The Office of the Correctional Investigator is an independent agency established to address offender complaints (acts as an Ombudsman for federal offenders). The Correctional Investigator conducts investigations into the problems of offenders related to decisions, recommendations, acts or omissions of Corrections Service Canada (CSC) that negatively affect offenders either individually or as a group.
The Correctional Investigator is interested in ensuring that offender complaints are fairly addressed in a timely fashion. Another role of the Office of the Correctional Investigator is to review and make recommendations on the Correctional Service’s policies to ensure that areas of concern are properly addressed.
The Office responds to approximately 5,000 to 6,000 offender complaints each year and will meet with inmate committees and other offender organizations upon request.
Who Can Make a Complaint
- Federal offenders (incarcerated or in the community)
- An offender on behalf of another offender
- Family and friends on behalf of an offender
How to Make a Complaint
Office of the Correctional Investigator
P.O. Box 3421, Station “D”
Ottawa ON K1P 6L4
1-877-885-8848 (Toll Free)
Monday-Friday: 8:30 – 16:30 EST
Outside of regular office hours (evenings, weekends, holidays), you can leave a message on the answering machine.
During scheduled institutional visits by staff of the Office of the Correctional Investigator
The complaint should include the following information:
- Your Name
- FPS Number
- Institution or telephone and mailing address
- A short description of the issue
- Steps that have been taken to resolve the matter at your institution or within the community
All communications between offenders and the Office of the Correctional Investigator are confidential (including phone conversations). Mail to and from the Office of the Correctional Investigator must be delivered unopened, by law.
Once a complaint is made the office usually takes the following steps:
- Intake and Assessment: Staff at the Office of the Correctional Investigator will prioritize your complaint and may provide you with information about any law and/or policy which relates to your issue or ask you to try and resolve the matter in other ways.
- Inquiry: Once reviewed the complaint is assigned an investigative staff member, contact may be made with CSC officials try and resolve the complaint quickly. This inquiry will help the investigative staff determine whether or not the CSC’s actions or decisions were fair, appropriate and in compliance with policy and law. If it is determined that the CSC’s actions were appropriate, you will be advised in writing and no further action will be taken.
- Investigation: Where it appears that CSC actions or decisions may have been unfair, inappropriate or not in compliance with policy and law, then we will investigate. The investigation may require many steps including:
- Contacting you directly to discuss your complaint;
- Requesting access to relevant CSC case records, files and decisions;
- Interviewing involved staff or witnesses;
- Conducting a site visit; and
- Reviewing relevant laws, policies, procedures and guidelines.
- Response: If the complaint does not involve an Inquiry, you can expect a response within 15 business days via phone, mail or visitation. If the complaint passes the Inquiry stage, you will receive written notification within approximately 30 business days about whether an investigation will be made. If an investigation is conducted notification may vary but you can expect to receive written notification of the findings within 45 business days.
The Correctional Investigator is committed to resolving offender complaints as quickly as possible. The timelines shown above are the upper limits, and problems may be resolved more quickly. The OCI also ensures that emergency matters are dealt with on a priority basis.
NOTE: An inmate or their loved one, cannot be disciplined or punished for contacting the Office of the Correctional Investigator. The Correctional Investigator has full freedom of choice in deciding whether to conduct an investigation of an inmate’s complaint.