February 28, 2017 - Dear Minister Lalonde, I am writing today to provide you with a summary of what we learned. There are some issues that appear unique to the Kenora Jail that raise human rights concerns and warrant further consideration and action on the part of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS). I look forward to discussing these issues further at our upcoming meeting scheduled for early March.
The human rights of Indigenous people in Ontario (including status, non-status, First Nations, Métis and Inuit) are protected by the all Code grounds. However, discrimination because a person identifies as Indigenous involve the grounds of race, creed and ancestry.
Thank you once again for your hospitality and candour. During the meeting, we discussed concerns that leaders and members of the Indigenous community brought to my attention earlier in the day; namely, alleged racism and systemic discrimination within the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS). We discussed more generally the relationship between the TBPS and Indigenous communities in light of recent events.
Toronto – In a supplementary submission released today, the OHRC again calls on the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) to end the practice of segregation (also known as solitary confinement) in Ontario’s correctional facilities.
Supplementary Submission of the Ontario Human Rights Commission to the
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ Provincial Segregation Review
I am writing today to encourage you to adopt a broad human rights interpretation of the National Inquiry’s Terms of Reference and to offer our support as you pursue your important mandate.
On Canada’s 20th annual National Aboriginal Day, we recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and many contributions of First Nations,Inuit and Métis (Indigenous) peoples. As an arms-length agency of government, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) also sees today as an opportunity to restate our commitment to reconciliation and working alongside Indigenous communities across Ontario.
June 15, 2016 - Dear Minister Orazietti, Congratulations on your appointment as Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is looking forward to working closely with you, especially as you continue to review the use of segregation within provincial jails, as well as the treatment of immigration detainees held in provincial custody.
by Renu Mandhane
In 2007, Ashley Smith died in federal custody in Kitchener, Ont., after spending extended periods of time in segregation (or solitary confinement). In 2010, Edward Snowshoe died by suicide while in custody in Edmonton, Alta., after spending 162 days in segregation. These cases have become emblematic of the incredible problems with the continued use of segregation in prisons.
February 29, 2016 - The OHRC is concerned that segregation is being used in a manner that violates prisoners’ rights under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. As a result, the OHRC is calling upon MCSCS to end this practice and, in the meantime implement interim measures, including strict time limits and external oversight, to reduce the harm of segregation on vulnerable prisoners.
By way of introduction, I am the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). On December 16, 2015, the OHRC announced that it will use its mandate under the Ontario Human Right Code (Code) to examine the overrepresentation of Indigenous and racialized children and youth in the child welfare system.