Madam Speaker, once again let me express my deepest sympathies for the family and friends of Marylène Levesque for this terrible tragedy that took place in Quebec on January 22.
As members across the way are aware, we have called for an investigation into the circumstances that led to this horrible incident. It will be a joint board of investigation that will draw its members from the Correctional Service of Canada and the Parole Board of Canada, including external members.
The Correctional Service of Canada must conduct an investigation under a variety of circumstances, including when the presumed perpetrator of a murder is a federal offender. As the House may be aware, a criminal investigation is also being carried out by the local police. This will protect the integrity of the investigations so that all facts can come to the surface and be properly examined by experts.
This board of investigation will assess and report on the incident so that where required, actions can be taken to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. This board will have five members, two who are external and independent of the government, two from the Correctional Service of Canada and one from the Parole Board of Canada. All members are skilled and experienced, bringing various perspectives to this process. The two external members are experienced criminologists who have never been employed by either the Correctional Service of Canada or the Parole Board of Canada. In the spirit of openness and transparency, these external members will co-chair the board.
It is a government priority to better understand the circumstances that led to this tragedy to ensure that all established protocols were followed and that lessons are learned. Once the board concludes its investigation and provides its report, we will respond accordingly. We are committed to conducting the investigation swiftly and communicating the results with the public. We want answers, as does everyone affected by this, including the members in this House.
We cannot lose the perspective that our system is built on evidence-based approaches. The work of the Correctional Service of Canada is guided by research and long-standing experience of what works best to assist in the rehabilitation of individuals while ensuring that the public is safe. Public safety is the main consideration in all parole decisions. These decisions are made independently by the Parole Board, based on criteria that have been in place for many years and under many governments.
I want to assure Canadians that violent offences by people on day parole are incredibly rare. In 2017-2018, out of over 3,836 people on day parole, only two had their day parole revoked for a violent offence. This means that 99.95% of people successfully completed day parole. Additionally, research shows that the recidivism rate in Canada is declining.
Day parole is part of a process of gradual, supervised release. This is a far safer process for Canadians than releasing offenders cold turkey, straight from prison, without monitoring or supervision of any kind. In fact, research tells us that a gradual, structured and supervised release is the best way to protect the public. Conditional releases like day parole contribute to the protection of society by facilitating the reintegration of the offender into society as a law-abiding citizen.
In this specific case, which is very tragic, every angle around day parole will be examined to determine whether established policies and procedures were followed.
In closing, I thank the member across the way for raising this important issue and assure the member that the government is committed to getting to the bottom of what caused this to happen. With this investigation, I want to reiterate that the protection and safety of our communities is of paramount consideration in all decisions relating to the management of federal offenders.
However, we also must talk about the systemic nature of violence against women. We must go above and beyond to ensure that we are combatting the gender-based challenges that women and vulnerable gender communities within our society face on a daily basis, whether it is through human trafficking, gender-based violence in the home, domestic abuse or workplace discrimination. In continuing to develop and grow our communities to become safer for each and every one of us, we have to take into account all of these different factors. Our approach to combatting these challenges must be thorough and comprehensive, taking into account all of the different angles and perspectives that cause tragedies like these to occur.
In the past four years, our government has really gone above and beyond in how we are combatting gender-based violence, in how we are reforming our justice system so that there is more access for vulnerable communities. That is work that will continue within this government, within our ministry and with the members across the way on issues that they raise as well.
Again, I want to express my deepest sympathies to the family of Marylène Levesque. May she rest in peace.