PBC Board Member (GIC) Qualification Process Overview

The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is an independent administrative tribunal whose members make conditional release (parole) decisions for offenders serving federal sentences of two or more years, and for offenders serving sentences of less than two years in provinces and territories without their own parole boards (only Ontario and Quebec have their own parole boards). The PBC's Board members also make decisions on whether or not to grant pardons.

Members of the PBC are appointed by the Governor-in-Council (GIC) upon recommendation by the Minister of Public Safety Canada.

The PBC employs both part-time and full-time Board members for fixed terms of generally three and five years respectively.

Expectations/Challenges of PBC Board Members

PBC Board members make decisions that have significant implications for public safety and the integrity of Canada's parole system. Decisions are made by way of a hearing or in-office file review by either one or two Board members, depending on the type of case. Parole hearings are held within penitentiaries, and the decision and reasons are normally given to the offender verbally, and in writing, at the end of the hearing.

Expectations

Board member responsibilities include:

  • Reading and conducting an in-depth analysis of each case, and requesting additional information as necessary, to support quality decision-making in accordance with the principles of natural justice and the law;
  • Assessing the risk and other factors related to often complex cases, and providing sound, well-documented, written reasons for decisions;
  • Conducting hearings with another Board member, and voting independently on the disposition of each case;
  • Ensuring that the decision-making process is carried out in strict conformity with the requirements of governing legislation, regulations, Board policies, and procedures;
  • Ensuring that hearings are conducted in accordance with the duty to act fairly, and with respect to all procedural safeguards;
  • Traveling regularly between institutions, at times over long distances, to hear cases (members may be required to travel several days a month);
  • Working in other regional offices, as required, for specified periods to enable the Board to meet its operational requirements;
  • Completing ongoing professional development and training.
  • Part-time Board members are expected to be available on a regular basis (on average, approximately 5-10 days per month). For this reason it is expected that they not leave the country for prolonged periods.

Challenges

Board members operate within a complex, challenging and transparent environment, as follows:

  • A Board Member's work week generally consists of two days of reading and preparation for hearings; two days of hearings, and one day of in-office decisions. A hearing day normally consists of 3-5 hearings, and Board members normally render 8-10 in-office decisions on days intended for this purpose. Some Board members also render decisions in pardon cases.
  • Each Board Member must spend 6-8 hours reading and preparing for each hearing day. In some cases, preparation can take longer;
  • Board members must deal with complex individual cases and render decisions within tight timeframes. Individual case files may contain hundreds of pages of documentation.
  • Decisions must be able to withstand the internal appeal process, and judicial review;
  • Board members must be flexible in the face of ever-changing demands;
  • Hearings are open to observers, which can include members of the general public, victims, and media, and decisions are accessible to the public;
  • Board members must conduct hearings inside penitentiaries and other facilities in close proximity to offenders. Note: Some hearings are held in the presence of Aboriginal elders in accordance with Aboriginal culture and spirituality. In some cases, the elder performs a smudging ceremony by burning sacred herbs in the hearing room.

Qualification Process for PBC Board members

The qualification process is designed to be transparent, professional, and based on competency to ensure that only highly qualified candidates are considered for appointment. Candidates are assessed against criteria that reflect the degree of knowledge, skills and abilities required to effectively carry out the role of a PBC Board member.

The Board makes every effort to recruit individuals from a wide variety of cultural, ethnic, and professional backgrounds, to ensure a balanced representation of the community and all walks of life. The Board is also sensitive to promoting a balanced gender representation.

The qualification process is a rigorous one driven by two key working principles:

  • The Board's top priority is public safety based on quality decisions for conditional release and pardons; and,
  • Quality decisions require quality decision-makers.

Steps in the Qualification Process:

Qualification Committee Review

The Qualification Committee, chaired by the PBC Chairperson, meets and reviews the curriculum vitae of candidates to identify those who meet the selection criteria.

Written Exam

Candidates screened in after the review stage are given a written exam to evaluate the following competencies: conceptual thinking, judgement/analytical thinking, decision making, and written communication. Candidates must meet a minimum passing mark of 75%.

