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Press Release: Rights groups challenging solitary confinement react to new bill

For Immediate release

Today the three organizations fighting the federal government in BC and Ontario courts on solitary confinement responded to Bill C-83, new legislation tabled this morning by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

“What this bill shows is that this government knows that the current system of solitary confinement must not continue. The question is whether this bill meets the constitutional standard,” said the BC Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Civil Liberties Association and John Howard Society of Canada, in a joint statement.

“We need to examine the bill closely to understand whether this change will be meaningful, or whether the horrific practices of solitary confinement of prisoners including mentally ill, young, and Indigenous people will essentially continue under another name,” they added. The organizations are currently conducting an in-depth review of the newly released bill, which they only received today.

The bill’s introduction comes just one month before the appeal hearings of challenges to the federal administrative segregation regime. These challenges were filed by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the BC Civil Liberties Association and John Howard Society of Canada.

BCCLA will appear before the B.C. Court of Appeal on Nov. 13 and 14, while CCLA will appear before the Ontario Court of Appeal on Nov. 20-21. Both cases are challenging solitary confinement laws in light of the devastating harms they cause.

BCCLA and JHSC are represented by Joseph Arvay, Q.C., and Alison Latimer of Arvay Finlay LLP, Vancouver.

CCLA is represented by counsel Jonathan Lisus and Larissa Moscu of Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP and Michael Rosenberg and Charlotte-Anne Malischewski of McCarthy Tétrault LLP.

CONTACT:

Grace Pastine
Litigation Director, BC Civil Liberties Association
[email protected]
778-241-7183

Ira Lamcja
Communications Co-ordinator, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
[email protected]
416-646-1404

Catherine Latimer
Executive Director, John Howard Society of Canada
[email protected]
(613) 219-6471