Overview

Mandate and Organization

The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is an agency within the Portfolio of Public Safety Canada which also includes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).

The Board is an independent administrative tribunal that has exclusive authority under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to grant, deny, cancel, terminate or revoke day parole and full parole. The PBC may also order certain offenders to be held in prison until the end of their sentence. This is called detention during the period of statutory release. In addition, the Board makes conditional release decisions for offenders in provinces and territories that do not have their own parole boards. Only the provinces of Ontario and Quebec have their own parole boards that have authority to grant releases to offenders serving less than two years in prison.

The Board is also responsible for making decisions to order, refuse to order and revoke record suspensions under the Criminal Records Act and the Criminal Code of Canada. A record suspension is a formal attempt to remove the stigma of a criminal record for people who, having been convicted of an offence, have satisfied the sentence and remained crime free. The Board also makes recommendations for the exercise of clemency through the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is headed by a Chairperson who reports to Parliament, through Public Safety Canada. The Minister, however, does not have statutory authority to give direction to the Chairperson or other members of the PBC in the exercise of their decision-making powers regarding the conditional release of offenders. This structure helps to ensure the PBC's impartiality and the integrity of the parole decision making process.

Outcomes of the PBC daily work can be found in the annual Performance Monitoring Reports. The report provides performance results and statistical information for the past five years on parole and other conditional release programs.

The PBC's national office is located in Ottawa and there are five regional offices located in: Moncton (New Brunswick), Montreal (Quebec), Kingston (Ontario), Saskatoon (Saskatchewan)/Edmonton (Alberta) and Abbotsford (British Columbia). The Appeal Division of the Board is also located in the national office.