it does happen, getting to the bottom of what happened is our top priority, as is the case here.

[English]

    I would like to thank the board of investigation for contributing their expertise, objectivity and hard work to this process, especially during this public health pandemic. We have closely examined all of the board's findings and accept their five recommendations. We have developed an action plan to implement them in their entirety.
    As I committed at my last appearance on this issue, we have provided this committee and the public with the board of investigation report, along with a summary of the findings as well as a management action plan detailing our concrete actions.

[Translation]

    I first want to say that the community supervision strategy in this case was completely inappropriate. I want to be clear. The Correctional Service of Canada doesn't condone offenders seeking sexual services. In my 37 years with the service, I can firmly attest to the fact that this isn't something that we, as an organization, endorse in how we manage offenders. I've made this clear throughout my organization.
    Immediately following the tragic incident, I ordered a nation-wide review of all community supervision strategies to ensure that they're sound, appropriate and consistent with the policies and that they serve to protect public safety.

[English]

     In terms of community supervision, Quebec has had a direct supervision model for over 40 years, through which, under contract, community partners play an important role in the successful rehabilitation of offenders. They provide accommodation and support to offenders, while a small number of them, including Maison Painchaud, also directly supervise approximately 155 offenders on conditional release in the community.
     We are taking steps to move to a single community supervision model for federal offenders in Canada. By March 31, 2021, the Maison Painchaud community residential facility will no longer supervise federal offenders. Although offenders will continue to be housed at the facility, CSC will take over all aspects of supervision for federal offenders in the community.
     We will also review our other community residential facility contracts in Quebec, with a goal of returning all direct supervision responsibilities for federal offenders to CSC. As with Maison Painchaud, these community residential facilities will continue to house offenders.
    Building safer communities is a complex process, and CSC cannot and does not work in isolation. While direct supervision responsibilities for federal offenders in Quebec will be returned to CSC, as is the case in the rest of the country, our community partners will continue to provide the services and support to offenders and their families that are a vital part of an offender's safe reintegration.

  (1540)  

[Translation]

    Our other key actions include strengthening our information collection procedures and policies. The Correctional Service of Canada is revising its policy to clearly specify the types of documents required for offenders with a history of serious offences. We're also putting in place a formal monitoring mechanism to check at regular intervals whether the requested documents have been obtained and to ensure a follow-up, if required.
    In addition, the service's community supervision policy is being reviewed. A template is being developed to guide the re-assessment of an offender's risk. The tool will list specific elements, including collateral contacts, that must be discussed during case conferences involving parole officers and their supervisors.
    The service will also be implementing new training on intimate partner violence. This training will complement existing training on spousal assault risk assessment and will be required for all parole officers and their supervisors to help them assess and manage the offenders' risk.

[English]

     I know this case has had a profound impact on our employees, especially those in Quebec. These situations are extremely rare, in large part because of the work our employees and our community partners do, day in, day out, to supervise offenders in the community. That being said, something went tragically wrong in this case, and we owe it to Canadians to follow due process and properly examine the circumstances specific to the employees directly involved in the supervision and oversight of this case. The disciplinary process will help determine if any additional accountability measures are required.
    As commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, I am resolute in my commitment to working closely with our employees, community partners and unions to implement all of the recommendations as presented to us. I believe doing so will lead to important changes in how we supervise offenders and deliver on our mandate to keep our communities safe.
    In closing, I would once again like to express my sympathies to the family and friends of Marylène Lévesque.
    Thank you.
    Thank you, Commissioner Kelly.
    Ms. Oades, you have seven minutes. Go ahead, please.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair, and members of the committee. I'm pleased to appear before you today. I'm joined by Sylvie Blanchet, our executive vice-chairperson.
    I'd like to start by extending my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Marylène Lévesque. I recognize how devastating this incident has been for them. My heart goes out to every one of them. What happened in Quebec City on January 22, 2020, is an absolute tragedy, and something that should never happen. For those of us who have devoted our professional careers to the field of parole, this is an outcome that we never wanted to see.

[English]

     However, when an incident like this does happen, we take it very seriously.
    The purpose of conditional release as per the law is to contribute to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by means of a decision on the timing and conditions of release that will best facilitate the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community as law-abiding citizens.
    The board is an independent decision-making body. We conduct approximately 16,000 reviews each year, which translates into about 23,000 decisions. In accordance with the law, board members may grant parole to an offender if, in their opinion, the offender will not, by reoffending, present an undue risk to society before the end of their sentence and—that's “and”, not “or”—the release of the offender will contribute to the protection of society by facilitating the offender's return to the community as a law-abiding citizen.
    The law and Parole Board decisions are based on research that clearly shows that the gradual, managed and supervised release of offenders provides the best protection of society. The board's risk assessment framework is evidence-based and has been adopted in a number of other jurisdictions. In their decision-making, board members consider all relevant information from a wide range of sources from the police, victims, the courts, crown attorneys, mental health professionals, correctional authorities and private agencies. All of that information is used in assessing an offender's risk of reoffending and whether that risk can be safety managed in the community. Board members also refer to actuarial assessments and risk assessment tools in determining an offender's risk of reoffending. In all cases, the protection of the public is the paramount consideration.
    Over the last three decades there has been continuous improvement in the public safety results that the board has achieved, reflecting the research that has continued to progress on risk assessment and the management of risk. In 1990 the success rate of offenders released by the board who had completed their sentence hovered around 70%. Today it's over 98%. Additionally, violent reoffending by offenders whom the board releases is extremely rare in that 99.9% of all offenders on day parole have not reoffended violently.
    As much as we strive for excellence in our decision-making, unfortunately, predicting human behaviour is not, and likely never will be, an exact science. We recognize that when a serious incident occurs, we must seek answers and examine what happened so that we may identify necessary actions to prevent such incidents from reoccurring.
    That is why, on February 3 of last year, the Parole Board and the Correctional Service of Canada convened a national joint board of investigation. It was chaired by two community members independent of the CSC and the Parole Board of Canada, both of whom are distinguished criminologists. The purpose of this investigation was to analyze the various aspects of the offender's release and supervision in the community and to make recommendations to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.
    As Commissioner Kelly has already outlined, the board of investigation made five recommendations to the Correctional Service of Canada. The board of investigation had no recommendations for the Parole Board of Canada; however, I would like to speak to some of their findings.
    They include the following: that the board members who made these decisions had the level of knowledge necessary to perform their tasks and met all of the board's training requirements; that our training plan for new board members is well structured and complete; that the board members correctly applied the law and clearly set out the reasons for the additional conditions they imposed in keeping with board policy; that the board members fully applied the risk assessment framework in accordance with policy in both the March and September decisions; that the board had at its disposal all the relevant and available information for sound decision-making; that board members were in compliance with the law and policy related to the decision-making; and that the September 2019 written decision did not fully reflect what occurred at the hearing, although this discrepancy was not identified as a factor in Ms. Levesque's death.
    Importantly, the report acknowledges that the board members in this case explicitly prohibited the offender from visiting massage parlours for sexual purposes. While there are no recommendations for the board, as part of our ongoing commitment to continuous improvement and quality decision-making, the board has initiated refresher training sessions on decision writing.
    In closing, I want to once again extend my sympathies to the family and friends of Marylène Levesque. I would like to say to them, to members of this committee and to the Canadian public that we take these incidents very seriously and that we are committed to the highest quality decision-making.

  (1545)  

    Thank you.

  (1550)  

     Thank you, Ms. Oades.
    Colleagues, I'm proposing that we just merge the two hours and not separate them as we would normally do, that we have at least three rounds, and that we reserve some time at the end to discuss, presumably in camera, where we go from here.
    With that, in the first round of six minutes each, we have Monsieur Paul-Hus, Mr. Lightbound, Madam Michaud and Mr. Harris.
    Monsieur Paul-Hus, welcome back to the committee.

[Translation]

    My first question is for you, Ms. Oades. It concerns the procedures. You touched on this issue in your presentation.
    I want to know whether the Parole Board followed the rules in place. For example, the investigation report doesn't propose that any recommendations be made to the Parole Board. Yet two of your board members, Janie Fortin and Joseph Lainé, had the authority to suspend Mr. Gallese's day parole and to request a re-assessment. They chose to keep an offender on day parole even though they were informed that he had committed at least three criminal acts against vulnerable women clients.
    Isn't this a breach of the policy manual?

[English]

    Thank you for that question.
    I would like to say that the board did follow the rules, and the board of investigation found that they followed the rules. In their decision-making, they take all information into consideration, not just one incident, not just one particular...whether it be an actuarial assessment score. They take everything they have that's relevant, that's available, and they make their decisions that way. That's how we make our decisions.

