Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Symbol of the Government of Canada

ARCHIVED - RPP 2006-2007
National Parole Board

Warning This page has been archived.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats on the "Contact Us" page.

Section I - Overview

1. Chairperson’s Message

In June 2006, I was appointed Chairperson of the National Parole Board (NPB), a task that I approach with enthusiasm and commitment. Since my appointment, I have spent many hours talking with the members and staff of the Board about the numerous challenges that we face as a small but important partner in Canada’s criminal justice system. With these discussions in mind, I am certain that the Board’s Plans and Priorities for 2006/07 provide the foundation for solid progress in the coming years.

Plans and Priorities for 2006/07 focus on promoting continuous improvement in the quality of conditional release and pardons decisions, and therefore, on the Board’s legislated responsibility for contributing to public safety.

This commitment to continuous improvement is essential as the Board strives to meet the challenges of heavy workloads and important shifts in its operational environment such as the more difficult profile of the offender population, recent trends toward shorter sentences, new knowledge and information about risk assessment and risk management, and the expanding information needs of the Board’s criminal justice partners, victims of crime, and the community.

In this context, the Board will implement numerous measures for improvement in the area of conditional release, including enhanced orientation and training for Board members; provision of more time for Board members to prepare for and conduct hearings; strengthened staff work to ensure that Board members have access to relevant and timely information for decision-making; and an expanded capacity for responding to the information needs of victims. NPB also plans to work with the Correctional Service of Canada to upgrade automated information systems supporting corrections and conditional release. In addition, the Board will continue to refine its process for dealing with pardons, resulting in better information for decision-making, better sharing of information about pardons with NPB’s criminal justice partners, and better service for pardon applicants.

NPB’s commitment to continuous improvement also extends to corporate management. Improvements in these areas will emphasize management accountability through rigorous strategic and operational planning, financial comptrollership, sound procurement strategies, risk-based internal audit and evaluation and effective human resource management highlighted by a human resource plan that integrates business and “people” needs.

Public safety is the highest priority for the National Parole Board. NPB’s Plans and Priorities for 2006/07 position the Board for progress in contributing to public safety and in supporting the broader strategic priorities established for the Public Safety portfolio: fighting serious and organized crime; enhancing the role of Canadians in community safety and security; and protecting the security of Canada. Progress toward Plans and Priorities for 2006/07 will be reflected in upcoming Departmental Performance Reports.


Mario Dion
Chairperson, National Parole Board

2. Management Representation Statement

I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2006/07 Report on Plans and Priorities for the National Parole Board (NPB). This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide to the Preparation of Part III of the 2006/07 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:

  • it adheres to the specific reporting guidance outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat guidance;
  • it is based on the National Parole Board’s program activity architecture (PAA), as reflected in the Management Resources and Results Structure (MRRS);
  • it presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information;
  • it provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to the NPB; and
  • it reports finances based on approved planned spending numbers from the Treasury Board Secretariat.

Name: Mario Dion
Title: Chairperson, National Parole Board

3. Summary Information


The National Parole Board is an independent administrative tribunal responsible for making decisions about the timing and conditions of release of offenders to the community on various forms of conditional release. The Board also makes pardon decisions and recommendations respecting clemency through the Royal Prerogative of Mercy (RPM).

Legislation governing the Board includes the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), the Criminal Records Act (CRA), and the Criminal Code. The CCRA empowers the Board to make conditional release decisions for federal offenders and offenders in provinces and territories without their own parole boards. Provincial boards currently exist in Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia. The CRA authorizes the Board to grant or revoke pardons for convictions under federal acts or regulations. The Governor General or the Governor in Council approves the use of the RPM for those convicted for a federal offence, following investigations by the Board, and recommendations from the Minister of Public Safety.

Mission and Values

The National Parole Board, as part of the criminal justice system, makes independent, quality conditional release and pardon decisions and clemency recommendations. The Board contributes to the protection of society by facilitating, as appropriate, the timely integration of offenders as law-abiding citizens.

The Mission establishes four core values:

  • dedication to the attainment of a just, peaceful and safe society;
  • respect for the dignity of individuals and the rights of all members of society;
  • commitment to openness, integrity and accountability; and
  • belief that qualified and motivated individuals are essential to achieving the Mission.

Financial Resources

2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
$43,007,000 $43,057,000 $43,057,000


Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents)

2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
465 465 465


4. Departmental Priorities

Work Environment

NPB works in a complex environment, demanding effective support for government priorities, including proposals for legislative change, which contribute to sustaining safe and secure communities, careful assessment of pressures within the justice system, thoughtful consideration of public issues and concerns in a dynamic and challenging community context, and rigorous pursuit of innovation and improvement to meet workload pressures.

