We call upon the federal government to eliminate barriers to the creation of additional Aboriginal healing lodges within the federal correctional system.

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusNov. 9, 2020In Progress
Previous StatusAug. 17, 2020In Progress

Why “In Progress”?

Government response addresses identified funding and operational issues that negatively impact Indigenous managed healing lodges vs those managed by Correctional Services Canada through a new finding formula. The response offers no timelines and/or targets for elimination of barriers to create “new” Aboriginal healing lodges. 

July 26, 2019 – new Aboriginal Healing Lodge announced for Scarborough. The 24-bed lodge would offer short-term housing and support for Indigenous women who are either before the justice system, or re-integrating into society after incarceration. 

New Funding Model for Section 81 Healing Lodges

In 2017, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) strengthened the Section 81 funding arrangement to better support their operations and respond to the needs of Indigenous communities and organizations managing those Healing Lodges. The new funding formula provides fixed and variable payments that will equal to the negotiated daily rate. The fixed cost which is normally a 60% of the negotiated daily rate is paid whether an offender occupies a bed or not. This allows the Healing Lodge to fund all its fixed recurring financial obligations of managing a facility. The variable cost which is normally the remaining 40% of the negotiated daily rate is paid when a bed is occupied by an offender. This new funding formula which has been deemed fair and respectful by agreement holders, applies to all existing and new Section 81 agreements. It will allow Indigenous agreement holders to have access to funds that will ensure the effective operations of their Healing Lodges including adequately responding to the needs of Indigenous men and women offenders in their care and custody. 

Commissioner’s Directive 541-2 “Negotiation, Implementation and Management of CCRA Section 81 Agreements

Correctional Services Canada (CSC) is currently updating a number of policies to ensure timely assessment of Indigenous community applications for a Section 81 Agreement while strengthening how CSC processes the transfer of Indigenous offenders to Healing Lodges as part of their reintegration plans to the community. CSC is currently reviewing several Indigenous Community Expressions of Interest to enter into a Section 81 agreement with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for the care and custody of Indigenous men and women offenders.  

Aboriginal Healing Lodges

In 2009-2010, Correction Services Canada (CSC) allocated $21,555,037 for CSC lodges and $4,819,479 for section 81 lodges. This discrepancy in funding meant that Section 81 lodges had to pay their employees up to 50% less and may be unable to provide adequate training. According to the Office of the Correctional Investigator, the original intent was for CSC lodges to eventually be transferred to the control of Aboriginal communities. There is also “the perception among some Section 81 Healing Lodge staff and CSC officials that CSC-operated Healing Lodges are in competition with Section 81 Healing Lodges for minimum security inmates.”

Indigenous Managed Healing LodgesLocationOpenedBeds
Prince Albert Grand Council Spiritual Healing LodgeWahpeton First Nation, Saskatchewan199712
Stan Daniels Healing Centre, EdmontonEdmonton, Alberta199973
Waseskun Healing CentreSt. Alphonse-Rodriguez, PQ199922
O-chi-chak-ko-sipi Healing LodgeCrane River, Manitoba200328
Buffalo Sage Healing LodgeEdmonton, Alberta201128
Thunder Women Healing LodgeScarborough, Ontario201924
CSC Managed Healing LodgesLocationOpenedBeds
Okimaw Ohci Healing LodgeMaple Creek, Saskatchewan199560
Pê Sâkâstêw CentreMaskwacis, Alberta199760
Kwìkwèxwelhp Healing VillageHarrison Mills, BC200150
Willow Cree Healing CentreDuck Lake, Saskatchewan200480
Correctional Services Investigator Report 2017-2018

Recommendation # 13

Recommend that CSC re-allocate very significant resources to negotiate new funding arrangements and agreements with appropriate partners and service providers to transfer care, custody and supervision of Indigenous people from prison to the community. This would include creation of new section 81 capacity in urban areas and section 84 placements in private residences. These new arrangements should return to the original vision of the Healing Lodges and include consultation with Elders.

Canadian Bar Association

Responding to the TRC Calls to Action March 2016

The Canadian Bar Association endorses Call to Action # 35

Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

Through engagement with Indigenous communities and organizations and other partners including the Office of the Correctional Investigator, the funding arrangement for Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) Section 81 Healing Lodges was identified as a key barrier to the operations and sustainability of Section 81 Healing Lodges. In 2017, Correctional Service Canada (CSC) strengthened the Section 81 funding arrangement to better support their operations and respond to the needs of Indigenous communities and organizations managing those Healing Lodges.

The new funding formula provides fixed and variable payments that will equal to the negotiated daily rate. The fixed cost which is normally a 60% of the negotiated daily rate, is paid whether an offender occupies a bed or not. This allows the Healing Lodge to fund all its fixed recurring financial obligations of managing a facility. The variable cost which is normally the remaining 40% of the negotiated daily rate, is paid when a bed is occupied by an offender. This new funding formula which has been deemed fair and respectful by agreement holders, applies to all existing and new Section 81 agreements. It will allow Indigenous agreement holders to have access to funds that will ensure the effective operations of their Healing Lodges including adequately responding to the needs of Indigenous men and women offenders in their care and custody.

In addition, CSC has reviewed and is currently updating a number of its policies including Commissioner’s Directive 541-2, Negotiation, Implementation and Management of CCRA Section 81 Agreements, to ensure timely assessment of Indigenous community applications for a Section 81 Agreement while strengthening how CSC processes the transfer of Indigenous offenders to Healing Lodges as part of their reintegration plans to the community. CSC is currently reviewing several Indigenous Community Expressions of Interest to enter into a Section 81 agreement with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness for the care and custody of Indigenous men and women offenders.

CSC is committed to ongoing partnership with Indigenous communities through regular engagement sessions and an annual Healing Lodges’ Executive Directors and Wardens strategic planning meeting where strategic discussions include collaboratively identifying any barriers and ways to remove them as CSC continues to nurture our long standing relationships with Indigenous peoples through the CCRA Section 81 since 1992.