[Translation]

    My question is simple. You spoke in glowing terms about your procedures and the fact that everyone followed them. However, it has always been clear that, if Janie Fortin and Joseph Lainé had immediately suspended Eustachio Gallese's parole, Marylène Lévesque would still be alive today.
    Did they have the authority to immediately suspend his parole?

[English]

    Yes, and they did discuss that at the hearing itself. The parole officer and Mr. Gallese were advised that his parole could be revoked, actually, at that hearing, but I would say that it's pure speculation, because all of the incidents that led up—

[Translation]

    Pardon me, Ms. Oades, but I don't see any speculation. These are facts. This was part of their job.
    Another factor wasn't identified, namely, the psychological assessment. Mr. Gallese's psychological assessment dated back to June 2017 during his re-assessment in fall 2019, over two years later.
    Is this another failure on the part of the board members, who didn't request a more up-to-date assessment?

[English]

    I don't think that they would have been required to ask for an updated psychological assessment given the information that was provided at the time. All of the incidents, all of what happened after the parole hearing is when.... As the board of investigation has found, many of the indicators in terms of emotional dysregulation, etc., happened well after that September parole hearing.

[Translation]

    A report released last week puts all the blame on Ms. Kelly's team. I must remind you that your board members were appointed on a political basis. We mustn't forget this. Even though the parliamentary secretary doesn't want to hear about it, these are the facts. The purpose of the motion passed in the House is to shed light on the circumstances and the purging of board members in 2017, which led to new appointments. Our point is that the board members in place lacked the necessary expertise and experience. The fact that they failed to immediately suspend Mr. Gallese's parole and failed to notice that the reports weren't up to date are two examples that demonstrate this.
    Also, page 110 of the report talks about non-compliance. It refers to a significant disparity between the decision shared verbally with the offender at the hearing and the written decision with regard to the permissions granted to Mr. Gallese by the case management team.
    The Parole Board's legal mandate requires transparency in its work.
    Isn't there a lack of transparency here?

  (1555)  

[English]

     Absolutely, there is no lack of transparency. We have a decision registry that is open to all Canadians if they want to access any written decisions.
    What the board investigation found was that there was disparity between what happened in the hearing and the accuracy of how that was portrayed in the written decision. It lacked some of the.... It should have included more or it should have reflected that more accurately, but it had nothing to do with the events that followed. They did find that.
    That was a board of investigation finding. That's not my finding. The board of investigation found that they applied the risk assessment framework correctly, that they complied with the law and that they complied with all other policies, except for accurately reflecting in the written decision what was clearly evident in the hearing itself.
    Thank you, Mr. Paul-Hus.
    Mr. Lightbound, you have six minutes, please.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I want to thank Commissioner Kelly and Chairperson Oades for joining us today.
    First, I want to express my sympathies—

[English]

    I have a point of order, Mr. Chair.
    Before our colleague proceeds, since he is the parliamentary secretary to the public safety minister, I just want to clarify whether or not he has had any role with the department or the agencies on this report. I know, rightly or wrongly, there have been questions raised about the independence of the report, given that it has been undertaken by the Parole Board and Correctional Service Canada themselves. I think real independence as well as the perception of independence is crucial to our work here on this committee. It is crucial to the victims' families, to Canadians at large and, of course, to everybody involved in this system in order to have confidence in the process.
    I just wonder if there is any conflict of interest here, real or perceived, and whether he wants to take that into consideration before he proceeds with questions—or perhaps he could clarify.
    I don't know whether you are asking me for a ruling on this, but if it were up to me, the ruling would be that the member sits here as a member of the committee but also as a parliamentary secretary. His position is known to everyone. If there are some who perceive that to be a conflict of interest, so be it. However, it's not as if it were anything other than a public position as both parliamentary secretary and member of Parliament. I think it is up to members to declare their own conflicts of interest. Since the member hasn't declared any conflict of interest, and I'll give the member an opportunity to speak for himself, on the face of it, I don't see that as a valid objection to a member asking questions.
    Mr. Lightbound, do you wish to respond to Ms. Stubbs? If not, we can continue.

[Translation]

    I want to reassure my colleague that I had no direct or indirect involvement in the work of the board of investigation, which was co-chaired by two independent criminologists from both the Correctional Service and the Parole Board. However, I read the report, and I hope that all committee members did so as well.
    As the chair clearly stated, my role as parliamentary secretary is known to everyone. However, I had no involvement in the development of the report. Moreover, the two external co-chairs were always free to speak out publicly if they had any concerns or questions over the course of their study and investigation.
    First, I want to echo what the commissioner and the chairperson said. We must think of the victim's family and friends. This focus must guide our committee's proceedings today, beyond partisan considerations. I find it unfortunate that some politicians are trying to exploit a tragedy of this nature for political purposes. Our committee must shed light on what happened in January 2020 to Marylène Lévesque. The system clearly failed, and it mustn't happen again.
    My questions are mainly for Commissioner Kelly.
    The report refers to some confusion regarding the roles and responsibilities of the clinical workers at Maison Painchaud and the parole officers.
    Can you explain how there could have been confusion regarding the roles and responsibilities of these two groups? As you said, this model has been used in Quebec for 40 years.
    Clinical workers provided direct supervision. Why was there confusion regarding roles? The board of investigation recommended that the model no longer be used and that supervision activities be centralized within the Correctional Service. How will this practice prevent this type of confusion in the future?

  (1600)  

    Thank you for your question.
    Clinical workers in community residential facilities generally perform the same duties and have the same responsibilities as parole officers. However, the Correctional Service retains the authority and responsibility to make final decisions. The community residential facility's clinical worker was involved, but a Correctional Service liaison officer and a parole officer also handled the case. These officers are still responsible for quality control. Clearly, there were shortcomings in this area.
    While we wait to take further steps to address the situation, we've clarified the responsibilities and duties assigned to clinical workers and Correctional Service of Canada officers. Parole officer positions have been added in the area offices to ensure better quality control and increased oversight of community strategies. I've also instructed area directors to review a certain number of community strategies each month to ensure that the strategies are sound.
    Of course, by March 31, 2021, Maison Painchaud will no longer be involved in supervision. We'll then review the contracts of the seven other community residential facilities to ensure that the Correctional Service is responsible for supervising offenders in the community. That way, there will be only one community supervision model across the country.
    As I said, this community supervision model has been in place in Quebec for a long time. However, the tragic incident brought some things to light. A very small number of federal offenders, a total of 155, are being supervised by community residential facilities.
    Thank you.
    Mr. Chair, how much time do I have left?

[English]

     On the clock you have about a minute, but you got distracted for about half a minute, so you have a minute and a half.

[Translation]

    I have one last quick question for you, Commissioner Kelly.
    The report also refers to major shortcomings with respect to the corroboration of information with collateral contacts. How were these shortcomings key or decisive in this case? Based on the recommendations, how do you plan to ensure that the information that an offender provides to the Correctional Service is shared with an employer or family member? I want to hear your thoughts on this matter.
    Thank you for your question.
    I've worked as a probation officer and as a parole officer. Clearly, it's absolutely critical to corroborate what the offender says. There were some major shortcomings in this case.
    Here's what we mean by collateral contacts. If an offender has a job, we must contact the employer. If the offender is going to visit their family, we must contact the family to corroborate the information. If the offender is in a program, we must follow-up with a psychologist. This is critical. In this case, there were certainly some shortcomings.
    We'll develop a template, which will be added to our policy on community supervision, in order to list the specific elements that must be discussed, including the—

  (1605)  

[English]

    Unfortunately, we're going to have to leave it there.
    Madam Michaud, you have six minutes.

[Translation]

    My thoughts also go out to Ms. Lévesque's family and loved ones.
    We were anxiously awaiting this report. The report is extensive and it contains many elements. However, some questions remain unanswered.
    I want to address the three-stage process. First, the Correctional Service of Canada assesses an offender's risk of reoffending. The parole officer then makes a recommendation to the Parole Board of Canada. The board member ultimately makes a decision on the release of the offender. The board member is really the one who could have suspended the day parole.
    As you said, Ms. Kelly, we understand that there may have been shortcomings in the role played by the clinical workers at Maison Painchaud. We don't want to accuse anyone. We just want to make sure that this won't happen again. We want to know at what stage the error occurred.
    Were mistakes made at all three stages? First, should the Correctional Service of Canada have assessed the risk of reoffending differently? As the report says, it was known that the risk was high. Second, should a different recommendation have been made? Third, who made the ultimate decision to allow the offender to visit massage parlours?
    At what stages did an error occur? How can we ensure that this won't happen again?
    First, the community strategy was completely inappropriate. I've never seen anything like it in 37 years. As soon as I found out about it, we took steps. I ordered a nation-wide review of all the community strategies to ensure that there were no similar cases. The review didn't identify any such cases.
    Initially, the parole officer, the clinical worker, the Correctional Service of Canada liaison officer and a parole officer supervisor establish a community strategy. A recommendation is then sent to the Parole Board. The offender was on six months of day parole. After the six months, an assessment must be conducted to determine whether to grant an extension. The Correctional Service of Canada is responsible for this assessment.
    I'll ask my colleague Ms. Oades to provide more details regarding the Parole Board.

