CAB Report 2016 - Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre

Community Advisory Board Annual Report
2016


Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre

London, Ontario

March 11, 2017


Preface

Legislative Authority

Ministry of Correctional Services Act, Section 14.1, 2000, c.40, s.4.

“The Minister may establish a local monitoring board for a correctional institution, composed of persons appointed by the Minister.”

Principal Duties of the Community Advisory Board

  • To satisfy themselves as to the state of the institution premises, the administration of the institution, and the treatment of inmates
  • To develop effective relationships with the superintendent and share minutes from the Board meetings
  • To inquire into and report back on any matters requested by the minister
  • To direct to the attention of the superintendent any matter they consider expedient to report, and
  • To report to the minister any matter which they consider expedient to report, normally achieved through the Annual Report or through exceptional situation reports.

Overview of the Annual Report

One of the required functions of the Community Advisory Board (CAB) is to develop and submit an annual report outlining and describing the Board’s activities of the previous year. The report will also contain observations and recommendations to the Minister, Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS), on aspects of the operation of the institution.

The annual report is submitted to the minister, with distribution to the institution superintendent. The annual report or excerpts may only be made public with the approval of the Minister.

Objectives of the Annual Report

The purpose of the annual report is to highlight the work of the CAB and to identify any areas of concern and/or support for the operation of the institution. The annual report should include observations, findings and recommendations in the following areas:

  • Advice to the minister on any aspect of the operation of the institution
  • Any observations communicated to the superintendent regarding the operation of the institution
  • Advice provided to the minister and superintendent regarding a community or citizens perspective on the operation of the institution
  • Observations communicated to the minister and superintendent, regarding the treatment of inmates in the care of the institution
  • Observations on the state of the institution and the administration of the facility, and
  • The establishment of cooperative and supportive relationships with the superintendent, managers and staff of the institution.

Objectives and Goals

  • To build professional relationships with all staff and inmates at Elgin Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC)
  • To encourage the Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services (MCSCS) to apply best current practices in communications
  • To encourage and promote best practices in Corrections at EMDC
  • To press for timely processes to achieve and maintain a full Community Advisory Board (CAB) complement
  • To support initiatives to build community support for EMDC
  • To build CAB members’ capacity to understand provincial and institutional policies and practices in Corrections

Community Advisory Board Members

Chair: Rebecca Howse, Dec. 16, 2013 - Dec. 15, 2018

Board Members:

Claudio DeVincenzo, Oct. 5, 2016 - Oct. 4, 2019
Janet McEwen, Dec. 16, 2013 - Dec. 15, 2019
Julie Meyers, Oct. 5, 2016 - Oct. 4, 2019
Ian Peer, Dec. 16, 2013 - Dec. 15, 2016
Betty Anne Stoney-Shankar, Dec. 16, 2013 - Dec. 15, 2018


Overview of CAB Activities for 2016

Number of CAB Meetings: 10

Summary

The EMDC CAB met 10 times in the EMDC Boardroom. The Superintendent and/or a Deputy Superintendent attended and reported at each CAB meeting. The CAB’s complement was reduced by 2 members because of 1 resignation and 1 end-of-term from January-September 2016. In the interest of capacity-building, five presentations by staff leaders in Health Care, Segregation (SEG), Programs, Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), and Training were provided at CAB meetings. CAB members attended the Volunteer Appreciation banquet in June. Two new CAB members were welcomed at the October CAB meeting. The 2017 year begins, once again, with a CAB vacancy.

Number of Site Visits: 15

Summary

CAB site visits

Date Duration Topic
March 4 2.5 hours MPP tour of facility – OPSEU, CAB, volunteers attended
March 5 2 hours Kitchen tour
March 31 1 hours PC Leader’s tour – OPSEU, CAB invited
April 27 1.5 hours women’s ALPHA group – led by Salvation Army officer
May 3 1.5 hours males' video chapel – conducted by Chaplain
June 21 1.25 hours diversity lunch – Aboriginal Day of Solidarity
July 5 2 hours pipe ceremony for Aboriginal male offenders – conducted by Elder
Aug. 17 1 hour Admitting & Discharge (A&D) Unit - observed return from court processes
Sept. 8 1 hour Regional Intermittent Centre (RIC) tour - CAB members only
Sept. 13 1 hour Official opening and minister’s tour
Oct. 15 1.25 RIC tour – observe with inmates admitted
Oct. 27 1.5 meeting with Superintendent re: London Free Press coverage of incident
Nov. 12 1 hour RIC tour – observe with weekend inmates admitted
Dec. 13 2 hours participate in Salvation Army gift distribution and carol sing
Dec. 16 1.5 hours new Correctional Officer (CO) training – met 12 new COs, provided CAB overview

