Independent External Decision-Makers
Independent External Decision Makers (IEDMs) ensure that decisions related to maintaining an inmate in Structured Intervention Units (SIU) are subject to scrutiny and ongoing assessment throughout an inmate’s placement. IEDMs are appointed by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and operate at arms-length from the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).
Decisions and authority
As set out in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), IEDMs have binding authority under the law to determine that an inmate should not remain in an SIU, or order changes to conditions of confinement. In certain circumstances, IEDMs review cases and provide recommendations in writing to the inmate, the Correctional Investigator and to the Commissioner.
IEDMs make determinations in the following specific circumstances:
- An inmate has been confined in a SIU for 90 consecutive days (and every subsequent 60 days).
Conditions of Confinement
- An inmate has not received a minimum of four hours a day outside their cell, or at least two hours of interaction with others, for five consecutive days, or 15 cumulative days over a 30 day period.
- If the IEDM finds that CSC took all reasonable steps in the decision above, but in the last 10 consecutive days the inmate did not receive those opportunities, the IEDM must determine whether the inmate should remain in the SIU.
- A Health Care Committee of senior CSC officials supports the institutional head’s decision which is contrary to the recommendations of a registered health professional to alter the inmate’s conditions of the confinement or that the inmate should not remain in an SIU.
IEDMs review an inmate’s case and make recommendations in the following circumstances:
- An inmate who was authorized to be transferred to an SIU at least four times within a period of 180 consecutive days and, during that period of time, the inmate’s case was not referred to an IEDM for a determination based on the duration of the inmate’s confinement.
- At the request of CSC, for the case of an inmate who is or was authorized to be transferred into the SIU.
The above circumstances are set out in sections 37.8, 37.81, 37.83 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and sections 23. 06 and 23.07 of its regulations.
The IEDMs are independent professionals located across the country. They are comprised of lawyers, professors, and researchers with experience and knowledge in fields, such as:
- criminal justice
- mental health
- vulnerable populations
- human rights
- administrative law
- other related fields of study
Senior Independent External Decision-Makers
Sabine Michaud, Eastern Region
A graduate in law and criminology, Sabine Michaud is also a member of the Barreau du Québec and has a certificate specializing in addiction intervention. She worked in the field of psychosocial interventions for 6 years with vulnerable populations before working about 10 years in criminal defence law with the Centre communautaire juridique de Montréal and in private practice. In 2002, she left Canada for Africa, where she worked in local grassroots organizations primarily on issues related to human rights, justice and violence against women and girls. Upon her return to Montréal in 2010, she coordinated the Gender Justice Program at the headquarters of Oxfam-Québec before joining the team at the International Bureau for Children’s Rights (IBCR) in 2013, where she took on various duties, including as head of institutional standards. Ms. Michaud left the IBCR in September 2018 to join the legal team of the international organization Lawyers Without Borders (LWB). She was appointed to Human Rights Tribunal of Quebec (HRTQ) in 2013 for five years and her mandate was renewed in 2018. She remained at LWB and the HRT until her appointment as a Senior Independent External Decision Maker in September 2019.
Kevin Hood, Western Region
Kevin Hood was an Associate Professor with the Correctional Services program at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta for over three decades. During that time, Kevin served on many non-governmental committees and boards including the Edmonton John Howard Society and the John Howard Society of Alberta. Kevin’s academic research and teaching interests are related to restorative justice, social justice, and applying international understandings of truth and reconciliation to the Canadian context. In his professional career, Kevin had many public sector roles including child protection investigations and working with youth involved in high-risk behaviours. Kevin managed the Protection of Sexually Exploited Children program for Alberta Children’s Services and was the Senior Manager responsible for Crime Prevention and Restorative Justice with Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security. He was appointed as a Independent External Decision Maker in September 2019 and then as a Senior Independent External Decision Maker in August 2020.
Independent External Decision-Makers
Maryam Majedi, Vancouver
Maryam Majedi of Vancouver, BC, was Regional Manager of the Crown Counsel Victim/Witness Services in the Criminal Justice Branch and worked as a manager in the Special Prosecution office of the Ministry of Justice from 1988 to 2005. She served as a member of the Parole Board of Canada from 2005 to 2008 and 2015 to 2018. She also served as a member of the B.C. Review Board from 2016 to 2019. Ms. Majedi serves as an adjudicator/Arbitrator, Ministry of Justice, B.C. and is a member of the Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal. In 1972, she received her Bachelor of Arts, Law degree at the National University of Iran. Ms. Majedi has served as a board member of various organizations including the Multicultural Organization MOSAIC (Multi-lingual Orientation Services Association for Immigrant Communities), the People’s Law School, the Criminal Justice Program and the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society. She was appointed as an Independent External Decision Maker in September 2019.
Catherine Norris, Sturgeon County
Catherine Norris was a senior manager with the Ministry of Children’s Services, providing leadership to ensure Indigenous perspectives, interests, concerns and issues are considered in the development of provincial programs, policies and standards. Her role involved maintaining government to government relationships with First Nations and Métis organizations. In her 21 years with the provincial government, she held various management roles and also worked in quality assurance, issues management and front line child intervention. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Calgary and a Bachelor of Arts, with a double major in criminal justice and sociology, from the University of Winnipeg. She also served as a volunteer with the Edmonton Youth Justice Committee. She was appointed as an Independent External Decision Maker in May 2021.