[English]

     Thank you, Commissioner Kelly.
    I'm not sure about the rest of the question, but when it comes to the Parole Board, in this case the March decision was from an in-person hearing. There were two board members, the parole officer from the institution and the offender. For the September one, it was for day parole continued. There were two board members plus the parole officer from, I believe, Maison Painchaud and the offender.
    They presented their case. They were very supportive. The offender was apparently doing very well. There were questions raised about the strategy relating to the massage parlours for sexual services. I'm not sure if any of you know this, but all three of us—Ms. Blanchet, Ms. Kelly and I—are former parole officers. We have never ever heard of anything like this ever happening before, certainly not within our careers. There was a pause in the hearing to discuss that. They came back. They wanted to know how this risk was going to be managed. He was told that under no circumstances was this to continue. The parole officer was not concerned and neither was the offender.
    Unfortunately, what no one knew at the time was that not only had he been given three approvals to go to a massage parlour for sexual purposes but in fact he had gone many, many times. However, no one was to know that. Certainly the parole officer didn't know. CSC didn't know. The board didn't know. That was information that came out only at the time he was sentenced.

  (1610)  

[Translation]

    Thank you.
    So, are we to understand that no one was aware, but that everyone was aware of the high risk of recidivism and that it was the Maison Painchaud clinical worker who—

[English]

    He wasn't a high risk to reoffend. I don't know where you're reading that.

[Translation]

    In fact, there is some evidence in the report that Gallese, given his history, was at high risk of recidivism and that he himself had said he was not ready to enter into relationships with women. However, he was still allowed to attend massage parlours for sexual purposes. Consequently, this permission can be questioned regardless of the offender's history. Having said that, I'll save that for another question.

[English]

    We'll have to leave it there. Thank you very much.
    Mr. Harris, you have six minutes, please.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Ms. Oades, you talk about the meeting on September 16, 2019, dealing with day parole. It was at this meeting that it was made known to the Parole Board members that essentially there were criminal offences—and they identified them as such—that had been committed by the parolee during the period from March until then. Was that made known to you?
    It certainly wasn't made known to me at the time. I don't have a button on all of—
    When would you have become aware of that? Was it when it became public after the later events and the death of Madame Levesque?
    Exactly.
    Your statement was that you and Ms. Kelly, having been parole officers, hadn't heard about this—and you were chair of the board—and you had never heard of anything like this happening in your career. When you didn't hear about this and you're the chair of the board, maybe there were a lot of things going on over the years that you might not be aware of.
     What weight can we give to your statement that this has never happened before in all of your years, in all of your career, and that this wasn't something that happened as a result of permission being granted to use the sexual services of women in that way?
    I won't speak for Ms. Kelly, but when we said that we had never seen anything like this in our careers, first, Ms. Kelly went across the country right after this to see if this had happened. In terms of our never seeing this happen, in our experiences we have never seen this as a community strategy to supervise offenders.
    I can accept that. In fact, before Ms. Kelly spoke, for example, I was reading her words carefully.
     She said, “I want to be clear with the committee that the community supervision strategy was completely inappropriate. CSC does not condone offenders seeking sexual services.” Then she said, “In my 37 years with CSC, I can firmly attest to the fact that this is not something that we, as an organization, endorse”. That's the policy, and clearly in this particular case that was not the practice.
     When it was identified by the Parole Board members, again it was said that, no, this is not our policy, yet the Parole Board members, in writing their report, said something to the parolee and to the parole officer, but they didn't put it in the report. I don't know what's in the report because it's all blacked out of the internal inquiry. There were some special conditions, but they didn't mention that.
     This seems to me to be a pretty special condition that it was not the policy of the Parole Board to do, yet the BOI said that it's not relevant to what happened afterwards. Wouldn't the actual caseworker be relying on the report in following up with this case?

  (1615)  

    Yes. The caseworker, the parole officer—
    No, there are two different things now. The parole officer is a sort of liaison person, but there's a caseworker instead.... The parole officer doesn't actually supervise the individual. In my understanding, the parole officer works for CSC. The caseworker is the contracted-out person. Am I wrong or am I right?
    I think you might have to get.... The person who was with the offender at the hearing was the person who supervised the offender. That person—
    No. You said it was the parole officer.
    I would call it a parole officer. That's why there is confusion with this whole.... Maybe the commissioner can come in and help me with this direct supervision model and who's doing what and who's who. The caseworker who came to the parole hearing with the offender was the person who was actively supervising that person. They worked for Maison Painchaud. It wasn't a CSC person or employee who was at that parole hearing.
     That's another issue, because of course the BOI did find that there was much confusion regarding the caseworkers' roles and responsibilities on the file at both CSC and Maison Painchaud, the CRF. Yes, there was a lot of confusion there, but part of the confusion would be that the report itself did not contain this prohibition of using sexual services at what was called, euphemistically, a massage parlour.
    Yes, and I would counter that with.... The board investigation did say that, in the hearing itself, it was very explicit that it wasn't in the written report but that it was covered through the additional conditions the Parole Board attached to his condition of release.
    We didn't see those. They were blacked out in the report, so what confidence can we have that this is all okay? It's not an independent investigation by someone with no connection to this whole organization.
    I'm struggling here with the fact that this is raised. This is not in the report. It's not something that.... They didn't identify it as something that contributed to the result, but that's a factual finding that may or may not be in keeping with all of the facts that we know of, and we don't know very many—
    Mr. Harris, we have to leave it there, unfortunately.
    We'll get back to it later. Thanks.
    The second round is a five-minute round. I believe Ms. Stubbs has five minutes and Mr. Iacono, Madam Michaud and Mr. Harris.
    I believe Mr. Motz is next and then Madam Lambropoulos.
    Our colleague Shannon is having some connectivity issues.
    I first of all want to say that my thoughts are with the family and friends of Ms. Levesque. We know that this horrible tragedy is yet another example and a sad reality of a soft-on-crime approach. We all know that this tragedy was preventable. Witnesses, your agencies, granted this offender day parole and even allowed him to be alone with women while released on that parole, despite his significant violent history against women and continued concerns from CSC.
    You note that the report was to be transparent, accountable and responsible in your duty to Canadians in keeping people safe from offenders. To do this, you held a closed-door internal review of the case and placed the blame on an outside organization in Quebec and select front-line workers. It appears that senior management from both of your agencies, CSC and the Parole Board, and the Minister of Public Safety, quite honestly, are somewhat absolved from any responsibility.
    Ms. Oades, you tell Canadians that they can trust the decisions of the Parole Board despite a series of failures and poor decisions, in this case leading to the death of a young woman. Your agency contributes to a report that fails to hold itself, the Parole Board, accountable for this decision. We all know that Canadians distrust the Parole Board, and this report does nothing to restore that trust. When you don't take ownership of your decisions, it certainly doesn't help.
    Ms. Oades, you know this, but just so that we're all clear, the Parole Board is exclusively responsible for the decisions of parole. Section 107 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act states that the board has “exclusive jurisdiction and absolute discretion” to grant parole to an offender, terminate or revoke the parole or statutory release of an offender, and cancel a decision to grant parole to an offender or cancel the suspension of that parole. Given that fact, can you explain how the Parole Board can be solely responsible for the release of offenders and the conditions of their release, yet not be responsible for your decisions, as in this case?

