Advisory panel for the reopening of Penitentiary farms at Collins Bay and Joyceville Institutions announced

OTTAWA, May 11, 2017 /CNW/ - The Correctional Service Canada (CSC) is pleased to announce that it has established an advisory panel to provide advice about the potential reopening of penitentiary farms at Collins Bay and Joyceville Institutions in Kingston, Ontario..

The following seven volunteer panel members will lend their expertise in the areas of business, agriculture and employment opportunities for offenders:

  • Ms. Bridget Doherty, Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent De Paul
  • Ms. Dianne Dowling, Organic Dairy Farmer
  • Ms. Catherine Latimer, Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Canada
  • Mr. Jeff Peters, Beef Farmer
  • Mr. Alec Ross, Limestone District School Board Trustee for Kingscourt-Rideau and King's Town District
  • Mr. Tony Straathof, Livestock Farmer
  • Mr. Bruce Vandenberg, Dairy Farmer

Please see the attached backgrounder for their biographies.

The farms would be run by CORCAN, a key rehabilitation program of CSC, providing offenders with employment and employability skills training. The panel will engage with community stakeholders to assist CORCAN to better understand farm industry operations, explore new business ideas, and promote partnerships to provide employment opportunities for released offenders. The first panel meeting is scheduled to take place in June 2017. 

In June 2016, CSC launched a feasibility study which included an online and in-person consultation process to review the decision to cease its agribusiness operations. The study included two consultations – an online forum and a town hall in Kingston in July and August 2016. Participants were asked to provide their input into the possibility of renewing penitentiary farms at Collins Bay and Joyceville institutions. The consultations garnered nearly 6,000 responses and almost 300 participants attended the town hall.

CSC Penitentiary Farms Public Consultation results were released in November 2016, and will continue to influence  CSC's future decisions related to employment and employability programs offered at institutions.


"I am very pleased that we have established this advisory panel to help us determine the best way ahead for re-establishing penitentiary farms. Thank you to all who participated in the consultations. I am committed to implementing evidence-based practices and policies that promote public safety and the safe reintegration of offenders."

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

"On behalf of the Correctional Service Canada, I am very interested in hearing the advice provided by this panel. The decision on the future of penitentiary farms is an important one, and their feedback will be critical in guiding us on how to move forward."

Don Head, Commissioner, Correctional Service Canada

Associated Links

History of CORCAN and the evolution of prison industries 
June 2, 2016 news release 
August 17, 2016 news release 
Results of Penitentiary Farms Public Consultation



CORCAN Farm Advisory Panel Members

Bridget Doherty
Ms. Bridget Doherty is with the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, a religious charity that promotes justice and peace by empowering vulnerable people through compassionate service, advocacy and networking. Through their Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation team, they support the efforts of the Save Our Prison Farms coalition. Their administrative headquarters, the Motherhouse, remains in Kingston.

Dianne Dowling
Ms. Dianne Dowling farms with her family on a certified organic dairy and beef farm and a vegetable community shared agriculture business in the Kingston region. She is president of Local 316 (Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox-Addington) of the National Farmers Union (NFU) - Ontario, a member of the Food Policy Council for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox-Addington, and a director of the Kingston Area Seed System Initiative. She has been actively involved in NFU local farm and food projects in the Kingston region for 15 years. She is also involved in the campaign to restore prison farms and exploration of a food hub for Kingston. She is a member of the Save Our Prison Farms coalition organizing committee, whose goal is to reinstate Canada's prison farms, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pen Farm Herd Co-operative.

Catherine Latimer
Ms. Catherine Latimer has been the Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Canada since 2011, a charity committed to just, effective and humane responses to crime. The John Howard Society of Canada is governed by a volunteer board of directors elected to the national board by the provincial or territorial member where they reside. Previously, Ms. Latimer was a policy lawyer for the federal government, providing analysis and policy advice both at the Privy Council Office and later as the Director General of Youth Justice Policy at the Department of Justice. In the latter position, she was responsible for the development and implementation of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Ms. Latimer has a law degree from Queen's University, Kingston, and a Masters in Criminology from Cambridge University. She is a Broadbent Fellow.

Jeff Peters
Mr. Jeff Peters is a local beef farmer from Inverary, Ontario and a member of the Cattlemen's Association. He is a director of Local 316 of the National Farmers Union (NFU) - Ontario (Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox-Addington) and a member of the Save Our Prison Farms coalition organizing committee. He has also been the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Pen Farm Herd Co-operative since 2010.

Alec Ross
Mr. Alec Ross is the Executive Director of Red Squirrel Conservation Services located in Kingston, ON. He has more than 25 years' experience in journalism, consulting, and academic and non-profit corporate communications. Alec is also a Kingston writer, editor, and the Limestone District School Board Trustee for Kingscourt-Rideau and King's Town District. He also serves as Vice-President on the Board of Directors of KEYS Job Centre, which helps to connect individuals with local employment opportunities.

Tony Straathof
Mr. Tony Straathof has farmed in Eastern Ontario's Whitewater Region for 25 years. He manages a
multi-enterprise operation, which focuses on crops, livestock, and forestry, as well as a purebred dairy herd, veal calves and seasonal maple syrup. Mr. Straathof joined the National Farmers Union (NFU) - Ontario for its grassroots democracy and support of family farms. He is the past president of local 330, Renfrew County and a member of the Board of Directors of the NFU-Ontario.

Bruce Vandenberg
Mr. Bruce Vandenberg is the owner of a goat and sheep dairy farm as well as a cheese plant located in Lindsay, Ontario. He has a diploma in Agri- Business from Kemptville College, located in Kemptville, Ontario.


SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada

For further information: Media Relations, Correctional Service Canada, 613-992-7711,


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