Dennis Callihoo, Edmonton
Dennis Callihoo, Q.C. is a lawyer with experience in the areas of General Practice, In House Counsel, First Nations Governance and Adjudication. He is a graduate of the University of Alberta and of Osgoode Hall Law School (1989). He served as a Senator for the University of Alberta including a six-year term with the Council for Aboriginal Initiatives. He also has served on numerous community Boards including the Legal Aid Society of Alberta, the Boyle Street Community Co-op, Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, and the Edmonton Community Legal Centre. He also currently serves as a Board member of the Ermineskin Women’s Shelter Society, and the Foundation of Administrative Justice. He was appointed as an Independent External Decision Maker in September 2019.
Al Hilton, Regina
Al Hilton is a former career Saskatchewan Public Servant. Over a thirty-six year career, Al served as Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for Federal- Provincial Relations and Immigration, and Deputy Minister responsible for several portfolios, including Corrections, Public Safety and Policing; Indigenous and Northern Affairs; and Intergovernmental Relations.
On secondment to the Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada, Al served as a senior advisor to the Commission on Canadian federalism. Al has served on several public safety related boards and committees, as both a member and a Chair. He was appointed as an Independent External Decision Maker in September 2019.
Lennard Young, Saskatoon
Mr. Young was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan. He and his wife of 35 years have one son. Mr. Young received a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Regina in 1989 and taught high school for a number of years. He went on to further his education and subsequently obtained a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1999 and was admitted to the Saskatchewan Bar in 2000. Mr. Young has been in private practice for much of his legal career, and continues to provide free legal services to the public by way of Pro Bono Services of Saskatchewan. He was appointed by the Federal Government from 2004-2019 to sit as an Adjudicator in relation to the Indian Residential School settlement process. Mr. Young is of Indigenous descent, and has taken an active role in his community in both educational and legal endeavors. He has sat on numerous boards and committees, which focused on societal issues impacting on Indigenous people. He was appointed as an Independent External Decision Maker in September 2019.
Meredith Porter, Ottawa
Meredith Porter is an Ojibway lawyer from the Long Plain First Nation in Manitoba. For nearly a decade, her legal practice focused on litigating the claims of residential schools through the Independent Assessment Process. Following her work as a sole practitioner, she was appointed to the Appeal Division of the Social Security Tribunal and then worked as Senior Commission Counsel with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Ms. Porter has volunteered her time with Crime Prevention Ottawa, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, and as Chair of the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC) Community Advisory Board. She was subsequently appointed to the OCDC Task Force which was mandated to make recommendations to improve overcrowding and capacity issues at OCDC and develop long-term solutions to improve the health and safety of inmates and staff. Throughout her career, Ms. Porter has persistently advocated for improved cross-cultural understandings, trauma-informed services, and a justice system which is responsive to the needs of individuals suffering serious mental health issues, experiences of violence, and racism. She was appointed as an Independent External Decision Maker in September 2019.
Aymar Missakila, Laval
Aymar Missakila is a Montreal-based lawyer practicing in the areas of human rights, criminal law, administrative law, labour law and civil law. Since 2010, Mr. Missakila has represented clients at all levels of the Canadian justice system, including but not limited to the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and many others. Mr. Missakila supervises a number of law students from three Montréal universities through their respective legal clinic(s)/volunteer program(s). Mr. Missakila studied in Montréal and, in particular, obtained his law degree from the Université du Québec à Montréal. He was appointed as an Independent External Decision Maker in September 2019.
Myralie Roussin, Quebec City
Myralie Roussin practices criminal and penal law. In 2011, she founded the firm of Beaudry Roussin Avocats and defends individuals who are being tried for crimes and offences under the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and other provincial and federal legislation. Chair of the Board of Directors of the Jeune Barreau de Québec (JBQ) and advisor to the Barreau de Québec for the fiscal year of 2018-19, she was also Chair of the JBQ’s training committee and sat as an advisor on several committees of the Barreau de Québec, including the committee on custody and indexing services and the Comité de liaison avec la Cour du Québec, chambre criminelle. In addition to her practice, she taught criminal and penal law to police technique students at the CÉGEP Garneau in Québec City. During her mandate as Chair of the JBQ, she created the Mental Health Committee to establish various programs to help lawyers struggling with psychological health. Ms. Roussin has was also a speaker on various panels on mental health, legalization of cannabis and starting up a firm. She was appointed as an Independent External Decision Maker in September 2019.
Mélanie Gagné, Rouyn-Noranda
Mélanie Gagné received a Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.) from the Université du Québec à Montréal in December 2008. She has been a member of the Barreau du Québec since 2009. Since then, Mélanie Gagné has been working as a lawyer in criminal and penal law. During her career, she worked as a criminal and penal prosecutor, including with the Québec’s itinerant court for Indigenous and Inuit communities, for just over 10 years. She also teaches criminal law to Indigenous students in the program Attestation of Collegial Studies (ACS) Police Technology at the CÉGEP de l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue. She was appointed as an Independent External Decision Maker in May 2021.
Janine Lespérance, Moncton
Janine Lespérance is a trilingual lawyer whose work has been dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights in Canada and abroad, through research and analysis, project leadership, and education. As a Legal Advisor with Lawyers without Borders Canada, she focused on transitional justice and international justice, notably in Mali and Guatemala, and was a co-researcher of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice. Previously, she was based at the University of Ottawa, where she taught human rights law as a part-time Professor for the Faculty of Law and coordinated projects for the Human Rights Clinic of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre. She was also Executive Director of the International Commission of Jurists Canadian Section. She holds a J.D. from the University of Ottawa; an M.A. from Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs; and a B.A. from St. Francis Xavier University. She was appointed as an Independent External Decision Maker in September 2019.
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