  (1620)  

    We are responsible for all of our decisions. We are accountable for all of our decisions. This board of investigation was independent. I have never met the two co-chairs other than to have read their CVs. They were assisted by people in CSC and at the board, because any inquiry or investigation—for example, the Daubney report, “Taking Responsibility”—has to have people to help these independent chairs find the information they want and to explain how things work. So I beg to differ. It was an independent report.
    The findings were such that the board members who made these two decisions, the March and September decisions, followed law and policy, and appropriately applied the risk assessment framework. I'm not sure what else you need to know. These aren't my findings. These are findings from independent people.
     I appreciate that. You're saying just now, and the report says, that the appropriate process was followed by the Parole Board members. The training of the Parole Board members was adequate. No changes to policies or laws are required. So if the laws are okay, if the rules are okay and if they were followed by the board members, then there is only one variable left, and that is that the decision-makers themselves made a mistake.
    It seems clear they did not have additional information that was lacking from the files before making a decision, but that certainly doesn't reassure Canadians that the Parole Board's decision will be any different moving forward.
    This report says—
    They had all—
    Let me finish, please. You can answer my question then.
    It's noted in your report that there were areas in this case that had missing or not enough information to make appropriate, informed decisions, so was there anything preventing the Parole Board members who actually heard this case from seeking further information in order to make a better, more informed decision before releasing this offender?
    I don't know where—
    Unfortunately, Ms. Oades, Mr. Motz has left you about eight seconds to answer that question, so you'll have to work it in somewhere else.
     They had all the information they needed.
    Okay, I am going on to Mr. Iacono, for five minutes, please.
    Apparently he got disconnected, Chair. Maybe you want to move on to Emmanuella.
    Emmanuella, are you ready?

[Translation]

    I want to thank the witnesses for their testimony today.
    Before asking my questions, I would like to offer my condolences to the family and loved ones of Ms. Marylène Levesque.
    Ms. Kelly, you said that it is extremely rare for such an event to occur, that is for an offender on day parole to commit a violent act like the one on January 22, 2020. However, even one case like that is one too many. I think everyone agrees on that.
    I am very pleased that the decision to take steps to adopt a single community supervision model for federal offenders in Canada has been made, but, as a Quebecker, I am curious as to why the Quebec model in this regard differed from the model adopted in the rest of Canada up to that time.
    Why did an event like that one have to happen before we decided to standardize this?
    Why haven't all federal offenders been treated the same way?

  (1625)  

     Thank you for your question.
    The Quebec model has been in place for an extremely long time. We are talking about more than 40 years. I'm in my 38th year at the Correctional Service of Canada, and since my arrival, direct supervision was done by some community residential centres in Quebec, that is, eight centres out of 48, and it worked. However, it is obvious that what happened revealed some things.
     Maison Painchaud currently houses 14 offenders. There are approximately 150 others. This is a small number. As commissioner, I decided that a single model of community supervision for federal offenders was the best approach to standardizing practices and ensuring accountability. That is why we are taking the necessary steps. By March 31, 2021, Maison Painchaud will no longer supervise offenders. After that, we will engage our partners. Our goal is to make supervision the responsibility of the Correctional Service of Canada.
    Why do you think this event took place?
    In response to a question from Ms. Michaud, Ms. Oades said that this offender had visited massage parlours on several occasions when it had not been recommended that he be given this right.
    Why did this kind of thing happen? At what level was this mistake made?
    First, as I have said several times, the community strategy was unacceptable and should never have been in place. It was inappropriate and I have been clear about this within the organization. That is why we have done a review of all community strategies nationally. There have been some gaps in supervision and our action plan includes concrete measures to address these. We want to ensure public safety and we want to ensure that such a tragic event never happens again.
    Contact with third parties was certainly a factor. We need to corroborate the facts that the offender gives us. We're going to improve case conferencing so that parole officers and their supervisors discuss key elements when an offender is under supervision in the community. Risk always needs to be reassessed, and when further intervention is required, we do it, and if we need to change the way we manage risk, we make the change.
    I think the changes we will make will improve community-based supervision.
    Thank you, Ms. Kelly.

[English]

     Thank you, Madam Lambropoulos.
    Before I ask Madam Michaud to begin her two and a half minutes, am I to assume that Ms. Stubbs is not going to be available to ask questions in this round?
    I am still having some off-and-on issues with a warning that keeps warning me that I might be disconnected at any time.
    Okay. We'll go to you unless you tell us otherwise.
    Thanks.
    Madam Michaud, you have two and a half minutes, please.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    I am going to quote a few elements from the report that I think are important.
The Board of Investigation (BOI) found that there were many pre-incident indicators of disorganization in Gallese's emotional management around November 6, 2019, approximately 78 days before the incident under investigation.
[...]
The BOI noted that several of these pre-incident indicators were similar to those demonstrated by Gallese in the months leading up to his index offence—the murder of his then-spouse on October 21, 2004—and were directly related to his offence cycle.
[...]
The BOI believes that Gallese's history of domestic violence was a contributing risk factor in the January 22, 2020 incident and was known to his case management team.
    The report makes several recommendations to the Correctional Service of Canada, but none to the Parole Board of Canada.
    Ms. Oades, do you find that the facts demonstrate that the Parole Board of Canada was beyond reproach throughout this case?

  (1630)  

[English]

    Thank you.
    What probably the timelines in the redacted report don't indicate is that many of those precursor emotional dysregulations happened well after the September hearing. At the time of the September hearing, none of those were an issue. They didn't come to light because they weren't evident at that time. The offender was apparently, according to the hearing and the parole officer of the Maison Painchaud, just to be clear, a person who was with the offender at the parole hearing, was doing extremely well, had a new job, etc. All of those events that started to derail this offender though emotional dysregulation, disorientation, etc., happened well after that September hearing.
    Thank you, Madam Michaud.
    Mr. Harris, you have two and a half minutes.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Commissioner Kelly, I want to refer you to the references in the report. The executive summary, on page 6, says that the caseworkers at the CRF didn't receive the same training as CSC provides its parole officers, didn't benefit from the guidance or clinical supervision provided by parole officer supervisors, and that “despite the contract agreement between the two organizations, there was much confusion regarding the caseworkers' roles and responsibilities on the file”, both at CSC and at Maison Painchaud.
    Does the CSC or do you take any responsibility for that failure?
     In terms of the training, I believe what the report says is that, first of all, academic qualifications were met. In terms of the training, the CSC people had received the CSC training, and the clinical caseworker had received the training from Maison Painchaud.
    Again, the way it works is that a clinical caseworker, at Maison Painchaud in this case, supervises the offender. However, CSC had a liaison officer as well, who worked with that caseworker, and what we call a parole officer responsible for supervising—
    It sounds like the confusion we're experiencing here. Was it the caseworker who was at the parole hearing or was it the supervisor?
    It was the caseworker.
    They were referred to as a parole officer, but they are not a parole officer.
    It was a clinical caseworker who was at the parole hearing. However, CSC has a responsibility to do quality control and to document as well.
    You didn't say that you accepted responsibility for the confusion.
    The report indicates as well that there was inadequate or a lack of any domestic violence training or intimate partner violence training, on both sides of this. Why would that be left out of the training of people who are dealing with individuals such as Mr. Gallese? There must have been many more over the course of the history of the Parole Board and the services being provided by the Correctional Service of Canada. Why would that be something only now being discovered as lacking?

  (1635)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Chair, unfortunately, we can no longer hear the interpretation.

[English]

    I'll just speak so that the translation might add it in.
    You're already over time, Jack.
    If it wasn't translated, if Madam Michaud was unable to hear what I said, I should be able to repeat it so that the translator can adequately deal with it.
    How much did you actually miss, Madam Michaud?

[Translation]

    Just about everything.
    We also did not get the interpretation of Ms. Oades' previous intervention.

[English]

    I don't know, Chair. I think the NDP and the Bloc are in cahoots to have Jack just ask more questions.
    Voices: Oh, oh!
    You don't have to wind Jack up to get questions. I can tell you that.
    I'll just repeat the final part.
    I'm sorry, Madam Michaud, if you missed the earlier part. I was questioning whether the report indicates that there was a lack of training in intimate partner violence and a lack of any current domestic violence training available to the CSC individuals as well. That seems to me to be a major lack. I was asking Madam Commissioner Kelly if she would say why that would only now be discovered.
    Just before I give Madam Kelly 30 seconds to answer that, I just want to clarify with Madam Michaud that translation came through.

[Translation]

    Yes, it's working.

[English]

    Good.
    Madam Kelly, you have 30 seconds. Go ahead, please.
    Very quickly, I just want to clarify that, because of the confusion about responsibilities, we're changing the model to have a uniform model across Canada.
    In terms of the training, the parole officers get quite rigorous training. There's the 50-hour online training. There's a three-week in-class training. The mandatory intimate partner violence training is actually going to complement the current training that they get on spousal assault risk assessment. The board determined that more was needed, and this is why we are implementing this mandatory intimate partner violence training.
    Okay. Thank you.
    With that, I understand, Ms. Stubbs, that you have stabilized. You have five minutes. Go ahead, please.
     Thanks, Mr. Chair. I will give this a whirl and if I start going in slow motion or acting erratically, or if I stop completely, chalk it up to the rural Internet out here in rural Alberta.
    I want to touch on some of the issues my colleague from Medicine Hat started to get into relative to independence and public confidence in the reporting. There are a couple of things that could illuminate Canadians who might be wondering. I wonder if one or both of the witnesses could talk us through how this came to be. Page 2 states that the motive for a national joint investigation was to demonstrate “accountability, responsibility and transparency”. I would say there are rational and reasonable concerns being raised with a primarily internal investigation on those counts.
    Did the minister direct the creation of these internal investigations, or was that driven by the agencies?
    I can answer that. It was not directed to the board. We are an independent administrative tribunal, so the minister actually doesn't have the ability to direct. This is basically pro forma. Unfortunately there is zero risk. These incidents have happened before, very rarely. The last time we did a joint board of investigation with the Correctional Service of Canada was back in maybe 2008 or 2009.

