News on the Inmate Pay Cuts Case

In order to ensure that prisoners and their families are being kept up to date on this matter, I will periodically do posts on this site detailing what is happening regarding the Application that was lodged for judicial review of the October, 2013 cuts to inmate pay.

The file on which I’m counsel,  “Jarrod Shook et al v. Attorney General (Canada) et al, Federal Court file no. T-756-14 has been included with five other applications to Federal Court as a specially managed case.This decision was reached on December 11, 2014. It means that all the cases will proceed together before one judge.

I believe this will assist in bringing to bear all arguments from all applicants.

The other files are:

Jean Guerin v. AG Canada – T-1892-14

Christopher Rocheleau v. A.G. Canada – T-2101-14

Johanne Bariteau v. A.G. Canada -T-2137-14

Stephane Gagne v. A.G. Canada – T-2142-14

Gaetan St-Germain v. A.G. Canada – T-2222-14

Counsel on the files include myself and Me. Rita Francis, Me. Nadia Golmier, Me. Erika Perron-McLean, Me. Marie-Claude Lacroix and Me. Dominique Guimond

All of the files deal with the same issues. I believe that most have reached the point where the Applicants and the Respondents have each served and filed affidavits. These include statements from prisoners across the country regarding the hardships that the pay reductions have caused. At least two of the Affidavits include statements from experts on the inmate pay system and its origins and purposes.

The following were the grounds for the application as stated in our May, 2014 amended Notice of Application for the Shook et al case ( “Respondents” means The Attorney General of Canada and the commissioner of Corrections)

  1. That the decisions of the Respondents to reduce program payments and to eliminate CORCAN incentive pay, which were already inadequate,(a) further restricted the ability of inter alia to support their families, to prepare effective release plans and to support themselves after release and( b)foreseeably increased danger to inmates because of threats and intimidation arising from reduced financial resources within the inmate population.
  2. That this caused the Applicants further harm and restricted their liberty and security of the person.
  3. That, prior to and since the decisions at issue, the Respondents have been in an employment relationship with  the Applicants who worked for CORCAN and those who carried out services for program payments, including program participation and institutional jobs, and that, accordingly,(a)the inmates have been entitled be compensated for their services pursuant to the Canada Labour Code (“the CLC”), or at rates normally provided to employees in the community for similar work(b) any deductions from the pay or allowances that they received have been governed by the terms of the CLC.
  4. That, at all material times the Respondents have failed to provide compensation and to make deductions from pay in accordance with the CLC.
  5. In the alternative, that paragraphs 3 and 4, apply with respect only to the members of the application class who have carried out CORCAN work.
  6. That, in requiring  the Applicants to work without any compensation, or without fair compensation, the respondent was imposing a punishment on  the Applicants that had not been authorised by the Courts or the law.
  7. That the Respondents did not appropriately inform or consult a reasonable number of inmates in compliance with s.74 of the CCRA.
  8. That the Respondents did not provide those inmates who were provided an opportunity to respond under s.74 of the CCRA with sufficient participation in the decisions at issue before these decisions were implemented and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, that the respondent never had an intention to change their decisions in any meaningful fashion based on any feedback from offenders, as required by s.74 of the CCRA.
  9. That the Respondents did not provide inmates with administrative fairness in the taking of the decisions, either pursuant to s.27 of the CCRA or at common law, in that they did not consider or include the representations made by the Applicants in their decision-making process.
  10. That, whether or not it should be determined that the Applicants and Respondents were in an employment relationship, the Respondents imposed and implemented the deductions contrary to the provisions of the CCRA and, in particular, ss. 76 and Paragraph 78(2)(b) of the CCRA. Notwithstanding the generality of the foregoing, the imposition of the deductions to program payments effected on October 1 and 9, 2013 was an improper addition to deductions that had already been imposed.
  11. That neither the provisions of Paragraph 104.1(7) of the CCRR’s nor the respondents’ implementation of that provision in response to inmate request have provided reasonable or effective relief to the effects of imposition of the deductions and the elimination of incentive pay.
  12. That the decisions at issue were implemented (a)predominantly as part of the Government’s political agenda to solicit the support of some Canadians by increasing the punishment of offenders and the restrictions of their rights and entitlements and (b) for reasons contrary the purposes of the CCRA, which include, but are not limited to, humane, safe custody and safe reintegration of offenders to the community, of teaching accountability or of saving funds.
  13. That the Respondents were aware that they were acting contrary to the purposes of the CCRA, and for irrelevant and inappropriate purposes, when they took the decisions.
  14. That, in taking the decisions, the Respondents failed to properly exercise their discretion and acted in a biased and arbitrary fashion.
  15. That the Respondents’ unlawful and punitive intentions, bias and failure to provide administrative fairness resulted in harm to the Applicants’ liberty and security of the person other than in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice and thus breached the Applicants’ rights under s.7 of the Charter.
  16. That the Respondents had no justification under s. 1 of the Charter for the Respondents’ decisions, which did not fulfill the purposes of instilling accountability and providing financial savings that were announced by the Respondents as the rationale for the decisions.
  17. Such other grounds as this Honourable Court may determine.

 I will be updating as soon as i have news on how the newly-configured Application is proceeding. I will, of course be conferring with my colleagues early in the new year.

 

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