TORONTO – Nathalie Des Rosiers, Liberal MPP for Ottawa – Vanier, released the following statement upon the presentation of her Private Members Bill:
“The writing is on the wall for solitary confinement. How we treat those in our correctional institutions is a reflection of our values. Our corrections institutions are at their core supposed to rehabilitate and reintegrate inmates into society. This is fundamentally at odds with the continued practise of prolonged solitary confinement in Ontario prisons.
I am proud to table a private members will which would, if passed, mandate the creation and implementation of a plan to phase out the use of solitary confinement in Ontario’s correctional facilities over the next 5 years. The bill would also immediately bring the standards of use of solitary confinement in-line with the Court of Appeal decision in Canadian Civil Liberties Association v. Attorney General (Canada).
The Court of Appeal of Ontario ruled on March 28th, 2019 that subjecting inmates to solitary confinement for periods greater than 15 days, a practice used by corrections officers in Ontario, constitutes cruel and unusual treatment under section 12 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is therefore unconstitutional. This cannot be allowed to continue.
My bill will, if passed, will respect the spirit of the court’s ruling by further placing a new 60 cap aggregate cap on the number of days an inmate can spend in solitary confinement in a given 365 day period.
The bill will also mandate the creation of an independent oversight body responsible for overseeing the use of solitary confinement, as well as medical service teams mandated to provide regular care for inmates held in solitary.
Holding inmates in solitary confinement conditions for prolonged periods undermines our efforts to rehabilitate them back into society. It is time for government to call it like it is, and recognize solitary confinement as an inhumane and degrading practice. We have an obligation to relegate this practice to the past.”