  (1640)  

    Thank you, Sylvie.
    It was 2012, so that's eight or nine years ago. The one before that was the murder of Louise Pargeter, a CSC parole officer. These aren't directed. I suppose the commissioner could be directed, but these are things.... When something goes wrong, we want to find out what's going on and see if there are things we can do to improve. With the last one, in 2012, there were no recommendations for the board. The previous time, there were a bunch of recommendations for the board on where we had to make some improvements in our policy.
    We try to get people who are somewhat knowledgeable about our business and who can provide some independent advice on where things went wrong and where there are areas we can improve.
    Thank you.
    You are right that the transparency of the findings, recommendations and results is critical. When the joint board first started its investigation, the public safety minister said, “In the interests of transparency and justice for Ms. Levesque's family we have also committed to making the findings and any recommendations public”. Much of this report is redacted currently, so how does that serve the aim of transparency that both you and the Minister of Public Safety have rightfully cited? Will there be any adjustments made to the amount of information that has been redacted?
    I had the privilege of reading both the redacted and the non-redacted versions. They are redacted according to ATIP requirements. We can't tell them not to put this or that in. They have to meet access to information and privacy requirements with regard to things like the personal information and personal indicators they include. Unfortunately, that's just the law and the policy.
    The correctional investigator has been critical of both these organizations in a number of reports on a number of situations, and repeatedly raises this issue of transparency and accountability. If there are any last comments from the witnesses about what exactly they propose in terms of making recommendations public and ensuring the confidence of all Canadians in this process, they would be welcome.
    You're talking about the correctional investigator. The correctional investigator has absolutely nothing in his mandate about looking into the Parole Board of Canada because we are an administrative tribunal. Maybe his comments were directed towards the Correctional Service of Canada. I've certainly never seen anything from him at the board.
     Okay. Unfortunately, we're going to have to leave it there.
    Mr. Iacono, you have five minutes, please.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'm sorry, I had connection problems earlier.
    Hello, Ms. Kelly and Ms. Oades. Thank you for being here today. Before I begin, I would like to once again offer my condolences to the family of Marylène Levesque.
    Madam Commissioner, can you summarize in a few words the steps that have already been taken to ensure that the breaches that took place in this case do not recur, as well as what still needs to be improved?
     Thank you for your question. The answer could be long.
    I will first talk about the immediate steps that have been taken. Staff members involved in this tragedy have been reassigned and a joint board of inquiry has been established to shed light on all the circumstances surrounding this case. As for the strategy, I repeat that it was inappropriate. That is why we conducted a nationwide review to ensure that all strategies were sound, appropriate and consistent with policy. This review did not reveal any similar cases elsewhere. I have also directed the regional deputy commissioners to speak to their teams to reinforce appropriate community strategies and reiterate the importance of quality control.
    We have also clarified the responsibilities and tasks assigned to clinical staff in community residential centres and to Correctional Service of Canada liaison officers. This answers a question that was asked earlier. In addition, we have added parole officer management positions in the area offices, again to ensure better quality control of community strategies. In addition, we have directed area directors to audit a number of community strategies on a monthly basis. These changes were made immediately after the event.
    Naturally, we also adopted an action plan for information gathering, third-party contacts, case conferencing, training, and changing the community monitoring model. These are all steps that we will take to improve community-based monitoring.

  (1645)  

    Fine.
    The Correctional Service of Canada has announced that it is revising its directive on information collection to provide a clear definition of what constitutes a serious offence and to strengthen its monitoring tools and practices.
    Are you able to confirm that this new definition has been implemented?
     Next, could you share with us the new monitoring practices that have been implemented?
    Thank you for your question.
    With respect to information collection, first, following the offender's admission to federal custody in 2006, the committee noted that the service had requested and obtained documents from the judge and Crown attorney, police reports and criminal records, but that information regarding a previous serious offence was missing. We had the police report, but we should also have had the trial transcript.
     With respect to the collection of information, we are revising the commissioner's directive to clearly define what constitutes a serious offence for the purpose of collecting information. We will clarify the types of documents that are required with respect to each offender's history that meet the definition, and we will put in place a formal tracking mechanism that will be integrated into our Offender Management System. This mechanism will provide reminders to our parole officers to ensure that we have all relevant documents on file. In fact, we are not waiting. I have already spoken to the regional deputy commissioners to ensure that they are putting interim measures in place.
    In terms of supervision, this includes third party contacts and case conferences. This is going to be strengthened, and again, we are not waiting. I've asked all of the regional deputy commissioners to talk to their teams to immediately strengthen the case conferences between parole officers and their supervisors, where parole officers and supervisors have to discuss third-party contact and how offenders are progressing in the community and then decide whether or not to reassess the risk that offenders pose.

[English]

     Thank you, Mr. Iacono. We're going to have to leave it there.
    Before I call on Mr. Paul-Hus for the beginning of the third round, I take it that the third round will end roughly around 5:15. The clerk advises me that for us to go in camera it is going to take 10 or 15 minutes all by itself, which makes the process a little silly. I still propose that we have an informal meeting amongst ourselves for the last five or 10 minutes so that we can figure out, as a committee, where we're going with this and other things.

[Translation]

    Mr. Paul-Hus, you have the floor for five minutes.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Ms. Oades, in response to a question from Ms. Michaud, you said that there was no high risk of recidivism. How can you say that? Why do you deny that?
    On page 38 of the investigation report, it states that “many of these pre-incident indicators were similar to those demonstrated by Gallese in the months leading up to his index offence—the murder of his then-spouse on October 21, 2004—and were directly related to his offence cycle.”
    Why didn't commissioners Lainé and Fortin see these signs? Why were they exonerated from blame in the investigation?

  (1650)  

[English]

    Thank you.
    The emotional dysregulation that occurred after the September hearing.... Let me be clear on that. He did not come into that parole hearing showing any kind of emotional deterioration. As a matter of fact, all points were that he was doing extremely well.
    What I have read is that the overall assessment from the actuarial was that he was a low to moderate risk, but I have never seen anything that said he was high risk, at least not at the point of that September decision.

[Translation]

    I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I know that, Ms. Oades. I think you are misleading the committee. In your own guidelines, it is clear that when someone is sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, as in the case of Mr. Gallese, it is imperative that a psychiatric and psychological assessment be repeated when more than two years have passed.
    How can you say that this offender, who is also a murderer, was doing well when he was assessed more than two years previous?
    When the commissioners, who had little or no experience, made this decision, what level of management was informed? Was anyone higher up in the hierarchy informed of Mr. Gallese's case?

[English]

    To my knowledge—and I will get back to this committee if it's not right—at the March decision, his original parole decision, there was all of that information, and it was up to date. Six months later, it would have still been up to date.

[Translation]

    Let's talk about information. We know that Mr. Gallese was intoxicated on the night of the murder. One of his parole conditions prohibited him from consuming alcohol. The board allowed him to work in a restaurant. Do you think that's normal?

[English]

    If you're asking me, we don't supervise him. It would be up to the Correctional Service of Canada, which is supervising, to ensure those conditions are managed.

[Translation]

    In view of the conditions set by the commissioners, in particular the one forbidding him to consume alcohol, do you find it normal that they agreed to let him work in a restaurant?

[English]

    I'm not sure if I'm losing something in the translation, but the conditions that are imposed by Parole Board members must obviously be related to his criminological risk profile. If they have a drug issue contributing to their original indexed crime, then one would normally have “do not consume drugs or alcohol” if that were the case, but in terms of working in a restaurant—

[Translation]

    I'm fine. Thank you, Ms. Oades.
    I don't have a lot of time left and I have one last question for Ms. Kelly.
    You say that the co-chairs of the internal inquiry were independent. Can you, then, explain to me how it is that Ms. Dianne Valcourt, one of the two co-chairs, has been working for the Correctional Service of Canada since 2008?

[English]

     Be very quick, please.

[Translation]

    Both co-chairs were independent of the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada.
    What is Ms. Valcourt's role?