Monthly Reports provided to the CAB: 10

Number of Reports/Concerns that Required Action: 14

Number of Concerns Directed to the Superintendent: 10

Summary

  1. Programming, which includes staff training specifically designed to address the needs of Indigenous offenders and includes the building of a sweat lodge, continues to be an issue.
  2. OPSEU Trusteeship – While a positive work environment has been established under the trusteeship, the CAB is concerned by the ongoing lack of local union leadership/participation.
  3. The lack of CO respect for volunteer programs continues to be an issue.
  4. Staff capacity to address programming needs of inmates is an ongoing issue.
  5. A renovation and enlargement of the A&D area is critical.
  6. Colour photos on Unit Notification Cards is required to improve inmate identification to prevent errant discharges.
  7. Consistent staffing of the RIC will build staff capacity for Direct Supervision.
  8. Staff recognition of and understanding of the CAB’s mandate continues to be an issue.
  9. Application of the report of the Correctional Services Oversight Investigation and the recommendations from an inquest into an inmate death in SEG should be mined for insight into further policies and procedures to prevent such a future occurrence.
  10. With the accelerated hiring of new COs and other EMDC staff, mandatory trainings should use best practices to address large numbers of new staff being trained together.

Number of Concerns Directed to the Minister: 4

Summary

  1. Inmate health care, particularly mental health care, was a recurring concern all year. The CAB is eager to see how new staff assigned by April 1, 2017 will reduce the use of SEG and better address inmate mental health issues. 
  2. Funding to support structural improvements to the A&D unit, plus the addition of a body scanner to it, are necessary to reduce contraband and prevent errant discharges. 
  3. Funding to support the roll-out of unit retrofits to a Direct Observation model, based on the experience of a renovated unit, is necessary to address staff concerns about inmate violence.
  4. The revision of current Corporate Communications practices to provide for more timely and local communications from EMDC to the community continues to be an issue for CAB members.

Presentations and Training

Number of Presentations made to the CAB: 5

Summary

Health Care – EMDC Health Care overview by Interim Health Care Manager
SEG – Overview by SEG Manager Sergeant
Programs – Overview by Volunteer Coordinator
OPSEU Leadership at EMDC – Outline of ‘Trusteeship’ by OPSEU 108 Trustee
Staff Training – Overview by Staff Training Manager

Number of Training Sessions Completed: 2

Summary

New CAB Member training – conducted by Program Advisor
CAB Conference – attended by full CAB and Deputy Superintendent

Observations

The Operation of the Institution

The resignation of the OPSEU Local 108 leadership and imposition of a Trustee following the contract settlement provided an opportunity to build a good relationship between the union and management at EMDC. Greatly reduced use of lockdowns and a significant reduction in staff sick leave improved the work environment. COs regularly reported to CAB members during site visits that they noticed and liked these changes. The changes made to inmate health care practices by the Acting Manager, including medication distribution and mental health care practices, addressed many concerns and must be supported by increased staffing, training and renovations to the Healthcare area. The value of programming continues to be an issue. Respect for community volunteers providing many of the programs plus staffing to increase programming, particularly the provision of physical activities programs, continue to be required and requested by inmates and many COs who appreciate the benefits of programs. The construction of a sweat lodge and Indigenous Cultural Awareness training of all staff must proceed to address the needs of First Nations offenders.

Institution Impact on the Community

Local reporters attending the official opening of the RIC and meeting CAB members indicated no prior knowledge of the existence of the CAB. An ongoing London Free Press series, Indiscernible, is evidence of the ‘old news’, misinformation, and bias that community members are provided, in the absence of timely and direct communication from the MCSCS. The ‘troubled EMDC’ reputation resonates with the public when they are not provided with timely facts from properly trained and authorized staff. The CAB is aware that informal communications between staff and media continue to fill the vacuum left by current Corporate Communications policy and practices. It is clear that this approach is not effective in responding to the information needs of the community.

Administration of the Institution

In response to the EMDC CAB’s Annual Report 2015, MCSCS addressed its recommendation in relation to stabilizing the leadership of EMDC when it promoted the Superintendent who was replaced by promoting a Deputy Superintendent to the Acting Superintendent role. The CAB expects EMDC management stability to continue to be a key factor in the appointment of a permanent superintendent. The OPSEU Trustee should, likewise, continue to oversee union activities at EMDC unless and until Local 108 leaders can be elected who will forward the current positive relationship between union and management.

