Recommendation 17: Community Involvement in Criminal Justice, 1977 Minister of Supply and Services Canada, Community Involvement in Criminal Justice

: Report of the Task Force on the Role of the Private Sector in Criminal Justice, Volume I, 1977. pp 160162.
We believe that the conflict created by the presence of outsiders in the policy-making processes of governments can be resolved through attitude changes, education of participants, clarification of citizen and NGO powers and limits, and through a new atmosphere of openness. While we have emphasized throughout our report the need to develop a strong NGO sector which can concentrate upon the delivery of services at the local level, we are convinced that the potential of those services will only develop if the NGO's have a greater sense of unity and identity with each other. That unity is necessary, not only within specific areas of service, but there is a need for the unity of all the different kinds of NGO's on a provincial and a federal basis. At this point in Canada, there is no mechanism to encourage this unity or to strengthen and develop local services through advice, support, information exchange and consultation. It is our opinion that there is also a special need, at this time in Canada, for a strong, independent, citizen controlled and community linked NGO, with the capacity to monitor, analyze and criticize criminal justice services and policies. That type of function could be coupled with standard setting and, logically, to the development of public education materials and techniques, available for delivery by local communities. The mechanism for NGO unity could be combined with the organization for policy analysis. It is in the public interest that such an independent Canadian capability be developed by the NGO's. It is not an attempt to control by a process of centralization. It is, instead, an attempt to combine and capitalize upon the isolated efforts of diverse groups and to bring their views and experiences, as well as the views and experiences of citizens, to the national level. These views could strengthen staff analysis and mean a greater credibility in government forums and planning bodies, because they come from a constituency of citizens in Canadian communities and their NGO's. The history of attempts to develop such a national capacity for NGO's is a long one, never reaching its potential and fraught with many obstacles. We believe that it is essential now to provide the NGO's with a common meeting place on a Canada-wide basis, to exchange ideas, to foster their development and for mutual support, along with a national capacity for policy analysis and input to governments. We believe it is possible to combine these functions in one Canada-wide association with necessary links to citizens and to local and provincial areas. We do not believe that an organization with these capabilities can be developed overnight. We believe firmly that it would be an unfortunate mistake if government were to set up such an organization and then turn it over to the NGO's. People in the existing NGO's and interested citizens, with appropriate consultation from people in governments over a period of time, should work toward the development and refinement of the association which we propose. The initiative to develop this new national capacity, to strengthen the presence of the NGO's in Canada, cannot be delayed. It cannot occur in a vacuum. It should take advantage of the knowledge, skills and good will of people in associations existing across Canada. It should build upon the continuity of effort provided by the CCCA and its predecessors over the past twenty years. It is our judgment, however, which may not be shared by all, that the present CCCA, despite its past achievements, does not have the capacity or the resources to meet theexpectations and to fulfill the roles which we envisage. Neither is its structure consistent with the emphasis upon citizen influence and citizenpolicy control which we feel to be essential in the association. Nor does it have the linkages to community services which we believe are necessary.


controlled by a defined membership body of citizens. the Canada Council and the Economic Council of Canada. in the development of a new association. Preferably. . including interested citizens. it should involve regional/provincial/territorial groupings. it should be bilingual. It should be expected to comment publicly on impending or decided policies and programmes. we believe that governments should be asked to make substantial block grants comparable to the kinds of grants that have been provided to set up such organizations as the Vanier Institute for the Family. It should provide a major means for NGO's to come together and strengthen their initiatives. the funding would be on an endowment basis with the original block grants being matched by special appeals to foundations and corporations in order to place the association on a sound footing within two years. its membership should be open and voluntary. along with others across Canada. liaison and a reference centre for the public to provide publication capacity to provide for public forums. it should be democratic. policy development and service programme. That a Canada-wide association for the development of criminal justice be established outside and independent from governments. with respect to basic policy development in government: 17. it should be non-profit. It should have as a major function the analysis of criminal justice policy and the initiation of policy proposals. d) to provide information.e. on a consultation basis. to help assure the survival of the NGO's to provide an access from governments to NGO's and the community to provide NGO and community access to governments to provide advice to community groups to provide staff training and development c) to provide community education materials for use in communities. 161 Its characteristics should be: a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) 162 it should be representative of the country. In order to assure the development of thisnew capacity in Canada. That expertise should be part of the organization. it should function for the public good. Its objectives should be: a) to provide strong and independent policy analysis t propose policies to monitor government policies to set standards b) to facilitate the co-ordination of NGO's by and for NGO's. or it should have access to such expertise. i. with new structures and new programme capabilities.But the CCCA could play a vital role. it should have linkages with governments and their services. It should have access to the highest level of government policy-makers. We recommend. based on its expertise on legislation. but stress a community base.