[English]

    We're going to have to, unfortunately, leave it there.
    Madame Damoff, you have five minutes. Go ahead, please.
    Thank you, Chair.
    This was a horrible tragedy that occurred, and I'm glad, Ms. Kelly and Ms. Oades, that you are sharing with us the recommendations.
    I've listened throughout this whole meeting while the Conservative members have called this an internal review—it was not an internal review; it was external—and while they've questioned the independence of the review. These were two independent investigators who wrote the report. All of their questions seemed to be directed at the Parole Board. Because they didn't get the recommendations they were hoping for, they're now questioning the report. I have a real problem with that, about transparency and about independence.
     I'm just going to read from the report:
The [board of investigation] did not find any factors that are relevant to understanding the incident related to [the Parole Board of Canada] operations. The [board of investigation] found that the Board members who made the conditional release decisions [in] March...and September...met all of the [Parole Board of Canada] training requirements and had the level of knowledge required to perform their tasks. The [board of investigation] believes that the [Parole Board of Canada] training plan for new Board members was well structured and complete.
    I just wanted to get that on the record.
     Ms. Oades, I appreciate your patience in defending against allegations that were made and that were simply not true.
    My question, which is on training, is actually for Ms. Kelly. One recommendation is that there be intimate partner domestic violence training. I'm wondering if you would consider adding to that training on coercive control. As you know, that's very different from intimate partner violence training. I think it would be very helpful if you would consider including that in the training the parole officers are receiving.

  (1655)  

    I'm making note of this.
    Okay, so I'll take that as a “Yes, I'll look into it.” Thank you.
    I'm going to turn it over to Ms. Khera.
    Thank you, Pam.
     Thank you to both of our witnesses for being here.
    Before I begin, I want to join my colleagues in giving my sincere condolences to the family members of Ms. Levesque.
    I want to talk a bit about community supervision for a moment. Ms. Kelly, I know CSC is going to work to ensure that the model that was in place at the time of the murder will be changed so that CSC has complete responsibility for inmates in the community.
    In the recent departmental results report for CSC, we saw the breakdown of funds allocated to your agency for community supervision versus for those who are incarcerated. The rate of inmates being released into the community has increased. Has the funding for community supervision kept pace with this increase?
    Yes, the community expenditures have increased, from 10% in 2014-15 to over 11% in 2019-20.
    The other thing that's important to know is that in terms of parole officers, we use a formula. I think I spoke about that the last time I appeared before the committee. It's called the community parole officer resource formula, and it determines how many parole officers we require. It takes into account the time they're available for work, the number of case management reports they must complete, and the supervision activities. In there is the frequency of contact. That depends on the type of offender. Some offenders are seen eight times a month; some are seen four times a month. It depends, so that's taken into consideration, as is the travel they need to do to meet with the offenders. This is reviewed each year. The unions are also part of that review—USJE.
    The numbers have increased, yes.
     Thank you.
    Mr. Chair, how much time do I have?
    You have about 20 seconds.
    Thank you.
    You'll pass, okay.
    Ms. Oades, are you reconnected? It looks like the lights went out on you.
    Yes, I was working in the dark there for a couple of seconds. All is good now.
    Okay. Well, so do the rest of us.
    Madame Michaud, you have two and a half minutes, please.

[Translation]

     Thank you, Mr. Chair.
     Ms. Kelly, I would like to refer to the end of your statement, where you said that you were responsible for following due process and properly reviewing the circumstances specific to the employees directly involved in the supervision and oversight of this case; you added that the disciplinary process would help you determine if any additional accountability measures would be required.
     I'm a little confused about the word “additional”. Are we to understand that the removal of supervision at Maison Painchaud is a measure of accountability that has been put in place? If not, I wonder about this disciplinary process. How is it being done? How long will it take? What accountability measures may be required?

  (1700)  

    Thank you for the question.
    Before launching disciplinary investigations, we waited until the criminal investigation was complete and the board of inquiry had completed its review, to get a complete picture of the circumstances. We assigned the disciplinary investigations to a person external to the Correctional Service of Canada and to a retired person who had been a member of the service's management. Notices have already been given to the employees involved. These individuals will look at the context and chronology of events and then submit a report. It is expected that the report will be submitted in a little over a month.
    Various accountability measures can be taken. Of course, there is reprimand and suspension, and this can go as far as dismissal.
    Thank you for the clarifications.
    Thank you, Ms. Michaud.

[English]

    Mr. Harris, you have two and a half minutes. Before I ask Mr. Harris, I don't know who the next Conservative or the next Liberal is, so if you could, indicate to the clerk who will be asking the next two questions. Then I think we'll bring it to a close at that point.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Of course, my heart pains for Madame Levesque and what happened to her. Her family and friends must be going through an awful lot just hearing about this again today.
    Having said that, I'd like to ask Commissioner Kelly.... You were referring to all the documents that are supposed to be in the hands of CSC at the time of obtaining a prisoner, an offender in the federal corrections services. You said that you didn't have access to serious previous crimes that have been committed. Surely something as basic as the criminal record of an offender would be available to CSC. If not, it would be found pretty quickly.
    Absolutely, we do request police reports, Crown documents, judges' comments. In this particular case, my understanding is that it was a historical offence. Although we had the police report, what was missing and what they thought was important was the trial transcript. What they recommended is that we define what a serious offence is in the context of historical serious offences, and then what types of documents are required for those specific cases. This is what we're going to do.
    That sounds very confusing. A criminal record would list the crimes that a person has committed, and surely would be before the courts and would be available to CSC. If it wasn't there, obviously in considering what you're dealing with, you'd need to know that. I'm at a loss that you're not saying, “Yes, we do need the criminal records, and we get them.” Does that happen or does it not?
    Yes, we had the criminal record and we had the police report, but what they found we didn't have was the trial transcript. It would have helped to have that. That's why they made the recommendation. That's why we're going to define “serious”, as well as have a list of documents that are required, and then establish a formal BF mechanism so that there's follow-up until the information is obtained or until it's in writing that it's unavailable.
     Thank you, Mr. Harris.
    Madame Stubbs, you have five minutes, please.

  (1705)  

    Thanks, Chair. I have just a couple of questions. Then I think I'll turn it over to one of my colleagues.
    I want to start by following up on the end of the questioning from my colleague Pierre Paul-Hus.
     There are concerns about independence from the Correctional Service of Canada in terms of the board members who were involved in constructing the report because of the evidence, of course, that one of the co-chairs did contract work—and we're assuming not volunteer and unpaid contract work—for the Correctional Service of Canada in 2013. That was for “professional services”, in contract number 2024594, to be specific. I'd certainly welcome any follow-up information with regard to this, but that would be why these questions about independence, and therefore public confidence in the results, are being asked.
    What seems really obvious to me is that there is a lack of information getting from one side to another for people to be able to make the best possible decisions with the best possible information. If either one of our witnesses would be game to give us a solution in terms of whether there is any legal remedy.... I'm assuming it's the case that we all agree this was a high-risk offender and this situation was unacceptable and resulted in a woman's death. We all, I'm assuming, share the same objective, which is that we want to stop that from happening. It's probably the case that if everybody had had all the information available to them, they may have made a different decision. Are there any legal remedies that could be proposed or implemented to fix that gap? Or, if there are resource issues, what can be done to fix them?
    Also, on the issue of public notification, I wonder if there was any public notification about this release or if there was any legislation or regulations relative to public notification that either were or weren't followed. If that's totally irrelevant, do the witnesses have any suggestions for what could be a federal law to mandate public notification in this sort of situation?
    I don't mind starting with that. These are some good questions.
    I think the last thing people want to see—and it happens very often in the world of criminal justice—is that we're going to change the law because of one person or one incident. It's not a good way to make policy, and it's not a good way to make law, but you certainly need to look at whether there are in fact underlying issues that then would make a case.
    I can't think of anything at this point. I think that if this were happening a lot we'd have to give ourselves some serious thought about what we're doing and how we're doing it, but given our success rates and given the professionalism of parole officers, who for the most part do excellent supervision of offenders, I think this was just one of those really, really bad, sad, tragic cases where so much fell through the cracks on the supervision side.
    We administer the law. We don't make the law. I can't think of anything that would have helped this case from a legal perspective, at least for the Parole Board. I'm not sure about the commissioner, but from my perspective, you need to think about these cases. You need to really look into them. I think they've done that, but I can't imagine coming up with some kind of law where I don't see anything systemic.
    For me, I would say again that this was an absolutely tragic incident. It's not something you ever want to see, but I believe that our action plan and the measures we're going to put into place are actually going to lead to strengthened community supervision. The fact that we're going to one single model of community supervision for federal offenders in Canada is also going to be an important change.