The Treatment of Inmates

Inmate health care, particularly mental health care, is an ongoing issue. Structural changes will be required to address the overuse of SEG. The roll-out of Direct Observation in all units should be accelerated. Programming and facility changes to address the needs of Indigenous offenders continue to be required.

Summary of Recommendations to the Ministry

  1. Build a sweat lodge and implement the Indigenous Cultural Awareness training program for all EMDC staff.
  2. Continue to improve inmate health care by staff increases and training, as well as by enlarging and renovating the health care area at EMDC.
  3. Focus staffing and training on inmate mental health care.
  4. Revise Corporate Communications policies, procedures and training to empower institution leaders to apply current best practices in communications (i.e. trained institution media expert, use of social media).
  5. Work with the OPSEU Trustee and provincial OPSEU to ensure that the improvements to the relationship between the union and management at EMDC achieved during the trusteeship, are not lost when it ends and a local OPSEU Executive is elected.
  6. Ensure that all COs recognize the value of volunteer programs and show respect for all volunteers.
  7. Implement inmate physical activity programs and other programming with new Program staff to be hired by April 1, 2017.
  8. Enlarge and retrofit the Admitting & Discharge area.
  9. Add colour photos of inmates to the Unit Notification Cards to enhance inmate recognition by staff.
  10. Using the first renovated unit as the model, roll out the renovation of all units to the Direct Observation model.
  11. Stabilize the RIC staffing to provide consistency and to build staff capacity to prevent the arrival of contraband by inmates using the internet to discover ways to confuse the body scanner.
  12. Build into CO training at the college a unit on Community Advisory Boards which could include inviting CAB Chairs to participate.  Have the CAB Chair participate in a section of new CO training at EMDC.
  13. Use inquest and Correctional Services Oversight & Investigations (CSOI) recommendations to reduce the use of SEG to manage inmates with mental health issues.
  14. Apply best training practices to address the accelerated numbers of new COs to be trained once they are hired at EMDC.

Appendix

n/a


Submitted March 23, 2017

_____________________________________
Rebecca Howse, Chair


Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services letterhead

May 9, 2017

Ms. Rebecca Howse
Chair, Community Advisory Board
Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre

Dear Ms. Howse:

Thank you for sending the 2016 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Report for the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre. This letter confirms our receipt of the Annual Report for 2016.

We truly appreciate all of the time you and your fellow CAB members give each year to this program. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services values all of the work you put into the Annual Report, providing us with a comprehensive list of recommendations based on your observations at the institution.

In order to provide feedback and to address the issues and recommendations for your specific institution more efficiently, we have updated the review process. The Superintendent and Regional Director will meet with the CAB to provide a response to items in the Annual Report that can be resolved at the local level. In addition to this meeting, the Associate Deputy Minister will respond to the higher level operational and systemic issues that have been identified.

The ministry understands the importance of addressing the recommendations from the Annual Report and will work to respond to the issues in a timely manner.

I look forward to working with the CABs in the coming year to continue to increase transparency and provide the public with a greater understanding of the work being done in correctional services.

Sincerely,

Marie-France Lalonde
Minister


ADM_Corr letterhead.png

June 20, 2017

Ms. Rebecca Howse
Chair, Community Advisory Board
Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre

Dear Ms. Howse:

Thank you for your submission of the 2016 Community Advisory Board (CAB) Annual Report for the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC). The Annual Report has been reviewed by the ministry and we offer our responses and proposed actions to your recommendations below.

As the Honourable Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, noted in her acknowledgement letter to you, the ministry understands the importance of addressing your recommendations. The CABs have been vital in providing an objective view on the operational and systemic issues in our facilities.

The ministry is committed to collaborating with our correctional partners to modernize Ontario’s correctional system and to be a leader in correctional service delivery.

The transformation of Ontario’s correctional system is ongoing. Segregation remains one of our top priorities for reform. The Ombudsman recently released a report on the use of segregation and the report from our Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform, Mr. Howard Sapers, was released on May 4, 2017, outlining his recommendations for the use of segregation in Ontario.

Addressing access to mental health supports for our clients has also been a high priority item with respect to transformation. Additional mental health resources have been provided to various institutions across the province to better care for our clients with mental health issues.

On behalf of the ministry, thank you for the time you have given to this program. Your observations and recommendations will assist us on our journey towards improving Correctional Services in Ontario.

