On May 12, 2020, HALCO, along with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Canadian Prison Law Association (CPLA), and current federal prisoner Sean Johnston, filed a challenge against the Government of Canada to compel it to take proactive steps to ensure prisoners’ safety in the context of COVID-19. This includes the timely release of federal prisoners, with precedence for those who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to age or underlying health conditions.
Like long-term care facilities and homeless shelters, correctional facilities are congregate living environments. Recent experience has tragically demonstrated how quickly COVID-19 outbreaks occur within these environments, and how difficult they are to contain. As of May 6, 2020, 582 federal prisoners were tested for COVID-19 of whom approximately 300 tested positive, and two federal prisoners have already died as a result of these outbreaks. The rate of infection within federal prisons is significantly higher than in the population at large.
An update on the court case will be provided shortly.
See here for the Notice of Application.