  (1710)  

     Thank you, Mrs. Stubbs.
    I believe it's Ms. Damoff for five minutes.
    Thank you, Chair.
    Someone who did contract work seven years ago I would hardly qualify as an employee of the Correctional Service of Canada. I'm wondering if either of you, or both, could perhaps comment on the qualifications of the folks who did this investigation.
    I can say that both individuals, who were external to CSC, are criminologists. They had support from a national investigator from CSC who is a former area director, as well as another person from CSC who was an assistant warden in operations. The board did look at the case preparation leading to the offender's release into the community. There was also one person from the Parole Board. The chairperson can speak to that.
     Yes, I did receive their CVs. Obviously, they're very distinguished in terms of their education. They're both criminologists. They're teachers, professors in criminology. They had a good understanding, I think, of our business, although you don't want anyone who's overly immersed in our work, and they weren't. One Parole Board employee was part of that team.
    I don't want to put words in your mouth, but both of you said there was someone from CSC and the Parole Board. I'm assuming you needed that in order for them to have access to current policies and to be able to provide information, but they were not the ones who were writing the recommendations. Is that correct? The recommendations were done by the two independent individuals you're talking about.
    That's right. They were there to provide support to the external members. Both co-chairs, and I want to insist on this, were not staff of CSC or of PBC.
    Ms. Oades, on the process that was put in place for this report, how did it differ? You mentioned that there was one done in 2012. The other one was maybe 2006 or 2008. Was the process of getting this report the same, or did it differ in terms of the individuals chosen to write the report? Do you know?
    I don't know. I was in another place in 2012, so I wouldn't know. I would assume that it was very similar to what occurred over this investigation.
    Ms. Kelly, one thing that you're changing is the model that's used in the province of Quebec. That model has been in place for 40 years. Some have spoken quite highly of the model that's been used. I understand why you're making changes. It was a recommendation that was made. I wonder if you could just speak to the fact that this model has worked well for 40 years and this was the exception, not the rule, for the way in which offenders were handled in the province of Quebec.
    Absolutely. Yes, this model has been in place for a long time. Although we're changing the model, we're removing only the element of community supervision. There is no question that we can't fulfill our mandate alone. We rely on our partnerships. We have very strong partnerships in Quebec. Our community residential facilities in Quebec, just as in the rest of the country, will continue to provide offenders with accommodation and support. That's vital to the successful reintegration of the offenders.
    Thank you.
    I think that's my time, Chair.
    It is, Madame Damoff. Thank you.
    On behalf of the committee, I want to thank both of you for coming before the committee on such short notice. We appreciate your responsiveness. These are extremely difficult circumstances. We all share in the difficulty of this tragedy. If there's something to be recommended, I'm sure we'll try to circle in on it.
    With that, colleagues, I'm proposing that we suspend for two minutes and allow our witnesses to leave the meeting. Then we'll have a brief discussion—public, bear in mind—about what you want the clerk and me to try to organize for Wednesday.
    With that, we're suspended. Thank you.

  (1710)  


  (1715)  

     Colleagues, we have a Wednesday open. What is it you wish us to do with Wednesday?
    Pam.
    Thanks, Chair. I would like to suggest, now that we've heard from the Parole Board and CSC on this final report, that we consider this study closed and that we start the report on Ms. Levesque.
    Given that the House just today passed a unanimous motion to look at far-right extremism and online hate, I'm wondering if we could agree to move forward on Joël Lightbound's motion, which the committee accepted, to do a study. It is very similar to the motion that was passed in the House today. It's somewhat different, but I think that, depending on the witnesses we would call, it would be completely in line with the unanimous motion today. It deals with growing online hate groups, in particular those for white nationalism and supremacy, which have increased in size and polarization, and with how best to respond to them.
    If colleagues would agree, I think we could perhaps start that study on Wednesday.
    Is there reaction?
    Jack.
    Chair, before we consider the Levesque issue closed, I'd like to hear from those who proposed that study—Mr. Paul-Hus, and I know Madame Michaud was very interested in proceeding with that—as to whether there are any witnesses they want to hear from before we consider that closed. I'd defer to them on that.
    Pam, was there more than one motion today? I know that Jagmeet Singh got up with a motion on the Proud Boys and others. Is that the one?

  (1720)  

    That's the one, Jack.
    That's the one we're talking about, okay. I haven't seen the exact wording. I heard part of it in the House.
    I heard it, Jack. I don't have the exact wording in front of me. I know that certainly on our side, we think there's even more urgency to look at this issue.
    I think Joël's motion was well worded. If it needs to be amended somewhat to expand it, I think we could perhaps look at doing that. It is about the online hate groups, white nationalism and supremacy, so I think it would allow us to look at what the motion in the House was about without even changing it. I'd certainly be open to that.
    That was adopted, I take it.
    It was. We voted in favour of it.
    I'm sensing some appetite for that, but I want to give Kristina an opportunity to say what she wants. I don't see Pierre here, but I want to hear from Kristina.

[Translation]

     Thank you.
    Indeed, Mr. Paul-Hus is no longer there. So I don't know what the Conservatives think. I would agree to close the discussion on the Marylène Levesque file and start discussing the report.
    From another perspective, while the motion adopted today is very important, as is Mr. Lightbound's motion, the emergency motion that was tabled a few weeks ago by the Conservatives is very relevant and must be considered. It deals with vaccines and border measures. The motion I tabled on border management during a pandemic may be more appropriate than the emergency motion tabled by the Conservatives. I don't know.
    Border measures are long in coming, so travellers continue to have few restrictions. This would be a good time to look at this matter, and then we could look at the issue of online hate. I look forward to studying that.
    We could start by discussing the border management motion. I don't know what the Conservatives think about that.

[English]

    Glen, were you waving your hand?
    I'll let Shannon go first, and then I'd like to follow up, please.
    Okay.
    Shannon, go ahead.
     Thanks, Chair.
    I agree with my colleague about the concerns and the pressing issues around the motion in the House, but I would suggest that before we commit the mistake that it seems committees, bureaucracies and governments always commit by moving on before we actually finish off what is also important work, we should in fact turn our attention to concluding our report and our recommendations relative to the study on the RCMP. I think we probably should also have a conversation, as the chair and I have previously, about whether or not we want to include recommendations related to the Bastarache report, either under the umbrella of our main report or perhaps as a side effort.
    Second, on behalf of the Conservatives and on behalf of Pierre Paul-Hus, who has gone on to finish his House duty, and as the co-initiator of the study of Levesque, I will say that there are indeed outstanding Conservative witnesses for the Levesque study. I don't have that list right in front of me, but I think the clerk does.
    I would say this in terms of the order in which we should proceed: At the very least, we should finish with those remaining witnesses for Levesque, and then we should aim to complete our report and recommendations on the RCMP and, concurrent with or in addition to that, make a decision about whether or not we as a committee are going to address the Bastarache report, either in a separate report or in a section underneath that larger report on the RCMP.
    Before I ask the next person, I will note that the English section of the report has been done. There are 96 recommendations. It's still in translation—and the clerk will correct me if I'm wrong—but I think it will not be available to us until February 11. That sticks in my mind for some reason or another.
     Is that correct, Mark?
    It will be ready that week, but it's a break week, so the committee will be able to meet on it the following week.

  (1725)  

    Okay.
    On other witnesses on the Levesque report, are we talking about lots of witnesses, a few witnesses, or no witnesses? There doesn't seem to be a huge appetite to do much beyond what we are doing currently, but I'm open to that.
    Chair, can we just vote on whether we continue that study or not?
    Do you mean the Levesque study?
    I think we all agree that the racism one is a priority, and we can't do that until we actually get the report. Perhaps we could just vote on whether or not we extend meetings on Levesque. If we vote to continue with the meetings, then we can decide to book witnesses.
    Okay.
    Jack is first, and then Shannon is second.
    I have a comment about that. Before Christmas, it was very important for us to do this study on that, and I'm assuming there were witnesses lined up who might be available. Now, it's not really my study, if you know what I mean, but the individuals who put it forward were concerned about getting particular witnesses. Whether they need them now or not, I suppose, is really up to them. I haven't really heard a definitive answer from them on that, so I don't know about voting on it in the absence of Mr. Paul-Hus. It was his study, was it not?
    It was a referral from the House initially and then it expired with prorogation or whatever it was, and the committee adopted it. It's entirely the committee's prerogative to do as it sees fit with this. Pam's motion is in order. I would regard Jack's intervention as debate. Is there any other debate before I call Pam's motion?
    Just to clarify, John, the motion is to finish the Levesque study.
     Yes, it is to finish the Levesque study on the witnesses we've heard to date, which includes the witnesses in 2020.
    Okay.