Candidates who are not screened in or who do not pass the written exam may reapply after 2 years

Qualification Committee Interview

Candidates who successfully pass the written exam are invited to an interview. The interview panel typically consists of the Chairperson and/or Executive Vice-Chairperson, a Regional Vice-Chairperson, a senior staff member, and a representative from the community.  In certain regions, an Aboriginal Elder also takes part in the interview process. The interview serves to evaluate verbal communication skills, analytical and decision-making skills, judgement; discretion; cultural sensitivity; and knowledge of the criminal justice system and legislation relating to conditional release and pardons/clemency.

Candidates who do not pass the interview may reapply after 2 years.

Reference/Validation Checks

A reference check, criminal record check, and credit check are conducted on each successful candidate.

Pool of Qualified Candidates

Once qualified, a candidate's name is placed on a list for a period of approximately two years. Qualification is not a guarantee of appointment. The Chairperson submits regional lists of qualified candidates, as needed, in writing to the Minister of Public Safety Canada for appointment consideration.

Appointments

The Minister recommends appointments to the Governor in Council from the pool of qualified candidates, taking into account the Chairperson's recommendations regarding PBC operational requirements, as well as any gender, diversity and linguistic requirements.

Selection Criteria for PBC Board members (Part-time and Full-time)

Education

A degree from a recognized university in one of the disciplines comprising the human sciences (law, criminology, social work, psychology, sociology, etc.) or an acceptable combination of relevant education, job-related training and/or experience.

Experience

A minimum of 5 years experience in a decision-making environment and/or in the interpretation or application of legislation, government policies or directives.

Knowledge

  • Knowledge of the criminal justice system;
  • Knowledge of the societal issues impacting on the criminal justice environment including gender, Aboriginal and visible minority issues; and
  • Knowledge of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Criminal Records Act and their interpretation and application related to conditional release and pardons is considered an asset.

Abilities / Skills

  • Excellent analytical skills;
  • Ability to understand and apply Court decisions;
  • Ability to quickly and effectively synthesize relevant case information;
  • Clear, concise and comprehensive written and spoken communications skills;
  • Effective interviewing and decision-making skills;
  • Efficiency in managing time and setting priorities;
  • Ability to perform in a stressful environment with a heavy workload and tight time constraints; and
  • Computer skills, specifically in the use of word processing software are essential.

Personal Suitability

  • Sound judgment
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Ability to work effectively both independently and as part of a team
  • Discretion in managing highly sensitive information
  • Sensitivity to Aboriginal, multiculturalism and gender issues

Language Requirements

Proficiency in both official languages is considered an asset.

Working Conditions

  • Preference will be given to applicants who reside in the region where they have applied.
  • The chosen candidates will be required to travel extensively outside the immediate area of the regional office to which they have been appointed and be away from home overnight frequently to conduct hearings in federal and provincial institutions.
  • A valid driver's licence is required, or a personal means of transportation to penitentiaries throughout the region, some of which are in rural and remote locations.
  • The successful full-time candidates must be willing to relocate to the area of employment or to a location within reasonable commuting distance.
  • The successful part-time candidates must be available to work a minimum of 5 to 10 days per month.

Terms and conditions of Employment

As public office holders, Board members must also comply with the Conflict of Interest Act, the Ethical Guidelines for Public Office Holders and Guidelines for the Political Activities of Public Office Holders and the PBC's Code of Professional Conduct.

Salary Range

  • $123,000 - $144,600 (full-time positions)
  • $615 - $720 per diem (part-time positions)

Applying to Become a Member

The PBC accepts applications from prospective candidates on a year-round basis. However, applications are reviewed by the Qualification Committee twice per year (October and April).

The deadline to submit applications that will be reviewed in October is September 30th and March 31st for applications that will be reviewed in April.

Interested applicants should send their application letter and curriculum vitae to the following address:

Board Member Qualification Process
Parole Board of Canada
410 Laurier Avenue West,
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0R1
Email: employment-emploi@pbc-clcc.gc.ca

Official notification of qualification processes are posted on the PBC's website and on the Government of Canada's appointments website.

For more information:

Telephone: 613-954-7457