Thank you, Dr. Zinger, first and foremost for being here but most importantly for all the work you have been doing, especially on this particular report.
The report certainly raises many pressing issues, which include gaps in services and care for the most vulnerable populations in our federal institutions. Correctional Service Canada, I know, has put a path forward. I know Minister Blair is working very closely with the CSC to ensure that real progress is made. I want to talk a little bit, however, about safe and timely reintegration.
In your report you cite the Senate's “Study on Human Rights of Federally-Sentenced Persons: The most basic human right is to be treated as a human being”. It states that:
An important consequence of discriminatory policies is that federally-sentenced persons, especially those who are women, Indigenous, Black and racialized, have difficulty accessing culturally relevant...programming.
It goes on:
Without access to these programs, federally-sentenced persons are ill-prepared to reintegrate in their communities, which places them at a higher risk.... Tackling this issue is particularly urgent for federally-sentenced Indigenous and Black persons who are significantly overrepresented in the correctional system.
Within your study it is stated that the population of indigenous persons has increased from 19% to 28% in 2018-19 and also for black persons has increased from 7% to 10% in 2015-16, though now this increase is slowly reversing. However, 37% of all discrimination complaints are from black persons.
Can you elaborate a little on the overrepresentation of vulnerable populations, especially of indigenous, black Canadians, as well as racialized communities, in the Correctional Service?