[Translation]

    Before we vote, Mr. Chair, could the clerk tell us how many witnesses are left on the list? I can't get my hands on it.
    There are about twenty witnesses left on the list.
    Thank you.

[English]

    Are there any other clarifications or any debate?
    Well, Mr. Chair, it's just that there are remaining witnesses who we thought were important to include on the Levesque study. Also, of course, we as a group had agreed to two to three more meetings on the Levesque study, which would make it fall in line with the number of meetings on the other studies that we've conducted so far as a committee. To support this motion would of course reverse the agreement that we had before Christmas.
     I'm not sure that, even given the session we just had, all of our concerns are allayed and that every aspect has been addressed. It seems to me that both in order to do the victim, her family and her loved ones justice and in order to try to get at even farther what can be put in place to prevent this kind of thing in the future, it would behoove us to take the time we had dedicated to hear from all of the witnesses we suggested and complete this properly.
    Is there more debate on Pam's motion? Those in favour—
    I'm sorry, Chair, but my hand was up.
    Okay, but we're running the clock here. We're almost at 5:30.
    Here's my question. Is this motion even in order, since this is, I believe, an unofficial gathering of the committee that's deciding upon an agreed-upon and already voted on motion that determined a certain number of set meetings? I would ask for a ruling from you, Mr. Chair, about whether the motion is in order in the context in which we're debating it.

  (1730)  

    Well, the committee is king or queen of its own procedures, so what the committee creates, the committee can uncreate. I think the—
    Doesn't it require notice?
    Mr. Chair, I will withdraw the motion. Maybe we should just have it done at the subcommittee.
    Okay. It confirms my prejudices about having 12 people in a meeting trying to go forward.
     I am still stuck with what we are going to do on Wednesday. Can you give me some guidance here? Pam's motion has been withdrawn. Therefore, the Levesque study is still in order and we could call witnesses, if you wish.
    I guess we could do that, if there are witnesses available for Wednesday.
     If we want to have a look at the unanimous consent motion on Wednesday and have a little business meeting.... I don't know whom we would call as a witness on Wednesday for that, for example. That's pretty short notice to start something that neither Pam nor I have actually read yet.
    Could we just do a subcommittee meeting?
    If we had some kind of a meeting, it could be a subcommittee meeting to talk about where we go from here. That might make sense.
    Are you good with that?
    Yes.
    The first hour would be a subcommittee meeting. Do you want to still use the second hour?
    Well, could we do something with that motion? Could we have a look at it? I don't know if we need a referral from the House or anything to do that. We can just look at it ourselves, can we not?
    John, I think we could just do a subcommittee meeting and try to get a work plan done for going forward.
    Is there actually a referral from the House, or is it just a motion that was adopted unanimously?
    I don't think it was a referral. It was just a motion.
    It was just a motion that was adopted in the House.
     We have other things on our agenda that we carried over from last fall and our last meeting before Christmas. The clerk could certainly give us a list of what those things are, including the decision to have the commissioner of the RCMP and the public safety minister appear before the committee on the implementation of their Merlo Davidson settlement agreement. That is something that was on our agenda, and I think there are a few other things that we need to deal with. We have a lot that we can actually deal with. It's just a matter of agreeing, like you said, and asking the subcommittee to deal with it.
     That is the problem: We have lots. If we ran through all 20 witnesses on the parole study, we'd be here until March. If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.
    Exactly.
    At least the first hour will be devoted to committee business with the subcommittee, and the clerk will send out notice to that effect. I hate to lose an hour.
    John, is there any appetite to have someone appear to let us know what the state is in terms of how hate groups are listed in Canada?
    I'm not talking about the minister, but somebody from CSIS or somebody from public safety who could just give us a briefing on how that whole process works. I think it's timely. I think Canadians are interested and really concerned about groups like Proud Boys. It's just using an hour for a briefing. It's not a study. It's just a briefing on how this process works, how it's determined to label an organization as a hate group and how they're listed as terrorists. It's just a one-hour briefing.
    Is that useful?
     I'd be in support of having someone talk about this issue. I know Mr. Lightbound's motion is close to this, but if we could have a briefing from someone—and it may not be public safety per se, although we're talking about hate groups and organizing things on the Internet—on how the Internet is controlled, what options there might be for having some control over what goes on, how they organize on the Internet and how these things are dealt with.... We need some briefing, because it may be another committee's work, but there is the aspect of whether or not you have to designate them as terrorists or find some other definition to be able to control them.
    If somebody could brief us on that, if we could identify someone in the next 24 hours perhaps and see if we can get someone lined up for Wednesday, I'd be in favour of that.

  (1735)  

    We have Joël, and then Shannon. It's now 5:35.

[Translation]

    I will be brief, Mr. Chair.
    I agree with Ms. Damoff and Mr. Harris. If we could use this time to have a briefing—perhaps officials from Public Safety Canada would be available—it could better guide us when we get to the study that I have proposed in my motion. I think it would be relevant to the committee, but it would not directly engage us in this study.

[English]

    Shannon, go ahead.
    There's certainly value in what Pam, Joël and Jack are all saying, definitely, in advance of moving into that study. However, why don't we, again, attempt to do first things first and actually close off work, instead of playing leap-frog over our own work and dragging out the timelines, and seek to actually invite the witnesses who remain on the list for the Levesque study for that second hour on Wednesday? That seems to me to be the proper order to do things in to actually complete our work. Other than that, as all three have said, it is important and will be valuable for the committee when we're on that issue.
    It comes down to this: The first hour is subcommittee. For the second hour, do you want a briefing from officials, or do you want the clerk and I to start picking witnesses out of the 20 witnesses that are there?
    Especially since it's all electronic anyway, this may be the only happy coincidence or serendipitous thing, that we don't expect people to travel from all around the country or do that kind of thing. It actually seems to me that it should be fairly possible to get one or two of the witnesses who remain on that list to participate by Zoom on Wednesday afternoon in the second hour. I would say that would be a good “first things first” effort.
    John, I disagree.
    I disagree too.
    I think the subcommittee needs to get together first and figure out our work plan, and if we're not going to do that I say we cancel the second hour. I think we could get a briefing. I think it's pertinent to what's going on in the world right now, and I think it's really important for Canadians to know how the groups get listed. It would be just an overview from public safety officials, and then once the subcommittee has met on Wednesday, we'll have a work plan and then we can look at inviting other witnesses for whatever direction we choose to go.
     I agree with that. I agree with what Pam is saying here. This is nothing against the wise choices that the chair and the clerk might make from the 20 witnesses, but we have no idea who might be available or who the priority witnesses are. I don't know if we want three or four more meetings. Maybe the people who want this study want to hear from only two or three more people. Let's figure that out first before we just fill up the time with whoever happens to be available on a Wednesday.
    Mr. Motz, go ahead.
    I'm confused, Chair. We had a work plan developed in the fall, and now we're going to develop another work plan to do—
    Life changes.
    Well, yes, of course it does, but at some stage we actually have to do the work we've actually been assigned. If the truth be known, I believe our colleague Joël already put a motion forward on online hate. The justice committee did a study on that. They had about 12 meetings, if I remember correctly, and had nearly 50 witnesses. That report was produced. The government never did respond to that report.
    I mean, it's important that we deal with it, but we also have important issues that we have right in front of us that we have already made motions of, which are part of a work plan that we already developed in the late fall. I think we need to stick with what we're doing, or else, as Shannon and others have said, we're jumping around over issues that we've never, ever dealt with. Damien has a motion that was put forward. I think we need to work on that. We have outstanding issues with the RCMP. I know that the report isn't done and translated yet, but we have another one we can deal with there too. We have, what, 10 or 12 outstanding issues before this committee, and then we add a new one.
    Damien's is an all-party motion that I think would be fantastic. I'd certainly invite him to speak to it. That's what we need to be focusing on.

  (1740)  

    Joël, go ahead.
    Mr. Chair, seeing that it's already 5:40 p.m., we've gone beyond our time, and there doesn't seem to be any agreement, I think I'll move to adjourn. Let the subcommittee figure out what our work plan should be.
    All right.
    There's a motion to adjourn. It's non-debatable.
    Okay. We're—
    Chair, I think your one-hour subcommittee meeting on Wednesday might take a little longer than one hour.
    Well, certainly if you come, Glen.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Of course I'll be there. I wouldn't want to miss meeting with you again, John. Come on, it's been so long. It's been, like, since December.
    I know. I miss it like a toothache.
    Oh, I know.
    Thank you. We'll do what we can do and get at least one hour for sure. I'll talk to you about whether we can do anything beyond that hour.
    Thank you, folks. The meeting is adjourned.
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