For Immediate Release
ARCHIVED - The Current Correctional Investigator Acted Quickly to Strengthen Financial Management and Human Resources Policies and Procedures
OTTAWA, November 28, 2006 - Mr. Howard Sapers, the current Correctional Investigator for Canada, has already acted to address many of the concerns raised by the Auditor General, as well as started the process to recover money as recommended in the audit report.
"I fully agree with the Auditor General's recommendations directed at the Office of the Correctional Investigator and can report the Office has made significant progress to address each of them. All of the Office's management control mechanisms have been reviewed and strengthened," the current Correctional Investigator said.
Mr. Sapers also stated his Office is committed to do what is necessary and possible to further remedy past improprieties that took place under his predecessor's administration. To this end, the Office will fully cooperate with the Government of Canada's efforts to identify and recover money improperly paid out and to review the need for disciplinary measures.
Mr. Sapers moved quickly to strengthen the Office's governance, financial management, human resources policies, and performance measurement and reporting, upon his appointment in April, 2004.
"It was clear when I started the job two and one half years ago that management and accountability systems should be reviewed and strengthened. To address identified weaknesses, I requested several initiatives be developed and implemented," said Mr. Sapers.
Working with the Treasury Board Secretariat, the new Correctional Investigator has also secured the services of a management consultant who will be the interim Senior Financial Officer for the Office. He will also review the Office's new financial and human resources management procedures and advise if there is anything more that can be done to address the recommendations of the Auditor General and ensure compliance with Treasury Board policies. Finally, the Office will enter into a new agreement which will detail expectations from the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness as its service provider for financial and human resources management.
The Office will also support Central Agencies in the development and application of any government-wide policy or procedural change aimed at strengthening agency accountability frameworks. Mr. Sapers acknowledged the findings of the Auditor General were serious and noted that, "these improprieties of the past do not alter the need for or the mandate of an independent Correctional Investigator. I have been, and will continue to be, committed to fulfilling my ombudsman role with integrity, diligence and accountability."
Independent prison oversight is critical to accountability in a democratic society. Prisons are by nature closed institutions, often far from the public eye, where one group of people has considerable power over another. However well prisons are run, the potential for abuse is always present. For more than 33 years, the Office of the Correctional Investigator has played a vital role providing independent oversight and objective investigations of offender complaints as well as making recommendations to address systemic issues to improve Canada's prison system, and ultimately public safety.
The Correctional Investigator is mandated by an Act of Parliament to be an independent Ombudsman for federal offenders. This work includes ensuring that systemic areas of concern are identified and addressed. The latest Annual Report 2005-06, as well as the Correctional Service of Canada's response to it, is on the Correctional Investigator's Web site at www.oci-bec.gc.ca.
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For further information:
Ivan Zinger, LL.B., Ph.D.
Senior Policy Advisor and Legal Counsel
Office of the Correctional Investigator
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