I am pleased to provide the following responses.


Recommendation 1: Build a sweat lodge and implement the Indigenous Cultural Awareness training program for all EMDC staff.

Indigenous Cultural Awareness training has been developed by the ministry and is ready to be delivered. Two instructors have been selected and are in the process of completing the mandatory train-the-trainer sessions at the Ontario Correctional Services College. The institution expects that the training will commence in the summer of 2017.

The ministry is working to find an appropriate location for a sweat lodge at EMDC. There is currently an expansion project underway in the admission and discharge area of the institution which may be able to accommodate a sweat lodge.  We understand the importance of providing our indigenous clients with the opportunity to participate in the program as part of their healing process.

In June 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) made 94 recommendations which aimed to incorporate indigenous culture and teaching throughout Canadian society. Through this initiative, the ministry was allocated funding to strengthen current indigenous programming across the province which will include looking at gaps in facilitating traditional healing in our institutions. Work in this regard is ongoing.

Recommendation 2: Continue to improve inmate health care by staff increases and training, as well as by enlarging and renovating the health care area at EMDC.

The ministry is in the process of hiring an additional 239 staff to increase supports for clients, particularly those with significant challenges related to long-term segregation. To date, more than 200 positions have been filled. This means that clients in segregation will receive enhanced care, consultation with the inter-professional team, and continuous monitoring and evaluation, which will include individualized rehabilitative programming.

Of the 239 positions in the province dedicated to segregation, EMDC has received 24 positions outlined as follows:

  • two general duty nurses
  • two mental health nurses
  • two psychologists
  • two social workers
  • two correctional officers
  • one sergeant
  • one staff sergeant
  • one deputy superintendent of compliance
  • one rehabilitation officer
  • six recreation officers
  • one volunteer coordinator
  • one part-time chaplain
  • two records clerks

There are plans to improve the current physical space the health care department at EMDC. However, as a result of the new health care positions, the focus at EMDC is the office space for new staff. The improvements to the health care department will be revisited once staff are settled into their positions.

As of January 2017, as part of our commitment to increasing access to mental health services, EMDC has increased its psychiatry services by eight hours per week.

EMDC is also in the process of recruiting an assistant health care manager (currently completing reference checks) which is a brand new position in the unit to assist the health care manager in maintaining the current standards for health care at EMDC.

Recommendation 3: Focus staffing and training on inmate mental health care.

As noted above in recommendation 2, the ministry is in the process of hiring additional staff to address conditions of confinement in segregation and to deliver on our commitment to improving access to mental health services. At this time, we are currently working on recruiting qualified individuals for the positions that we have received.

In 2016, the ministry delivered mental health training entitled “Understanding and Responding to Inmates with Mental Health Challenges,” which provided all institutional staff with a foundation for working with clients with mental health issues. As of October 8, 2016, the final training numbers show all staff and managers in total have completed the training at EMDC. Currently, the Ontario Correctional Services College (OCSC) in consultation with the Institutional Training Manager group is compiling a list of correctional staff that still requires this training. Courses for this group of staff are ongoing and will conclude by June 30, 2017.

In addition to the mental health training noted above, as a part of the Correctional Officer Assessment and Training (COTA) program, all new graduates complete a rigorous assessment and eight-week training program, which includes mental health training and inmate management techniques prior to commencing service in our facilities.

In 2016, staff at EMDC also had the opportunity to participate in joint mental health training with the Ontario Provincial Police.

Recommendation 4: Revise Corporate Communications policies, procedures and training to empower institution leaders to apply current best practices in communications (i.e. trained institution media expert, use of social media).

The ministry’s communications branch is responsible for coordinating all media responses received by the ministry which is consistent with the Ontario Public Service communications practices. The communications branch outreach strategy includes a multi-channel approach to improve engagement with the public; however, in terms of responding to media requests, information is delivered by our corporate spokespeople. The ministry has made improvements to the internal media response process which has reduced the time it takes to get responses out to media.  

The ministry currently operates a Twitter account which has been leveraged during the recruitment process for CAB vacancies and various other outreach activities.

Recommendation 5: Work with the OPSEU Trustee and provincial OPSEU to ensure that the improvements to the relationship between the union and management at EMDC achieved during the trusteeship, are not lost when it ends and a local OPSEU Executive is elected.