The Board delivers two legislatively based programs – conditional release and pardons and clemency. The Board also has a corporate service function which provides critical support for program delivery. The conditional release area is, by far, the most complex and resource intensive, accounting for more than 80% of annual program expenditures. Program delivery is labour-intense. Salary costs amount to about 80% of program expenditures each year. Most of the remaining expenditures cover essential operating costs such as Board member travel to parole hearings. The high proportion of resources devoted to legislative responsibilities, seriously constrains resource flexibility. In this context, managing heavy and increasingly complex workloads presents a constant challenge.

NPB’s workloads are driven by factors beyond its control. Legislation governing the Board (Corrections and Conditional Release Act, Criminal Records Act) is prescriptive, specifying when and how the Board must conduct its business (e.g. when to conduct parole hearings). In addition, workloads are driven by the actions of offenders, victims and pardon applicants. In concrete terms, this means that NPB must deal with high workload volumes in tight timeframes, amid intense public scrutiny. For example, each year, the Board must complete 20,000 to 25,000 conditional release reviews, respond to 15,000 contacts from victims, arrange for more than 1,100 observers at its hearings, and send out 5,000 decisions from its registry of decisions in response to requests from victims, the media, and interested citizens. Normally, the Board must also manage about 20,000 pardon applications each year. In the second half of 2005/06, however, the Board experienced a sharp spike in application volumes. This issue is being monitored closely, given the implications of increases in applications for NPB workloads and resource needs.

The Board must also deal with growing complexity in conditional release decision-making as reflected in three important trends. The first is the “hardening” of the federal offender population, characterized by longer criminal histories, greater prevalence of violence, more gang affiliations, more serious substance abuse problems and more serious physical and mental health problems. The federal offender population is also becoming more culturally and ethnically diverse. The second trend involves the shift toward shorter federal prison sentences. In fact, sentences of less than three years have increased by more than 60% in recent years. A more difficult offender population with shorter sentences (and less time to benefit from programs/treatment) challenges NPB’s work to assess factors related to safe reintegration in the community. The third trend is the need for innovative decision processes such as elder-assisted and community-assisted hearings which recognize the needs of Aboriginal offenders, and the increasing numbers of offenders from ethnoracial communities. Complexity has also been influenced by greater involvement of victims and observers at hearings, media and community involvement, and the involvement of lawyers as offenders’ assistants in the hearing process.

From a legislative and policy perspective, the Board must continue to address important challenges such as the information needs of victims of crime, the broad impacts of diversity, the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the justice system and low levels of public confidence in parole and parole boards. All of these issues must be considered in the context of NPB’s enduring commitment to public safety.

In terms of corporate management and accountability, the Board must continue to address the challenges of a modern management agenda comprising sound financial processes and systems, effective human resource planning, and thorough program monitoring (management review, audit, evaluation) to support improvements in management and program delivery. The key challenge in this area involves the Board’s limited capacity to identify the resources necessary to support numerous government-wide management initiatives, given its extensive funding requirements for conditional release and pardons operations.

Priority: Effective management of legislative responsibilities related to conditional release decision-making. Type Planned Spending
2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
Ongoing $32,848,500 $32,948,500 $32,948,500
NPB will continue efforts to strengthen its capacity for quality conditional release decisions. Plans to enhance the effectiveness of conditional release decision-making will address the key factors which influence the complexity and volume of annual workloads (e.g. the current and projected size of the federal offender population, and the characteristics of this population).

To assess workload volumes, the Board combines offender population information with legislatively-based information such as parole eligibility dates and the number of Board members required to make a decision. In fact, the Board uses a detailed resource formula to forecast the number of conditional release reviews it expects to complete each year, and the numbers of Board members and staff required to complete these reviews. Based on data currently available, the Board expects to conduct the following numbers of conditional release reviews over the planning period.

