Types of Applications
If an applicant would like to apply for parole, they must speak with the Institutional Liaison Officer or their Native Institutional Liaison Officer in their institution. The liaison officer will help the applicant develop a Parole Release Plan for the OPB to consider when deciding to grant or deny the application.
If an applicant would like to apply for a temporary absence, they must speak with the Temporary Absence Coordinator in their institution. The coordinator is responsible for reviewing all applications, obtaining community reports and providing recommendations to the applicant.
An applicant is eligible for parole after completing one-third of their sentence. This is called the Parole Eligibility Date (PED). If an applicant is serving a sentence of six months or more, by law, they will automatically be scheduled for a parole hearing. If the applicant is serving a sentence of less than 6 months, they must apply if they want to be considered for parole.
Applicants who are under the age of 18 years and sentenced to an adult sentence are also eligible to apply for parole, however, those who are under the age of 18 years and sentenced under the Youth Criminal Justice Act are not generally eligible for parole.
For more information on parole eligibility, please contact the institution. A list of provincial institutions can be found here.
A parole hearing is a proceeding before the OPB to determine whether an applicant can safely be released from custody back into the community before the natural expiry of their custodial sentence. During the parole hearing, applicants are given an opportunity to tell the OPB why they should be granted parole.
If an applicant has a hearing, it does not mean they will be released on parole. The decision to grant or deny parole is based on the careful review of all relevant information in the applicant’s file, a victim submission (if one has been provided) and any other relevant information provided to the OPB, including submissions from the applicant during the hearing.
The purpose of the hearing is to assist the OPB in the assessment of risk by obtaining information directly from the applicant and other participants. If parole is denied, the applicant will be informed of the reasons why parole was denied.
Attending a Hearing
Individuals who wish to attend a hearing as an observer must submit a Request to Observe a Parole Hearing form to the OPB. The OPB may approve or deny a person’s application to attend as an observer, taking into consideration:
- the views of any victims that are attending the hearing;
- the need to preserve the confidentiality of information provided at the hearing and the sources of that information;
- the views of the applicant;
- the proposed observer’s reason for wanting to attend;
- whether the proposed observer’s presence might disrupt the orderly conduct of the hearing;
- whether there is sufficient time before the hearing to obtain security clearance;
- whether the hearing room has adequate space for the person to attend; and
- whether the security of the correctional institution or the personal safety of any person, including the person who applied to attend, may be compromised by the person’s attendance at the hearing.
There is no review or appeal of the OPB’s decision to deny an observer’s application.
The number of observers allowed to attend a hearing will be based upon the size of the hearing room and the security concerns of the institution. Approval to attend will be granted in chronological order of application, with the victim, victim support person and applicant assistants being given priority. Should a victim apply to attend after an observer has been granted permission to attend, the victim shall be given priority and if necessary the observer will be contacted to inform them that permission to attend has been revoked and the reasons for the decision.
IMPORTANT: If an individual has been given permission by the OPB to attend a hearing, they will receive information about observer requirements and restrictions prior to the hearing date.
The Parole Guide
OPB’s Your Guide to Parole in Ontario (Parole Guide) provides detailed information on parole eligibility, the parole hearing process and how to create a Parole Release Plan. The Parole Guide is also available to applicants through the Institutional Liaison Officer (ILO).
For more information on applying for parole in Ontario, applicants and their families are encouraged to read the OPB’s Guide to Parole in Ontario. It is very important that applicants and their support persons understand the parole process and the factors that are considered by the OPB when determining a parole application. It is also important that applicants and their support persons are aware of the resources that are available to them.
Please contact us if you would like a copy of the guide.