Simon Says

Bringing clarity to the inner workings of our legal system

Can parole decisions be appealed?

Yes. Both federal and provincial inmates can challenge parole decisions, but the review mechanisms are different.

Inmates can appeal a denial of parole, conditions imposed on parole, revocation decisions, detention orders, etc.


Federal inmates

Parole decisions for federal inmates are made by the Parole Board of Canada.

Their decisions can be appealed if the Board:

  • failed to observe a principle of fundamental justice;
  • made an error of law;
  • breached or failed to apply one of its policies;
  • based its decision on erroneous or incomplete information; or
  • acted without jurisdiction, or beyond its jurisdiction, or failed to exercise its jurisdiction.

An inmate needs to file a written notice of appeal within two months of the date of the decision.

The Parole Board of Canada’s Appeal Division does a file review (there is no in-person hearing) and then releases a decision.

The Appeal Division will either confirm the original decision, order a new review of the case, or substitute its own decision.


Provincial inmates

Parole decisions for provincial inmates are made by the Ontario Parole Board.

Inmates can request that the chair of the Board conduct a review. There are no set grounds of appeal for decisions of the Ontario Parole Board, and instead the chair has broad authority to order a new hearing (if appropriate).

The types of issues that might allow for a new hearing include: factual errors in the decision, procedural unfairness, new information about the offender or his/her release plan, etc.

The chair reviews the file and will either order a new hearing or uphold the original decision of the Board.


Appeals serve an important function in correctional law by providing oversight of the Board’s decision-making. However, appeals are heard within an administrative system that has a very particular set of rules and policies.

Borys Law has successfully challenged decisions of the Parole Board of Canada and the Ontario Parole Board. To learn more about how we can help challenge a parole decision, contact us.


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