Forecast 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
Conditional Release Reviews 22,450 22,520 22,600
Recent trends (shorter sentences, “harder” offender population) have increased the complexity of conditional release decision-making. In response, the Board has introduced measures to: provide more time for Board members to prepare for and complete conditional release reviews; to enhance orientation and training for Board members; and to strengthen support for the decision-making process. Implementation of these plans began in 2005/06 and will continue in 2006/07.
Performance indicators in this area include:
  • the outcomes of release for parole (successful completion, revocation for a breach of conditions of release or for a new offence);
  • numbers and rates of conviction for violent offences for parolees; and
  • post-warrant expiry reoffending resulting in return to a federal penitentiary.
Priority: Effective management of legislative responsibilities related to open and accountable conditional release processes. Type Planned Spending
2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
Ongoing $7,652,600 $7,652,600 $7,652,600
Planning in this area must address the realities of heavy and steadily increasing workload demands involving the public, victims and the media. For example, the annual number of NPB contacts with victims has almost tripled since 1995/96, rising from about 5,900 to 15,300. Plans must position the Board for quality program delivery in a number of areas such as public information and community engagement, timely and professional sharing of information with victims and other interested parties, consistent with the provisions of the CCRA, assistance for those who wish to observe a hearing or acquire a decision from NPB’s registry of decisions and effective investigation of serious incidents in the community. Workload growth in this area is expected to continue in view of the introduction of a fund to pay the travel costs for victims who attend NPB hearings.

NPB’s plans will continue to focus on measures to address the results of a survey of victims carried-out by the Board in 2003/04. The survey, which sought feedback from victims on the quality of information and assistance provided by NPB, will set the stage for review of a range of measures to introduce more inclusive processes for victims including policy, training, and the use of technology to enhance information sharing. Performance measurement in this area focuses on the timeliness and quality of information and assistance provided, and the results of surveys of users and key stakeholders.

Priority: Improved information management in support of NPB’s conditional release responsibilities through development and implementation of the Conditional Release System (CRS). Type Planned Spending
2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
Previously Committed To be determined To be determined To be determined
Initial plans called for development and implementation of CRS to be completed in 2006. Recent developments with project planning and project funding have, however, created delays in project start-up. As a result, CRS is currently scheduled for implementation in the fall of 2007. NPB and the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) work in close partnership in the delivery of the conditional release program. CSC provides information for NPB decision making, supervises offenders in the community when NPB makes decisions to release offenders and informs NPB when the level of risk changes for offenders in the community. In this environment, timely sharing of accurate information is essential for the effective operations of both agencies. As a result, CRS will be developed in close collaboration with CSC`s efforts to renew its Offender Management System. This approach will ensure consistency and interoperability.
Priority: Support for the development of legislative and policy proposals to strengthen the effectiveness of corrections and conditional release in contributing to public safety. Type Planned Spending
2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
New $100,000 $100,000 $100,000
Priorities for 2006/07 will emphasize information and analysis to support the development of proposals for legislative change, program enhancements and policy refinement, as required.
Priority: Effective management of legislative responsibilities related to the processing of pardon applications, including measures to enhance productivity. Type Planned Spending
2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
Ongoing $2,245,900 $2,245,900 $2,245,900
NPB will continue its multi-year plan to enhance productivity in the processing of pardon applications. Phase 1 dealt with policy refinement and process streamlining. Phase 2 involved the modernization of the automated system used to support pardon application processing, along with the training necessary to support effective use of the system. Phase 3, scheduled for 2006/07, will involve full implementation of process improvements and the new automated pardons applications processing system. Based on these improvements, the Board expects to reduce the average process time for pardon applications in a significant manner.

The Board also plans to review its approach to user fees for pardons, and in particular, the cap of $410,000 that has been placed on the revenues that the Board can use annually in order to provide flexibility for managing fluctuations in application volumes. Plans to review user fees will include public consultations, as required by Treasury Board policy. Consultations may, however, be limited, given the reluctance of pardon applicants or recipients to identify themselves. The key performance measures for the pardon area are the average time required to process applications, and the numbers and rates of pardons revoked annually.

Priority: Integrated human resource and business planning to support modernization of human resource management in the federal government Type Planned Spending
2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
Ongoing $110,000 $110,000 $110,000
NPB will continue to develop a business plan that integrates human resource and program delivery needs. Priorities for this plan will include: recruitment and retention of qualified employees in order to counter anticipated increases in staff turnover as a result of ageing in the workforce; sound knowledge management, training and development to sustain quality program delivery in the midst of significant levels of staff turnover; effective response to the growing diversity within Canadian communities (e.g. ethno cultural trends, language, gender issues, etc); and continued implementation of the new Public Service Employment Act. In this context, the Board has developed internal policies to deal with choice of the appointment process, areas of selection, and corrective actions and revocations, as required by the Public Service Commission, and provided training for NPB managers to support delegation of authority for staffing under the new Public Service Employment Act.
Progress on this priority will be monitored and assessed on several levels (recruitment, training, diversity, etc.). Progress will be tracked regularly through management reviews and studies and employee surveys, as required, to identify areas where change and improvement are necessary.