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A Summary of Matthew G. Yeager’s 1994 publication The First 75 Years: A History of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association 1919 to 1994

While the roots of the CCJA go back as far as 1892 to the Prisoners’ Aid Association of Montreal, its birth actually took place with the 1919 merger of the Honour League and the National Prison Reform Association to form the Canadian Prisoners’ Welfare Association (CPWA). The CPWA then merged in 1931 with the Prisoners’ Aid Association of Montreal. A further merger in 1956 with the Canadian Penal Association created the Canadian Corrections Association. In 1970 the name was changed to the Canadian Criminology and Corrections Association. In 1977 the Association became an independent organization under its own Federal charter as the Canadian Association for the Prevention of Crime. Finally, in 1984 the Association was renamed the Canadian Criminal Justice Association.

From its beginning, the CCJA has played a vital and prominent role in the development of modern correctional and criminal justice thought and policy. Some of the highlights of the early accomplishments include:

The Archambault Commission formed in 1936 to investigate the penitentiary system in Canada and invited members of the Association to testify on behalf of all prisoner aid bodies across Canada, and many of their recommendations were incorporated into the final report in 1938. In 1951, the Association provided input to the Minister of Justice’s Royal Commission on the Revision of the Criminal Code which recommended numerous changes to the Code, including the power of a court to suspend sentence without the consent of the Crown, as well as opposition to any minimum, mandatory, sentence;

In 1953, the Association went on record as favouring the abolition of the death penalty in Canada;

During the early years, briefs on a family court system, gambling policy, parole services in Canada, revision of the Juvenile Delinquency Act, and a project to hold conferences for all the training schools across Canada were submitted;

Members of the Board were involved in a variety of practical measures to assist prisoners, including coverage under the Unemployment Insurance Act for inmates, acceptance of criminal offenders in the armed services, education for the correctional agencies, and promotion of volunteer prison visitors;

The Association raised the serious problem of understaffing and turnover that plagued the reformatories and penitentiaries;

In 1959 the Association approved several resolutions opposing the construction of large penitentiaries, suggesting that a person with a treatment background be appointed to the Planning Commission on Penal Reform, and complaining that the amount of funds appropriated for the voluntary sector ($135,000) was “totally inadequate”;

In 1960, Board members expressed concern about the state of criminal statistics across Canada, and formed the Records, Statistics, and Research Committee to advise the Dominion Bureau of Statistics on measures to improve the collection of criminal statistics;

Because of the pressing need to evaluate various proposed bills in the House of Commons, the Association established a Committee on Legislation in 1961. Its first business was to review the Juvenile Delinquents Act in conjunction with a departmental study announced by the Minister of Justice;

In 1964, the then Minister of Justice, Guy Favreau, appointed a Special Committee on Corrections (later known as the Ouimet Committee) to study the criminal justice system in Canada. William McGrath, Executive Secretary to the Association, was appointed as both a member and Secretary to the Ouimet Committee. In addition, the Association’s new Associate Secretary, Mr. Claude Bouchard, was also appointed to the Secretariat of the Committee. In the report titled “Toward Unity: Criminal Justice and Corrections” the Ouimet Report urged Government to minimize the use of imprisonment.

In mid-1965, the Association asked the Minister of Justice to delay construction of any further maximum security penitentiaries — particularly those slated for special detention units. Following up in 1966, the Association organized a delegation of some 48 organizations which met with the Solicitor General and opposed any further building of special detention units. As a result of these discussions, the Solicitor General temporarily stopped further construction of these maximum security units, and asked the parliamentary committee to report on whether these institutions were efficient;

Subsequent to the April 1971 riot at Kingston Penitentiary, Executive Director William McGrath was appointed to the Commission of Inquiry to investigate the riot, and its report attributed the riot to a failure to “establish and maintain a strong rehabilitative program”;

At the request of the Solicitor General, members of the Association were invited to participate in a study of maximum security prisons which voiced reservations about facilities such as Archambault Penitentiary. This resulted in the “Hans Mohr Report,” which recommended population limits for penitentiaries as well as
suggestions as to site location;

The Association continues the good work begun some 94 years ago in terms of policy advice to governments, public and professional education. Through the work of its members across Canada, its committees and provincial affiliates, CCJA remains a significant voice in promoting just and equitable criminal justice policies. In 1972 the Manitoba Society of Criminology joined as an affiliate member. By 1974 with the addition of the Ontario Association of Corrections and Criminology as an affiliate, the number of affiliates grew to five. Today, we can boast affiliates in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick/PEI.

