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Ontario Strengthening Correctional System in Kenora and Thunder Bay

Ontario Strengthening Correctional System in Kenora and Thunder Bay

KENORA, ONTARIO ~~~~~  October 13, 2020  (LSN)  The Ontario government is investing in infrastructure expansion projects at the Kenora Jail and Thunder Bay Correctional Centre. The projects are part of the government's strategy to invest more than $500 million over five years to transform correctional services and improve health and safety through new hiring and infrastructure improvements.  

"These projects support our goal of ensuring the province's justice system is responsive to the needs of Indigenous people and communities," said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs and MPP for Kenora–Rainy River. "By expanding these existing facilities, we are providing Indigenous individuals in custody with greater opportunities for skills development, education and literacy." 

This investment will help address overcrowding in Kenora and Thunder Bay during construction of the new facility in Thunder Bay. The new structures at both correctional facilities will also allow for increased access to programs that support safe community reintegration.  

"Our government is taking action to improve the safety of corrections staff and inmates while providing culturally appropriate programming and services for Indigenous individuals," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "These measures will strengthen Ontario's corrections system and support public safety in the Thunder Bay and Kenora regions." 

“I am pleased by the announcement of the infrastructure for the Kenora Jail and the improvements to be done for hiring staff,” said Wade Sutherland, Acting President of OPSEU Local 719. “We will continue to work with the government to see this through to make the Kenora Jail a safer place. I'd like to thank Mr. Rickford for bringing our local issues to the forefront of this government.” 

Indigenous leadership and organizations will have input into the design of the new spaces and other culturally appropriate aspects of the facilities. 

These planned projects build on other public safety initiatives designed to create a culturally relevant and responsive justice system in Ontario including: 

  • An Indigenous Bail and Remand Program to decrease the use of pre-trial custody for Indigenous persons. 
  • Indigenous Restorative Justice programming to strengthen cultural identity and reduce the likelihood of future involvement with the justice system. 
  • Establishing the Kenora Justice Centre to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the local justice system. 
  • Providing $675,000 to Kenora's Mobile Crisis and Outreach Team, $979,911 to Thunder Bay's Joint Mobile Crisis Response Project and $979,911 to Thunder Bay's Project River Safety and Health Initiative over three years (2019 to 2022) through the Community Safety and Policing Grants program. 
  • Investing $800,000 to support a one-year pilot project with the Kenora Chiefs Advisory Street Patrol  to help ensure the needs of at-risk Indigenous community members are being met in a respectful and culturally appropriate manner. 


"Our government's ongoing work to build a more accessible, responsive and resilient justice system includes addressing the specific needs of Indigenous, northern, and rural communities," said Attorney General Doug Downey. "We are committed to working with community partners in Ontario's northern regions to support access to justice and public safety." 





A big Thank You to all our supporters across Northern Ontario from Kenora in the West to North Bay in the East and south into North Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan  



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