The ministry is committed to fostering positive labour relations by working closely with the OPSEU locals to build a strong working relationship. As of April 2017, a new OPSEU local executive at EMDC was elected. The OPSEU trustee who had been managing local issues since April 2016 remained in place until May 2017 to assist with the transition of the executive and to ensure the positive relationship that she has built with management remains intact. The new local executive is now in place and operating at full capacity which includes a new president and three vice presidents.

Recommendation 6: Ensure that all COs recognize the value of volunteer programs and show respect for all volunteers.

Ministry programming is delivered by multiple resources such as correctional officers, rehabilitation officers and clinical staff. The ministry also relies heavily on volunteers for these services and the work that they do is invaluable. Our volunteers from the community are highly skilled and provide programming to our clients at no cost to the ministry. We recognize the importance of our volunteers and want to ensure that they feel supported in our institutions.

At EMDC, volunteers receive a full day orientation session which includes meeting staff at the institution to familiarize both staff and volunteers with their respective duties. EMDC also provides a newsletter to staff on a bi-monthly basis which speaks to the importance of volunteers and includes a profile on volunteers in each edition. EMDC also holds an annual volunteer appreciation banquet which recently occurred on May 18, 2017.

The management team at EMDC is committed to supporting the volunteers who donate their time and talents to our clients and will continue to work with staff on training and understanding the value volunteers bring to the ministry. If volunteers experience any difficulties while attending the institution, they should report their concerns immediately to the superintendent or designate.

Recommendation 7: Implement inmate physical activity programs and other programming with new Program staff to be hired by April 1, 2017.

As noted in recommendation 2, EMDC has received six new recreation officers, as part of its staffing model to address some of the issues related to segregation. All six recreation officer positions have been filled. Orientation is ongoing as many of the new staff have come from outside of the ministry and they require detailed training to become familiar with a correctional environment. EMDC management has facilitated a visit for the new staff to visit the South West Detention Centre in Windsor to see how it is running its recreation programs. The goal of recreation staff is to provide clients with more activities and therapeutic programming.

EMDC is also exploring the use of the gymnasium to run programs for clients. However, the gym facilities may require a retrofit to bring it up to building code standards to make sure that the health and safety of our staff and clients is protected prior to commissioning it for programs.

Recommendation 8: Enlarge and retrofit the Admitting & Discharge area.

The ministry has initiated an expansion of the admitting and discharge area at EMDC capacity to effectively manage the needs of the institution with a start-up meeting taking place in April 2017. We anticipate that the procurement process for the project will begin this summer to secure a contractor to facilitate the expansion. The CAB will be kept up to date by EMDC management on the progress of this project.

Recommendation 9: Add colour photos of inmates to the Unit Notification Cards to enhance inmate recognition by staff.

The Ontario Public Service (OPS) strives to reduce waste and has implemented several reduction initiatives including a green print strategy. EMDC endeavours to support the OPS green initiatives by reducing the number of printers in house and reducing the use of colour printing.

The records department at EMDC provides colour photos on documents when releasing clients in order to reduce any potential for errors upon release. As part of the admission and discharge unit renovations, the ministry will provide consideration for the use of a colour printer that would produce client unit cards for the institution. We agree that the use of a colour printer will improve client recognition by staff and reduce any inaccuracies.

Recommendation 10: Using the first renovated unit as the model, roll out the renovation of all units to the Direct Observation model.

Direct supervision is used in many correctional facilities in Canada, the United States and around the world and is used to create an environment that is more normalized and encourages positive behaviour for clients through direct interaction with staff. The ministry is supportive of this model. The Regional Intermittent Centre (RIC) located on the grounds of EMDC was built with a direct supervision model in place and officer stations are located directly on the units.

Although EMDC’s current infrastructure cannot accommodate a true direct supervision model, we have taken steps to improve the structure in the facility so that correctional staff have a direct line of sight into the units which is known as direct observation. As mentioned, one unit has already been upgraded to the direct observation model and a second unit will be constructed in the fall of 2017. We will continue to monitor and assess the effectiveness of this change for the supervision of our clients.

Recommendation 11: Stabilize the Regional Intermittent Centre (RIC) staffing to provide consistency and to build staff capacity to prevent the arrival of contraband by inmates using the Internet to discover ways to confuse the body scanner.

Over the last year, in order to stabilize staffing at the RIC, EMDC management worked with the union to develop new schedules for staff working at the RIC. The new schedule includes dedicated staff for the RIC who work three out of four weekends per month which promotes consistency. The schedules became effective in January 2017.

