Better know a Canadian functionary: the Chair of the Parole Board of Canada

Before 1899 in Canada, there was no such thing as parole: either you got let out of jail early for good behaviour or you stayed in for the whole sentence. In 1899, the Laurier government introduced a “ticket to leave” system of parole, which was issued at the discretion of the Department of Justice. These were issued in a haphazard way by communication between prison wardens and Justice officials until the appointment of Walter Archibald, a brigadier of the Salvation Army, as the first Dominion Parole Officer in 1905. His job was to travel between the federal prisons in Canada (there were seven at the time) and conduct interviews with guards and inmates to decide if parole should be granted.

In 1913 the Department of Justice formed the Remission Service to process parole claims. The office of the Dominion Parole Officer was dissolved in 1931, and its functions absorbed by the Remission Service.

In 1959 the Parole Board Act dissolved the Remission Service and moved the granting of parole from the Department of Justice to an arm’s-length body, the Parole Board of Canada. The PBC was completely self-contained until 1978, when it was placed under the authority of Correctional Services Canada.

The Dominion Parole Officers of Canada were:

Walter Palmer Archibald, 1905-22.
Robert R. Creighton, 1922-27.
R.F. Harris, 1927-31.

The Chiefs of the Remission Service, Department of Justice, were:

Pierre Martial Côté, 1913-18.
J.D. Clarke, 1918-24.
M.F. Gallagher, 1924-52.
A.A. Moffat, 1952-53.
Allan J. MacLeod, 1953-59.

The Chairs of the Parole Board of Canada have been:

Thomas George Street, 1959-74.
William Outerbridge, 1974-86.
Ole Ingstrup, 1986-88.
Fred Gibson, 1988-93.
Michel Dagenais, 1993-94.
William Gibbs, 1994-2000.
Ian Glen, 2001-06.
Mario Dion, 2006-09.
Harvey Cenaiko, 2009-now.

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