Statement from the Correctional Investigator of Canada In Recognition of the Official Visit to Canada of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery (August 23 to September 6, 2023)


September 21, 2023 – Ottawa, Canada

Today, Dr. Ivan Zinger, Correctional Investigator of Canada, issued the following statement in recognition of the official visit to Canada by Mr. Tomoya Obokata, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery:

“At the federal level and for many decades now, Canada has failed to meet its domestic and international human rights obligations requiring work in a penitentiary setting to be remunerated appropriately. Most notably, the maximum rate of inmate pay of $6.90 per day has not increased or been indexed to inflation since it was first established in 1981. After mandatory deductions, including savings, federally sentenced individuals make a paltry wage, far less than a dollar per hour. This wage is exploitative and keeps people behind bars destitute, demeaned and degraded. It is inconsistent with provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, which require ‘living and working conditions that are safe, healthful and free of practices that undermine a person’s sense of personal dignity.’ The current inmate payment system also contravenes the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) requiring prison work to be useful, non-afflictive in nature and remunerated equitably. Adequate pay, meaningful and appropriate work for imprisoned individuals enhances the safety and security of penitentiaries, supports rehabilitation and contributes to safe and timely reintegration. I call upon the federal government to take immediate measures to address Canada’s broken and dysfunctional inmate pay system, including introducing a living wage structure indexed to inflation.”   

Banner Image
OCI News Releases