Health care in provincial correctional facilities – Joint submission to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

This submission by the Legal Network, HALCO and PASAN details the rights of prisoners to the equivalent access to health care as people in the community and urges the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to ensure these rights. We call on the Ministries to make syringe and needle exchanges and opioid substitution therapy more widely available in prisons to help save lives and preserve the health of those living in prisons.

“It is a well-established legal principle that prisoners do not surrender their rights upon incarceration, but
instead retain all rights subject to the restrictions that are unavoidable in a prison environment.
Prisoners are entitled to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health as guaranteed under
international law, and prison health care should be equivalent to that available in the community. As
such, the following recommendations to improve health care in Ontario provincial correctional facilities
are a matter of ethical and legal obligation under human rights legislation, the Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms (“Charter”) and international human rights guidance on health care in prison
settings.”

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