Celebrating 20 years of collaboration with many of Canada’s diverse communities

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is proud to work with thousands of members of the public in various capacities across our organization. They help (CSC) fulfill its mandate by bringing a community perspective to our work and contributing to the successful rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders.

Identifying and meeting the specific needs and interests of ethnocultural offenders has been a priority for (CSC) for over 20 years. September 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the creation of the National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee (NEAC), endorsed by former CSC Commissioner Lucie McClung. Co-chaired by the late Dr. Emerson Douyon, it was mandated to operate as a group of experts on (CSC) relations with visible minority groups.

The origins of (NEAC) began as a Regional Ethnocultural Advisory Committee (REAC) in Quebec in 1999. It grew to become (REAC) when other provinces expressed an interest to adopt the concept in order to help meet the needs of an increasingly culturally and racially diverse offender population. Members found the regional committees working in conjunction with a national body an excellent idea. Local members would bring their expertise to (CSC) Regional Deputy Commissioners, while the national body would ensure comparative analysis, collaboration, and the delivery of advice to the (CSC) Commissioner.

The committees are made up of influential members of the community from ethnocultural backgrounds or have experience working in the area of multiculturalism. Members act as a bridge between (CSC) and ethnocultural community partners working with offenders during and after incarceration. These partnerships enable (CSC) to reach groups that can support offenders with housing, employment, mental health, and other reintegration services.

“I found NEAC to be more than just a committee reflecting the Canadian mosaic within the federal penal system. (NEAC) undertook initiatives to promote the preservation of human rights, and cultural diversification by responding to issues of diversity, ethnoculturalism, intercultural practices and the social development of ethnocultural offenders as well as staff.” - Former NEAC member (2012)

Over the years, NEAC has contributed in meaningful ways to CSC and the ethnocultural communities they have worked with. They have:

  • Provided resources that help ethnocultural offenders understand the social and work skills they need to prepare for their release into the community.
  • Facilitated community awareness to increase confidence and encourage ethnocultural community involvement in the correctional process.
  • Encouraged businesses to hire released offenders to assist in their reintegration.
  • Consulted with communities to identify options and solutions that help CSC improve its programs and services for ethnocultural communities and offenders

With the Committee’s support, ethnocultural offenders have been able to benefit from increased access to multi-racial hygiene products, access to multi-lingual books, newspapers and magazines from various ethnic minority communities, access to multi-faith sacred space within institutions, and more.

We invite you to learn more about the (NEAC) members, some of the Committee’s many accomplishments as well as the pioneering work of Dr. Emerson Douyon.

We thank all (NEAC) and (REAC) members who graciously contribute their time, energy and expertise voluntarily to CSC and the offenders in our care and custody. We look forward to the next 20 years of this important partnership.

Interested in becoming a volunteer? Contact us:

For more information on the National and Regional Ethnocultural Advisory Committees:

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