The RIC has a full-body security scanner installed which safely scan bodies for external and internal contraband, including metal/non-mental objects, not detected by existing security measures.

In addition to the body scanner, the RIC uses a number of tools to stop contraband including BOSS chairs (body orifice scanning chairs), hand held and walk through metal detectors, as well as regular thorough searches.  The ministry has also expanded its canine units from one to four to enhance search capabilities in our institutions across the province.

The dedicated staff at the RIC have been trained on the security systems in place and have been successful with the interception of contraband using the scanner and various other methods available at the institution. The technology in the body scanner is highly sophisticated and staff have been taught to identify any inconsistencies visible in body scan images.

Recommendation 12: Build into CO training at the college a unit on Community Advisory Boards, which could include inviting CAB Chairs to participate. Have the CAB Chair participate in a section of new CO training at EMDC.

The ministry encourages all institutions with CABs to provide information on the purpose and the function of the CAB to new staff during in-house orientation. At EMDC, I understand that the CAB was invited to participate in new recruit orientation and provide information on their roles and responsibilities. We are inspired by the collaboration between the EMDC CAB and management to ensure that the new staff understand the CAB and their place on the correctional services team.

The ministry will consider including some information on CABs in an existing module in the Correctional Officer Training and Assessment (COTA) program, however, there are some challenges with developing an entire section on solely CABs. There are currently only 10 institutions in the province with CABs so the material would not be applicable to all recruits. Also, the COTA program is very substantial and contains a high volume of information for new officers to retain. It would be more impactful to have this type of information presented to recruits at the institution where they have been placed as it directly affects their work.

Recommendation 13: Use inquest and Correctional Services Oversight & Investigations (CSOI) recommendations to reduce the use of SEG to manage inmates with mental health issues.

As noted above, the ministry has received 239 new positions to address issues with respect to segregation. Out of those 239 positions, EMDC received 23 full-time positions and one part-time position. As well, the ministry will address all recommendations contained in the interim report by Mr. Howard Sapers on the use of segregation in Ontario released on May 4, 2017. The recommendations provided by both Mr. Sapers’ interim report and the Ombudsman will support the government's ongoing work to reform Ontario's correctional system.

EMDC is also evaluating the use of a step-down unit for those clients who required a higher level of supervision due to mental health needs. Clients will first be sent to segregation to stabilize, then to the step-down unit until a bed becomes available in the special needs unit. The goal is to reduce the use of segregation for clients with mental health needs as we know segregation is not conducive to treatment and rehabilitation.

Recommendation 14: Apply best training practices to address the accelerated numbers of new COs to be trained once they are hired at EMDC.

The Ontario Correctional Services College (OCSC) provides the eight-week Correctional Officer Training and Assessment (COTA) program. The COTA program offers a wide variety of training for new officers including defensive tactics, restraint equipment, mental health and fitness, among others. All recruits must successfully complete the COTA program prior to assuming their role in an institution.

In addition to COTA, institutions offer onsite orientation for new officers. At EMDC, this program is four weeks in duration. After approximately nine months on the job, a debriefing session is scheduled with management to discuss their progress. Following the debriefing, a full-day orientation refresh with the ITM (discussing what was learned throughout their training period) is completed.

EMDC has also begun implementing a peer mentoring program. Although it is in its early stages, the institution is working closely with the local OPSEU executive to develop the program. Training for the peer mentor committee has already commenced and it is anticipated that training for the peer mentors will be completed in the summer of 2017.

Conclusion

The role of the CAB is not only to provide us with recommendations on improvements, but also to highlight some of the great work going on in our institutions. I would like to thank you for recognizing the many success stories as outlined in the Annual Report, including the positive relationship between EMDC management and the OPSEU trustee, the changes made by the health care team which has made practices more consistent in the unit, and the continued effort by the ministry to maintain stability in the management team at EMDC. We are also very proud of all EMDC employees for their accomplishments and success in establishing the Regional Intermittent Centre which has assisted the ministry in addressing contraband and capacity issues in Western region.

I truly appreciate all of the hard work that went into your Annual Report this year. The recommendations made by the CAB are important to our continuous growth and reformation.

I would like to thank you for volunteering your time with the ministry as CAB member. Committed volunteers are hard to find and we are grateful to have you and all of the CAB members at EMDC as a part of the correctional services team.

I look forward to working with the CAB this year on implementing as many of the recommendations as possible. I am excited to see this innovative program develop its full potential.

Sincerely,

Marg Welch
Associate Deputy Minister, Correctional Services