For one week every January, CSC puts the spotlight on a group of volunteers that bring the community’s perspective to federal corrections: the members of Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC).
There are almost 400 members in about 80 CACs across Canada. They act as impartial observers to CSC operations and provide us with advice about correctional policies, programs and procedures. They also provide an important link between CSC and the public to raise awareness, understanding and support for the correctional process.
Every year during CAC Awareness Week, we honour one dedicated CAC member for their service by presenting them with the James A. Murphy CAC Award of Excellence. James “Jim” Murphy worked in community corrections for CSC for 38 years, and many of the partner relationships we maintain today were established and nurtured under his watch. With Jim’s commitment to community partnership and the CAC movement in mind, the award is given to a CAC member who embodies the same passion for engaging Canadians in the correctional process. This year, the deserving winner was Robert (Bob) Marshall, a CAC member from Port Coquitlam, B.C. representing the Pacific region. You can read more about Bob on our website.
There can only be one winner, but we recognize that there are committed CAC members all across the country that deserve our thanks. In that spirit, we would like to introduce the nominees for this year’s award from the four other regions. Congratulations to all, and thank you!
Michael Tobin, Atlantic Region
Michael was an educator in remote communities for many years and now sits as town councillor in Stephenville, which allows him to bring a unique perspective about the subtleties of rural Newfoundland to his CAC. He connects with networks of policy makers at all levels of government to educate them about correctional issues and for improvements to facilities in his province.
Lynda Tétrault, Quebec Region
Lynda enthusiastically joined her local CAC in 2013 only to take over as chair shortly after. Lynda now chairs two CACs, covering the entire island of Montreal. She is known for her enthusiastic efforts to educate the community about corrections, her advocacy in the areas of accessibility, literacy and mental health, and her commitment to volunteerism.
Sharon and Grant Mitchell, Ontario Region
Sharon and Grant Mitchell have been CAC members for 21 years. They are known for their community outreach and recruitment efforts on behalf of CACs, and for their collaboration with CSC staff, offenders and their families. Both have identified issues facing offenders preparing for release and contributed to changes in CSC policies that addressed them.
Mary Stephenson, Prairie Region
Mary has volunteered with the Grand Cache Institution (GCI) CAC since its inception and served as chair for 20 years. She is known for working directly with the institution, the community and offenders to resolve issues. Mary recently instituted an annual charity-community Christmas dinner for the Grand Cache community. She worked with the warden of CGI to recruit a group of “lifers” from GCI to prepare the meal, giving them the chance to “give something back” to the community.