COVID-19

NEWS AND UPDATES

Inmate COVID-19 testing in federal correctional institutions.

APRIL 16, 2020

There are currently about 600 fewer detainees in Quebec’s 17 provincial prisons than there were before the COVID-19 pandemic began: according to figures from the Department of Public Safety obtained by La Presse.

APRIL 15, 2020

The Parole Board of Canada’s response to the AAADCQ. The measures taken by the PBC are now available on their website.  

The Canadian Human Rights Commission issues a statement calling for the release of low-risk inmates to slow the spread of COVID-19 in prison settings:
Déclaration de la Commission canadienne des droits de la personne du 12 avril 2020

The Ligue des droits de la personne denounces Prime Minister Legault’s claim that the situation of detained peoples had not been brought to the government’s attention.

APRIL 12, 2020

COVID-19 continues to progress in Quebec federal penitentiaries.

APRIL 9, 2020

The AAADCQ, as well as several organizations and lawyers, denounce the silence and the lack of transparency of federal authorities concerning the implementation of policies or measures to mitigate the risk of the spread of the coronavirus and to promote the release of certain detainees in the current context.

Interview with the association’s president, Me Rita Magloé Francis – Radio-Canada (French Only).

Interview with the association’s vice-president, Me Sylvie Bordelais – Radio-Canada (French Only). 

Interview with the association’s vice-president, Me Sylvie Bordelais – QUB Radio (French Only).

APRIL 8, 2020

The Correctional Service of Canada sends their response to the AAADCQ concerning the measures taken in the context of the health crisis. 

APRIL 7, 2020

Federal health professionals say that Canada’s prisons do not meet social distancing guidelines to combat COVID-19 and are requesting that as many inmates as possible be released.

APRIL 6, 2020

The AAADCQ requests that the Parole Board of Canada communicate directives and policies related to the current health crisis as soon as possible.

Open Letter from Medical Professionals to Canadian Federal, Provincial and Territorial Governments requesting that all level’s of government take steps to mitigate the risk of the coronavirus outbreak in detention facilities.

The Government of the Northwest Territories response to the AAADCQ regarding measures taken in the context of the pandemic.

Surgical masks will be distributed as of Tuesday to correctional officers at penitentiaries, and in the coming days to inmates, in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 in federal institutions.

According to the latest figures provided by CSC , 31 employees were carriers of the coronavirus.

APRIL 3, 2020

The AAADCQ asks what policies and / or special measures have been implemented to promote the release of certain people incarcerated in the context of the current pandemic.

APRIL 2, 2020

Following the statement by the Minister of Public Safety, the Canadian Prison Law Association calls for emergency measures.

MARCH 30, 2020

The AAADCQ reminds the government of Quebec that the confinement of detained persons should be the ultimate solution. It is more than urgent that prison and government authorities take exceptional measures to immediately reduce the prison population and act early to avoid a health disaster in detention centers.

The AADCQ calls on CSC to take measures to immediately reduce the prison population.

Public health has confirmed that two inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at Port-Cartier Institution in Quebec:

As of March 28, 2020, 50 tests were conducted on inmates in institutions with 45 negative, two positive and three are pending.

MARCH 28, 2020

Senator Kim Pate urges Public Safety to release detainees to limit the spread of coronavirus in penitentiaries.

MARCH 27, 2020

Interview with Me Rita Magloé Francis : “Les prisonniers au temps de la pandémie” (French Only).

Nine correctional officers from Port-Cartier Institution tested positive for COVID-19.

The conditions of isolation of prisoners due to the Coronavirus are cause for concern.

MARCH 26, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces that discussions discussions have been initiated with correctional services..

The Ligue des droits et libertés issues a new press release denouncing the lack of measures taken in detention facilities and calling for the accelerated release of the detained persons.

A first inmate is declared positive for COVID-19 at the Sherbrooke detention center.

A quarantine area will be set up in the 17 Quebec prisons. New defendants and detainees will be placed in this area for 14 days.

Communitas send a letter to the Minister of Public Safety and to the CSC Commissioner requesting a drastic reduction in the populations of the penitentiaries and residential facilities without, however, throwing out the bedrock principle of public safety. Communitas is a non-profit community organization working for the social reintegration of incarcerated people.

The Canadian Prison Law Association calls on Federal, Provincial and Territorial Justice Ministers and on the Correctional Service of Canada to urgently put in place a plan to release and support Aboriginal offenders.

Northwest Territories Government response to COVID-19 pandemic: April 6, 2020

International: The Attorney General of the United States issued instructions on Thursday in favour of house arrest as an alternative to the detention of certain vulnerable detainees.

International : Afghanistan will release up to 10,000 prisoners within the next ten days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

MARCH 25, 2020

Ontario: Prisoners are released in Ontario to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak.

MARCH 24, 2020

The Canadian Prison Law Association calls to reduce incarceration during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Quebec Parole Board announces that it will hold hearings by videoconference.

