Open Letter

Open Letter to Solicitor General Michael Kerzner calling for immediate action to form an independent provincial oversight body for Ontario institutions

To: Honourable Michael Kerzner, Solicitor General of Ontario
25 Grosvenor St, 18th Fl
Toronto, ON, M7A 1Y6
January 20, 2023

Dear Solicitor General Kerzner,

We are writing as friends and families, people with lived experience, individuals, scholars and
experts, and community groups and organizations working on criminal justice issues, who are
concerned about the alarming rise in deaths in custody and the shocking lack of oversight,
transparency and accountability in Ontario jails and prisons. We demand that the Ministry of the
Solicitor General (SOLGEN) take immediate action to form an independent provincial body
dedicated to overseeing jails and quickly raising alarms, similar to the federal correctional
investigator. Such an oversight body must include families of people who have died in SOLGEN
custody and people with lived experience of incarceration.
The December 2022 report produced by Tracking (In)Justice, a law enforcement and criminal justice
transparency project, demonstrates that, although the provincially-incarcerated population is
declining, the number of deaths in Ontario jails and prisons has increased dramatically. Over 280
deaths have occurred within these institutions since 2010, with the rate of deaths increasing 173.3%
between 2010 and 2021. The number of deaths in provincial institutions nearly doubled last year,
from 23 reported in 2020 to 41 reported in 2021. Preliminary numbers indicate that 28 custodial
deaths have already been reported in the first 10 months of 2022.
The report outlines concerns about the high percentage of the provincially-incarcerated population
who are on remand, as they face higher risks of death by suicide and drug overdose relative to those
serving sentences; practices of medication dispensing and medical documentation, as well as the
conditions of confinement; and amplified risk of drug toxicity in custodial settings. Tracking
(In)Justice emphasizes the lack of transparency in reporting on deaths in Ontario provincial
institutions, which has created uncertainty around the causes for the sharp increase in deaths
between 2020 and 2021.
The Ministry of the Solicitor General must address preventable deaths in provincial jails and prisons
by taking immediate action to improve oversight, transparency, and accountability by instituting a
dedicated independent oversight body to help ensure timely reporting on deaths in custody and
assist in taking urgent action to increase the safety of the people who are being detained in Ontario

Sincerely, the undersigned,

Justice For Soli
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Incarcerated Voters of Ontario
Criminalization and Punishment Education Project
John Howard Society Simcoe & Muskoka
Coalition Against the Proposed Prison (CAPP) Kemptville
Bureau Of Power And Light
Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
Justice for Jordan Sheard
Health Providers Against Poverty (HPAP)
Keep6ix Non-Profit Organization
P2P Foundation
Community Justice Collective
Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction (TIHR)
Rittenhouse: A New Vision
Prisoners Healing Network
Unity Kitchen
Ryan’s Hope
Engage Barrie Organization
KIP Canada
Asilu Collective
Trace Housing
The Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
Disability Justice Network of Ontario
HIV Legal Network
Women & HIV / AIDS Initiative
HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO)
Indigenous Harm Reduction Network
Elizabeth Fry Society of Northeastern Ontario
CEFSO – Canadian Elizabeth Fry Society of Ontario
Empowerment Council
Patrice Corriveau, Full Professor, University of Ottawa
The Commitment Program
Elizabeth Fry Society Simcoe Muskoka
MOMS Ottawa
Black Legal Action Centre
Community Justice Initiatives of Waterloo Region
British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
Migrant Detainee Support Coalition
Justice for All Canada
Mothers Offering Mutual Support- M.O.M.S.
National Council of Canadian Muslims

