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Can CSC disclose information about prisoners with victims?

In general, Correctional Service Canada is required to respect the privacy of prisoners and not disclose information without consent. However, information can be shared in certain circumstances, particularly when it comes to victims.

CSC will provide victims with certain information, if requested. This includes the prisoner’s name, the offence the prisoner was convicted of, the length of the prisoner’s sentence, and eligibility dates and review dates for temporary absences and parole.

CSC also has discretion to disclose other pieces of information if the interests of the victim clearly outweigh any invasion of the prisoner’s privacy. For example:

  • The prisoner’s age
  • Whether the prisoner is serving their sentence
  • A summary of the reasons for any transfer
  • Information about the programs the prisoner is recommended for
  • Serious disciplinary offences the prisoner has committed
  • Information about the prisoner’s correctional plan
  • Whether the prisoner has been deported during their sentence
  • Whether the prisoner is in custody (and, if not, why the prisoner is not in custody)

If a prisoner is released on temporary absence, work release, parole, or statutory release, CSC is to inform the victims of the date, conditions, and destination of the release if it would not negatively impact public safety. Similarly, a photo will be provided to victims if it will not impact public safety.

Prisoners should note that CSC’s disclosure obligation to victims is ongoing, meaning information is to be shared with victims regularly. Information can also be shared with people other than victims. For example, victims can designate representatives to receive information on their behalf. Even those who are not victims may have a right to information, if they can show they suffered physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss from the prisoner’s actions. This applies even if the prisoner was not prosecuted for that act (but only if a complaint was made to the police or Crown Attorney or an information was laid).

Past performance is not indicative of future results, and outcomes will vary according to the facts of individual cases. This site is intended for information purposes only. None of the information on this site should be considered “legal advice.” Information on this website (including blog posts and answers to frequently asked questions) is the opinion of the author only and is not warrantied or guaranteed to be an exhaustive, definitive, or accurate statement of the law. The proper interpretation and application of the law must always be done on a case specific basis; therefore, you should not rely on the general information on this site as a substitute for proper legal research or the advice of a licenced lawyer.