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Prisons and Reformatories Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. P-20)

Act current to 2020-06-17 and last amended on 2015-07-19. Previous Versions

Temporary Absence

Purpose and Principles

Marginal note:Purpose of temporary absence

 The purpose of a temporary absence program is to contribute to the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by facilitating, through decisions on the timing and conditions of absence, the rehabilitation of prisoners and their reintegration into the community as law-abiding citizens.

  • R.S., 1985, c. P-20, s. 7
  • 1992, c. 20, s. 207
  • 1995, c. 42, ss. 71(F), 72(F)
  • 1997, c. 2, s. 2

Marginal note:Principles

 The principles that shall guide designated authorities in achieving the purpose of a temporary absence program are

  • (a) that the least restrictive decision that is consistent with the protection of society and the prisoner’s rehabilitation and reintegration into the community be made;

  • (b) that all available information that is relevant to the case be taken into account;

  • (c) that prisoners be provided with relevant information, reasons for decisions and access to the review of decisions in order to ensure a fair and understandable temporary absence process; and

  • (d) that the designated authority provide for the timely exchange of relevant information with other participants in the criminal justice system and make information about temporary absence programs and policies available to prisoners, victims and the public.

  • 1997, c. 2, s. 2

Designated Authority

Marginal note:Designation

  •  (1) The lieutenant governor of a province may designate any persons or organizations to be responsible for authorizing temporary absences under this Act for prisoners in that province.

  • Marginal note:Authorization of provincial parole board

    (2) Where a provincial parole board has been established for a province, the lieutenant governor of the province may order that no absence of a prisoner without escort be authorized from a prison in the province except by the provincial parole board.

  • 1997, c. 2, s. 2

Authorization of Absence

Marginal note:Authorization of temporary absence

  •  (1) A designated authority may authorize a prisoner to be absent from prison with or without escort, subject to any conditions that the authority considers appropriate, where it is necessary or desirable in the authority’s opinion

    • (a) for medical or humanitarian reasons;

    • (b) in order to facilitate the prisoner’s rehabilitation or reintegration into the community; or

    • (c) for any other purpose, consistent with the purpose and principles set out in section 7 and 7.1, that may be established by the laws of the province respecting the authorization of temporary absences of prisoners who have contravened provincial law.

  • Marginal note:Eligibility criteria

    (2) In authorizing a temporary absence, the designated authority must apply the criteria, if any, established by the laws of the province respecting eligibility for temporary absence of prisoners who have contravened provincial law.

  • 1997, c. 2, s. 2

Marginal note:Duration of absence

  •  (1) A temporary absence may be authorized for a maximum period of sixty days and may be renewed by the designated authority for one or more sixty-day periods on reassessment of the case.

  • Marginal note:Absence for medical reasons

    (2) A temporary absence for medical reasons may be authorized for an unlimited period.

  • 1997, c. 2, s. 2

Suspension, Cancellation and Revocation

Marginal note:Grounds

 A designated authority may suspend, cancel or revoke a temporary absence, before or after it begins, if

  • (a) it is considered necessary and justified to prevent a breach of a condition of the absence or where a breach has occurred;

  • (b) the grounds for authorizing the absence have changed or no longer exist; or

  • (c) the case has been reassessed, based on information that could not reasonably have been provided when the absence was authorized.

  • 1997, c. 2, s. 2

Marginal note:Apprehension and recommittal

  •  (1) A designated authority who suspends, cancels or revokes a prisoner’s temporary absence, or a person designated by that authority, may have a warrant or notice of suspension, cancellation or revocation issued for his or her apprehension and recommittal.

  • Marginal note:Execution of warrant

    (2) A peace officer who is given a warrant or notice issued under this section, or an electronically transmitted copy of such a warrant or notice, must execute it in any place in Canada as though the warrant had been originally issued or subsequently endorsed by a justice or other lawful authority having jurisdiction in that place.

  • Marginal note:Arrest without warrant

    (3) A peace officer may arrest a person without a warrant or notice and remand the person into custody if the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that a warrant or notice has been issued in respect of that person under this section and is still in force.

  • Marginal note:Where arrest made

    (4) Where a person has been arrested pursuant to subsection (3), the warrant or notice, or an electronically transmitted copy of the warrant or notice, must be executed within forty-eight hours after the arrest is made, failing which the person must be released.

  • 1997, c. 2, s. 2

Effect on Release Date

Marginal note:Effect on date of release

 Where a prisoner is granted a temporary absence and the date on which he is due to be released falls within the period of that temporary absence, the prisoner shall, for the purposes of all entitlements accruing to him on release, be deemed to have been released on the day on which the temporary absence commenced.

  • R.S., c. P-21, s. 9
  • 1976-77, c. 53, s. 45

Young Offenders

 [Repealed, R.S., 1985, c. 24 (2nd Supp.), s. 49]

 [Repealed, R.S., 1985, c. 35 (2nd Supp.), s. 33]

 [Repealed, R.S., 1985, c. 1 (1st Supp.), s. 1]

 [Repealed, R.S., 1985, c. 1 (1st Supp.), s. 2]

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