Federal Court

Administrative Law

No authority to suspend applicant’s participation in program for more than six weeks

Application by prison inmate for judicial review of decision of Deputy Commissioner of Corrections. Commissioner denied applicant’s third level grievance over his suspension from full-time employment at medium security institution where he was incarcerated. Applicant was at work on May 11, 2011 when another inmate was cleaning panel saw and floor with compressed air. Applicant told other inmate to stop because room was filling up with dust in air. Argument ensued, during which other inmate headbutted applicant and he then punched him several times. Applicant fell on floor and he was unconscious. Security was called and applicant was taken to health care. Applicant was suspended for six months since he was involved in fight. Decision was made because applicant refused to participate in program assignment and it was made even though applicant was found not to be aggressor. It was upheld as it went through grievance process. Application allowed. Commissioner claimed that authority for suspending applicant was contained in s. 104(1) of Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations (Can.) but he did not properly or reasonably exercise statutory authority to suspend applicant under that provision. Applicant did not refuse to participate in program by virtue of his actions on May 11 and it was unreasonable to reach that conclusion and to suspend him. There was also no authority to suspend applicant’s participation in program for more than six weeks. Decision was also unreasonable because applicant followed his correctional plan, he fulfilled his shop steward duties at time of incident and he was victim and not aggressor. Given that applicant’s record in workplace was excellent it was unreasonable that six-month suspension was ordered. Applicant was to be reinstated retroactively with payments due and owing to him from date of suspension of May 11, 2011.

Johnson v. Canada (Commissioner of Corrections) (Dec. 3, 2013, F.C., Michael D. Manson J., File No. T-2136-12) 110 W.C.B. (2d) 647.

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