skip to Main Content

The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, PC MP
Minister of Public Safety Canada
House of Commons

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada , K1A 0A6

July 13, 2023

Dear Minister Mendicino,

The Canadian Criminal Justice Association (CCJA) is one of the longest serving non-governmental organizations of professionals and lay-persons interested in criminal justice issues in Canada. The CCJA began its work in 1919 and has testified before various Parliamentary committees on numerous occasions. Our Association consists of approximately 200 members from across the country. We publish the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and the Justice Report. You can learn more about the CCJA here.

We are writing because we have become concerned about the extent to which the recent public discussion concerning the transfer of Paul Bernardo by the Correctional Service of Canada from a maximum security institution to a medium security institution has become politicized and sensationalized. As you know, the rule of law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms require that we treat all individuals equally before and under the law, no matter how high in status or how infamous and reviled.

In addition, we are concerned that the time-honoured obligation of our political leaders and government officials to explain the administration of the law to Parliament and the public, has not been fulfilled in this case. If those who are responsible for the law and its administration do not help parliamentarians and the public understand the law, its purpose and application, one of the essential foundations of evidence-based policy and decision-making is undermined. We believe that publicly available accurate and timely information, especially on these difficult issues, is essential in a free and democratic society.

Further, the statute that governs the operation of the Correctional Service of Canada and hence the transfer of federal inmates, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (S.C. 1992, c. 20), states in section 4 (inter alia):

4. The principles that guide the Service in achieving the purpose referred to in section 3 are as follows:

(b) the Service enhances its effectiveness and openness through the timely exchange of relevant information with victims, offenders and other components of the criminal justice system and through communication about its correctional policies and programs to victims, offenders and the public; (underline added) …

You may have seen that an important part of our core mandate and objectives is “(t)o foster a greater public understanding of criminal justice issues”. Similarly, your Mandate letter from the Prime Minister refers to the Prime Minister’s statement on Open and Accountable Government which references similar objectives.

We are always available to meet with you or your staff and assist in any way you may find helpful.


Irving Kulik
Executive Director/directeur générale

Alberta Criminal Justice Association, British Columbia Criminal Justice Association, Manitoba Criminal Justice Association, New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island Criminal Justice Association, Nova Scotia Criminal Justice Association, Criminal Justice Association of Ontario, Société de criminologie du Québec, Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety, University of Regina, Saskatchewan

Cc: The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Shalene Curtis-Micallef, Deputy Minister of Justice, Deputy Attorney General of Canada
Shawn Tupper, Deputy Minister, Public Safety Canada
Anne Kelly, Commissioner, Correctional Service of Canada

  • News
Back To Top
×Close search