MARCH 23, 2020

The AAADCQ urges Public Safety and the Quebec Parole Board to adopt measures to limit the risks of the spread of the coronavirus.

Answer of the Quebec Parole Board : MARCH 24, 2020

The AAADCQ issues a press release denouncing the absence of measures taken to minimize the risk of the spread of the coronavirus in Quebec prisons.

Me Fergus (Chip) O’Connor, seasoned attorney and author of Halsbury’s Laws of Canada Penitentiaries, Jails and Prisoners, advocates for the reduction of the prison population to the Department of Justice and the Attorney General of Canada.

MARCH 22, 2020

International : Iowa accelerates the release of inmates to contain the spread of COVID-19.

MARCH 21, 2020

The government suspended by decree, the obligation for convicts to serve intermittent sentences in provincial prisons, to prevent the risks of COVID-19 spread and contamination in provincial establishments.

MARCH 20, 2020

The AAADCQ publishes a press release calling on the Quebec and Canadian governments to urgently adopt exceptional measures to reduce the prison population and to act proactively to avoid a health crisis in detention facilities.

Press Review :
Droit Inc.
Le Journal de Montréal
La Presse

The John Howard Society of Quebec and Alter justice publish an open letter requesting that the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada take emergency measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in prisons (provincial and federal).

The province of Ontario releases some non-violent detainees to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The Ontario Superior Court considers the risk of a pandemic in prisons as a factor favoring bail.

International : Iran temporarily releases 85,000 prisoners due to pandemic health risks..

MARCH 19, 2020

The AAADCQ sends the Regional Deputy Commissioner a letter requesting the implementation of measures in order for lawyers to continue to provide essential services affecting the freedom of prisoners.

The Ligue des droits et libertés (LDL) and attorneys, particularly those of the Association of Quebec Prison Lawyers (AAADCQ), ask that certain categories of prisoners or accused persons be released in provincial prisons and in penitentiaries in Quebec, to reduce the risks of COVID-19 contamination.

The Ligue des droits et libertés issues a press release urging the government to release certain imprisoned persons in order to contain the spread of COVID-19 in detention facilities.

The Prisoner’s Legal Services calls for the reduction of the prison population to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The Correctional Service of Canada suspends Disciplinary hearings. 

The Parole Board of Canada announces that observers are banned at a hearing and lawyers are to appear by telephone.

Note to our members: The PBC is responsible for establishing telephone communication with the lawyer.. 

Parole Board of Canada

A possible case of COVID-19 is reported at Rivière-des-Prairies detention facility and more inmates are being put in isolation due to suspected cases at Bordeaux.

The absence of measures to avoid a possible spread of COVID-19 in penitentiaries is denounced.

International : New York announces the release of “vulnerable” incarcerated individuals to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

MARCH 18, 2020

The AAADCQ sends a letter to the Regional Director of Health Services of the Correctional Service of Canada, to all branches of penitentiaries, to the Parole Board of Canada, and to the Honorable Kim Pate, requesting reasonable accommodation in the context of the health emergency. Notably, that parole officers be able to directly email or fax counsel documents pertaining to detainees.

The Correctional Service of Canada suspends client/lawyer visits.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is considering the temporary release of certain detainees.

MARCH 17, 2020

Me Fergus (Chip) O’Connor, seasoned attorney and author of Halsbury’s Laws of Canada Penitentiaries, Jails and Prisoners, is asking the PBC for action to help stop the spread of the virus in penitentiaries.

The Alberta Prison Justice Society denounces the absence of aggressive measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus in penitentiaries.

The Alberta Prison Justice Society calls for the reduction of the prison population in the context of the health crisis.

Detainees at Bowden Federal Institution in Alberta are being held in isolation due to suspected case of COVID-19.

Given the state of health emergency, the Court of Appeal, except where noted, reschedule all of the hearings that were to be held between March 17 and April 3, 2020, inclusively, whether the hearing was to take place before a panel of judges or a judge sitting alone.

MARCH 16, 2020

The Canadian Prison Law Association calls for measures ensuring the the right to counsel in penitentiaries is respected in the context of the health crisis.

International : Italy grants early release to nearly 3,000 prisoners to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

MARCH 15, 2020

The Quebec Parole Board advises lawyers that hearings will continue as per usual.

MARCH 14, 2020

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) suspends family visits.

CSC Press Release

MARCH 13, 2020

Provincial prisons are suspending family visits, but are maintaining visits from lawyer by videoconference and in contactless visiting rooms.

Quebec announces that schools, cegeps and universities in the province are closing for two weeks.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec, Ms. Sonia LeBel, in collaboration with the Superior Court of Quebec, the Court of Quebec and the Quebec Bar, announce a significant reduction of the services in courthouses.

MARCH 12, 2020

The Government of Quebec instructs all persons returning from abroad OR who have flu-like symptoms to “place themselves in isolation for 14 days“. Further orders have been given for compulsory isolation for all public service employees and for all health, education and childcare personnel, private and public, who return from abroad; . Any gathering of more than 250 people is prohibited.