Question No. 1168

Elizabeth May: With regard to the 1400-plus page report commissioned prior to Budget 2012 by Public-Private Partnerships Canada from the consulting firm Deloitte and Touche concerning the relevance and applicability of private delivery of prison design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance to the federal correctional system, and given that the government stated in Budget 2012 that it had no intention of building new prisons: (a) does the government or any of its departments plan to privatize new or existing correctional facilities in any aspect of their design, construction, financing, operation, maintenance or services going forward and, if so, (i) which aspects have been considered for privatization, (ii) what, if any, agreements or contracts have they entered into or do they plan to enter into with the private sector, (iii) which corporations, non-profit sector agencies, and other service providers are involved; and (b) how many Exchange of Service Agreements has Correctional Service Canada entered into with other jurisdictions for (i) sentences of two years plus a day, (ii) two years minus a day, (iii) do these agreements involve the privatization of any aspect of correctional and accommodation services and, if so, what is the nature of the privatization and which jurisdictions and third-party suppliers are involved?

Hon. Vic Toews: Mr. Speaker, with regard to (a), CSC operates 57 federal correctional institutions across Canada ranging from minimum to maximum security, 16 community correctional centres and 84 parole offices. None of these facilities are operated by the private sector. Budget 2012 was clear: the government has not built a single new prison since 2006 and has no intention of building any new prisons.

The government is committed to the idea that the work of guarding inmates should be performed by employees of the Government of Canada. CSC currently uses some privatized services for the delivery of specialized, non-correctional programs and services, e.g., medical professionals and educational services, which are provided through contracts with the private sector. In addition, CSC does contract, or enter into agreements, with not-for-profit organizations and communities, which operate community residential facilities, also known as halfway houses, or healing lodges, or which provide a service to CSC.

With regard to (a)(i) and (a)(iii), CSC had previously engaged in discussions with Public-Private Partnerships Canada, or PPP Canada, but has no plans to pursue the use of PPP.

With regard to (a)(ii), no agreements or contracts have been entered into.

With regard to (b)(i) and (b)(ii), court-imposed sentences of two years or more are administered within the federal correctional system, while sentences of less than two years are administered through the provincial/territorial correctional systems. However, Section 16 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act provides for the Minister of Public Safety, with the approval of the Governor in Council, to enter into an exchange of services agreement, ESA, with the government of a province for the confinement of federal offenders in provincial correctional facilities or hospitals and the confinement of provincial offenders in federal penitentiaries.

CSC currently has bilateral ESAs with all 13 provincial/territorial jurisdictions.

With regard to (b)(iii), these agreements do not involve the privatization of any aspect of correctional and accommodation services.