CAOT responds to the passage of Bill C-10 (Safe Streets and Communities Act)
posted: Friday, March 16, 2012
WILL BILL C-10 MAKE STREETS SAFER?
Occupational therapists respond to the passage of Bill C-10
March 12, 2012 (Ottawa, ON)— Today the Conservative government will have the final vote in their campaign to get tough on crime. With the looming passage of Bill C-10, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), urge federal investment in rehabilitation services for offenders.
The omnibus crime bill, termed the ‘Safe Streets and Communities Act’, has generated a lot of controversy over the impact this legislation will have on the rights of offenders, as well as the ability of federal and provincial institutions to respond to the fundamental changes to Canada’s criminal justice system.
The goals of incarceration are to increase public safety and rehabilitate offenders to become law-abiding citizens; however, reports to federal and provincial correctional authorities have identified the limited access offenders have to the necessary programs and healing services essential to rehabilitation.
Sue Baptiste, President of CAOT, explains the importance of rehabilitation through occupational therapy in Canada’s criminal justice and corrections systems: “If mandatory minimum sentences are implemented without equal funding dedicated to programs to support rehabilitation through cognitive behavior therapy, education, goal development, addictions intervention, life skills and vocational training, the consequences for society can be great.”
There are many concerns and reported risks connected to this new legislation. Baptiste urges the federal government to proceed with caution. “Offenders, particularly repeat offenders, are often faced with multiple barriers to functioning in day-to-day society. Whether it is mental illness, addictions, brain injuries, disabilities related to violence or other types of disabilities, interventions are necessary to ensure offenders can overcome cognitive and behavioural problems. It’s not enough to put offenders behind bars; they need the skills to work towards meaningful occupations.”
Occupational therapists across Canada will continue to monitor and respond to issues related to the impact of Bill C-10 on the criminal justice system and the transition of offenders back into society.
The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) is a national association representing occupational therapists in Canada. With over 13,000 practicing occupational therapists in Canada, CAOT provides leadership to actively develop and promote the client-centred profession of occupational therapy in Canada and internationally.
For more information, please contact:
Kate Rexe, Public Policy Officer
The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists
613-523-2268 ext. 246