Corrections - Human Rights Plan Qs and As

Policies and Guidelines

Correctional Services’ Human Rights Plan

Questions and Answers

1. What is the Human Rights Plan (HRP)?

The HRP is Correctional Services’ phased, multi-year action plan to address human rights issues and to better respond to the unique needs and concerns of Indigenous employees and clients/inmates. It weaves human rights principles and Indigenous peoples’ perspectives into everything that we do. The HRP helps us make human rights right in Correctional Services.

2. Why was the HRP developed for Correctional Services?

In August 2011, Correctional Services settled long-standing human rights complaints filed by a correctional officer based on Indigenous ancestry. As part of the settlement, Correctional Services entered into a partnership with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) called the Human Rights Project Charter (HRPC).

The HRPC had an overall objective of addressing discrimination and harassment in employment and service areas within Correctional Services, with a special focus on the needs and concerns of Indigenous peoples. It also had specific change objectives in the areas of training (learning); accountability; complaints management (for both employees and clients/inmates); and recruitment, selection, promotion and retention.

Various subcommittees were established by the HRPC to brainstorm ideas and make recommendations to address these change objectives. The HRPC led to the development of the HRP to implement its subcommittees’ recommendations to affect long-term human rights organizational change.

3. How was the HRP developed?

In 2012 and 2013, Correctional Services employees from all regions and at all levels (including correctional officers, probation and parole officers, operational managers, regional directors, social workers, nurses, policy/program staff) came together to brainstorm ideas and identify human rights issues, gaps, barriers and opportunities.

They worked closely with representatives from MGCS, OHRC and corporate Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), to come up with a number of recommendations to address the HRPC’s change objectives.

A group of Indigenous employees also shared their unique perspectives, gave input and created an Indigenous Strategic Plan to better support the needs and concerns of Indigenous employees and clients/inmates.

The HRP reflects these recommendations (including the Indigenous Strategic Plan).

4. When did the plan start?

The HRP was launched in September 2014.

5. How long will it take to roll out the plan?

The HRP consists of two main phases and the work is spread out over seven years (Phase 1 is from September 2014 to August 2017; Phase 2 is from September 2017 to August 2021).

However, this work won’t end in 2021. These types of changes take time and careful planning. We want to get human rights right and make ongoing and lasting human rights changes.

6. How is this plan different from past human rights work in Correctional Services?

This plan is different from other human rights-related work because:

  • employees (including front line staff and managers from all divisions/areas) were involved from the beginning to consider how to make things better and how to make it happen. They suggested new, comprehensive ways to deal with long-standing human rights issues
  • it reflects Indigenous peoples’ perspectives
  • it applies to both employees and to clients/inmates
  • it holds us all accountable (and has accountability built right into it) for making lasting human rights changes in Correctional Services

7. How can we make sure that this plan is put into action and that we will make these changes last?

The Deputy Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and Associate Deputy Minister of Correctional Services are committed to carrying out the plan, in partnership with OHRC and MGCS. Individual and organizational accountability are built into each initiative to help make the human rights changes “stick.”

8. How will the plan be measured and evaluated?

An Evaluation Working Group (with members from Correctional Services, OHRC and MGCS) is developing a plan to measure, monitor, evaluate and report on the HRP’s initiatives and long-term human rights changes.

9. Who can I contact if I have questions or need more information?

You can contact the team responsible for leading, managing and coordinating the implementation of the HRP directly at hrp@ontario.ca.