CCJA is extremely proud of its peer-reviewed journal. The first issue of The Canadian Journal of Corrections was published in October 1958. It contained an editorial by Frank Potts on inmate classification and diagnosis. The Journal later became the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Corrections and in 1978 it
changed its name to The Canadian Journal of Criminology. In October 1961 it published a survey of research undertaken by Canadians in the field of criminal justice. The survey, chaired by Tadeusz Grygier and Bruno Cormier, lead to the subsequent increase in university-sponsored research on crime and justice.

Related to this, in 1967 the Association played a leading role in the creation of the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. Private funds had initially been secured to start a program at the University of Toronto. The proposed department at Toronto failed to materialize; and instead, the University of Ottawa agreed to start a department devoted to criminology. It recruited Association member Tadeusz Grygier as its first chairperson. Meanwhile, plans were well underway at the Centre of Criminology(University of Montreal) to create courses leading to both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in criminology.

In January 2003, the Journal adopted its current title, the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, emphasizing its broader subject matter.

During 1978, a new logo for the Association was released. It consisted of a black and red circular design that has broad, symbolic meaning. In more recent times, we updated the logo colours to blue and red.

By 1991, the Association was regularly producing three issues of the Canadian Journal of Criminology, three issues of the Justice Report, six issues of the Bulletin, the Justice Directory of Services, the Directory of Services to Victims of Crime, in addition to numerous policy briefs to Parliament and also celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Directory of Services, the only complete listing of justice services in Canada. Today we produce four regular issues of the Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice as well as special subject matter issues, a more contemporary Justice Report magazine four times a year and a weekly electronic newsletter. In addition, we publish the highlights of our Policy papers in a biennial publication entitled Viewpoints: Position Papers.

The Presidents of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association

Since the amalgamation in 1956. Association presidents have come from a wide variety of occupations, including the judiciary, voluntary sector, federal and provincial corrections, parole boards, provincial legislatures, and academia, to name a few.

2022-2024Tim Veresh

1956-1958 Hon. James C. McRuer
Chief Justice — Supreme Court of Ontario
1958-1960 Mr. S. Rocksborough-Smith
Deputy Director of Corrections — Vancouver, BC.
1960-1962 Mr. A.M. Kirkpatrick
John Howard Society of Ontario
1962-1965 Rév. Pere Noël Mailloux, O.P.
Institut de psychologie — Université de Montréal, QC
1965-1967 Magistrate E. W. Kenrick
Court House — Haileybury, ON
1967-1969 B. W. Henheffer
Department of Justice (Corrections) — Fredericton, NB
1969-1971 Frank P. Miller
National Parole Board — Ottawa, ON
1971-1973 Hon. Jean-Paul Lavallée
Cour du Bien-être social — Montreal, QC
1973-1975 Archibald Whitelaw, Q.C.
Barrister & Solicitor — Toronto, ON
1975-1977 Hon. Ian V. Dubienski
Judge, Provincial Court, Criminal Division — Winnipeg, MB
1977-1978 Hon. Jean-Pierre Beaulne
Cour Provinciale, Division Criminelle — Ottawa, ON
1978-1981 W. Frank Chafe
Canadian Labour Congress — Ottawa, ON
1981-1983 Ms. Gillian Sandeman
Elizabeth Fry Society of Toronto — Toronto, ON
1983-1985 Marie-Andrée Bertrand
École de Criminologie — Université de Montréal
1985-1987 Ms. Melanie Lautt
Department of Sociology — University of Saskatchewan, SK
1987-1989 John Braithwaite
Correctional Service of Canada — Ottawa, ON
1989-1991 William F. Foster
Regional Director of Corrections — Kamloops, BC
1991-1994 Paul J. Williams
John Howard Society of Québec — Montreal, QC
1994-1995 Howard Sapers, M.L.A.
Assembly of Alberta — Edmonton, AB
1995-1997 Ken Sandhu
Ontario Board of Parole — Toronto, ON
1997-1999 Cecile Toutant
Institut Philippe Pinel — Montreal, QC
1999-2001 Robert Tropak
Lawyer — Edmonton, AB
2001-2003 Elizabeth White
St. Leonard’s Society of Canada — Toronto, ON
2003-2005 Willie Gibbs
Retired Chair of the National Parole Board — Ottawa, ON
2005-2007 Dan MacRury
NS Prosecution Services — Halifax, NS
2007-2009 Katherine Gregory
Calgary, AB
2009- 2011 Hugh Osler
Salvation Army — Toronto, ON
2011-2013 Roland LaHaye
Mount Royal University — Calgary, AB
2013-2015 Dr. Verona Singer
2015-2017 Hirsch Greenberg
2017-2019 Mihael Cole
2019-2022 Angela Falk
2022-2024 Tim Veresh, BC

List of Executive Directors

1951-1982 William J. McGrath
1983-1987 Josh Zambrowsky
1987-2002 Gaston St-Jean
2002-2004 Glenn Thompson
2004-Present Irving Kulik
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