The Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award

In 2008, the Office of the Correctional Investigator, Canada's federal prison Ombudsman, celebrated its 35th anniversary. Throughout the history of this small agency, it worked to keep up with increasing demands for its Ombudsman services and to fulfill its commitment to remain accessible and responsive to its clientele. Its story is one of perseverence in sustaining the integrity of its core mandate to address offender concerns, which at times has been difficult and unpopular. For 18 years, Mr. Ed McIsaac epitomized tenacity, determination and perseverence through his work and leadership as the Executive Director of the Office of the Correctional Investigator.

This award commemorates the work and dedication of Mr. Ed McIsaac and honours those who demonstrate a similar lifelong commitment to improving corrections and protecting the human rights of the incarcerated.

Mr. Ed McIsaac's actions continue to serve as an example to all those involved in correctional practice.  His relentless desire to uphold the human rights of prisoners was the force behind numerous reforms promoting social justice in federal Corrections.  Mr. McIsaac began his career with the Office of the Correctional Investigator in 1981, then became the Director of Investigation in 1986, and was appointed as Executive Director in 1990 - a position he held until his retirement in 2009.  Throughout his career, he inspired his staff and rallied support from various community organizations to defend against unfair treatment and to denounce systemic injustice in federal Corrections. During his impressive career at the OCI, he made countless recommendations which would improve correctional effectiveness, protect the human rights of offenders and enhance public safety.

The award is presented annually to a person or an organization. Award recipients are those whose social justice commitment and persistent efforts have contributed significantly to the advancement of human rights and correctional practice in Canada.

Upon his retirement, Mr. McIsaac was presented with a sculpture entitled Medicine Man. This work was created by Ms. Audrey Greyeyes, a Plains Cree artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. It symbolizes wisdom, clarity of thought and leadership. Award recipients will receive a reproduction of the statue and a $250 cash donation will be presented to a charity of their choice.

Choosing the Candidates

The National Selection Committee consists of:

  • The Correctional Investigator, chairperson;
  • One voluntary sector representative (to be selected by the NAACJ); and
  • A representative of the Government of Canada (to be selected by the Ministry of Public Safety).

The Committee seeks candidates who meet the following criteria:

  • they are Canadian citizens;
  • leadership in human rights and Corrections have played a significant role throughout their career;
  • their efforts have significantly improved the treatment of offenders in Canada and consequently public safety;
  • they have demonstrated leadership, creativity, cooperation and hard work in advancing social justice in Corrections; and,
  • they have created effective partnerships with the public, the voluntary sector, local communities and/or governments to achieve their goals.

Nomination Procedures

A candidate for the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award may be sponsored by an organization, or individuals - whom are unrelated to the candidate.  The application must include the following information:

  • name, address and telephone number of the candidate;  
  • a Personal Release and Consent Form, signed by the candidate;
  • names, addresses and telephone numbers of the sponsor(s); and,
  • a detailed description of the candidate's accomplishments under each of the criteria, including relevant documents (e.g., publications, letters of support, awards, press clippings).

Candidates will not be considered posthumously.

This information must be submitted by June 1st to:

Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award Secretariat
Office of the Correctional Investigator
P.O. Box 3421
Station "D"
Ottawa ON K1P 6L4

Privacy Notice

All personal information created, held or collected by the Office of the Correctional Investigator for the sole purpose of administering the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award is protected under the Privacy Act. This means that individuals will be informed of the purpose for which it is being collected and how to exercise their right of access to that information. Individuals will be asked for their consent where appropriate.

As it relates to personal information, the Office of the Correctional Investigator’s Personal Information Bank (Info Source) Record Number: OCI BEC 035 states

Purpose: Personal information is used to administer, determine eligibility, disburse funds in respect of and obtain views and opinions about the nominees for the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award. Personal information is collected pursuant to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act

Consistent Uses: The information may be used or disclosed for the following purposes: maintaining an inventory of nominees for the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award. Nominee information may be shared with any province or institution relevant to the nominee. Some information about recipients of the award is published on the Internet.

Retention and Disposal Standards: Records will be retained for 2 years after the nomination process is closed on June 1st of each year. No record shall be destroyed or disposed of before Library and Archives Canada has issued a records disposition authority.

Some of the information on this Web page has been provided by external sources. The Office of the Correctional Investigator is not responsible for the accuracy, reliability or currency of the information supplied by external sources. Users wishing to rely upon this information should consult directly with the source of the information.