Tiina Eldridge
Melissa Alexander
Alexander McClelland, PhD., Assistant Professor, Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice,
Carleton University
Dr. Aaron Doyle, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton
Justin Piché, PhD (Associate Professor, Criminology, University of Ottawa)
Melissa McLetchie- PhD candidate (York University)
Dar Maynard
Gabby C. Aquino
Naomi Berlyne
Jake Mitchell
Hayley Murdoch-Fyke
Christophe Lewis
Shanika Spaulding
Giselle Dias, Faculty of Social Work, Indigenous Field of Study, Wilfred Laurier University
Sydney Margarit – The John Howard Society of Simcoe & Muskoka
Willamena McCorriston, Board Member, Moms Stop The Harm
Reverend Leigh Kern, Toronto Urban Native Ministry
Sherry Findlay
Tracey Lapham
Snjezana Pruginic
Lara Karaian, Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Carleton University
Dr. Simone Weil Davis, Ethics, Society & Law, Trinity College
Adji Ba – Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice @ Carleton University
Christine Nayler, Co-founder and Director of Ryan’s Hope
Alyssa Wright
Rachel Fayter
Meg Lonergan, PhD Candidate in Legal Studies, Carleton University
Anna Pringle, law student at McGill University
Jeffery Bradley, PhD Candidate in Legal Studies, Carleton University
Kevin Walby, University of Winnipeg
Deborah Conners, Carleton University
Natasha Stirrett, Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Carleton University
Madalena Santos, Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Carleton University
Christine Wingate
Richard Elliott, Health & human rights lawyer
Samantha McAleese, PhD (Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Sociology & Anthropology,
Carleton University)
Janet Rowe, PASAN
Chad Clarke, Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization
Sandra Lehalle, University of Ottawa
Maritza Felices-Luna, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa
Dominique Robert, Associate professor, University of Ottawa
Dr. Jacqueline Kennelly, Professor, Sociology & Anthropology, Carleton University
Jennifer Kilty, Professor, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa
Rai Reece, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Toronto Metropolitan University
Kelly Fritsch, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University
David Moffette, Associate Professor, Department of Criminology, University of Ottawa
Evelyn Maeder, Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Carleton University
Sam LeClair
Sandra Ka Hon Chu
Meaghan Chambers
Denise Baldwin
Katie Bannon
Tamara Campbell
Patrice Corriveau, Full Professor, University of Ottawa
James Ruston
Jennifer van Gennip
Flora Matheson, MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions
Semir Bulle, MD psychiatry resident, University of Toronto. Signing on behalf of Doctors for
Defunding police
Anton McCloskey, BSW, PASAN
Kate Crozier
Arfeen Malick MD MSc FRCPC
Andréa Biron-Boileau, law student, McGill University
Fareeha Qayyum
Faysal Munshi, Engineering Student at University of Waterloo
Taylor Milne, citizen
Aditi Sharma
Devon Spier, Rabbinical Student at the Academy for Jewish Religion (NY)
Danilo Moretti
Irina Ceric, Assistant Professor, University of Windsor Faculty of Law
Jouman El-Asmar, Attorney, Barrister & Solicitor at EL-ASMAR LEGAL
Sherry Palmer
Fariha Khan, MD
Naima Hanafi
Angela Vos
Emily Halldorson
Osama ELbahnasawy
Sami Wymes, University of Oxford
Trey Cumberbatch, student at the University of Oxford
Mizy Judah Clifton, University of Oxford
Carla Hills
Winglam Tong
Andrea Cabello Silva
Sarah Turnbull (Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Legal Studies, University of
Dr. Hayat Ahmadzai
Saadia Sediqzadah, MD, SM, FRCPC, Psychiatry, University of Toronto
Bibi Ali
Sena Hussain – PASAN
Olivia Gemma, PASAN (Prisoners’ HIV/AIDS Support Action Network)
Claudia Vergara, PASAN
Anton McCloskey, BSW, PASAN
Melanie Le Voguer, M.Ed. Registered Psychotherapist, CCC
Cherisa Shivcharran

About the Movement

Justice for Soli was founded by Soleiman’s eldest brother, Yusuf Faqiri, only one or two days after his brother’s murder in December 2016. In early 2017, the McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice became the first organization to completely throw its support behind Justice for Soli, transforming what was once a small group of friends and family into a larger social justice movement with hundreds of supporters. Today, over 100 organizations are affiliated with Justice for Soli, supporting the movement in its fight for justice, transparency and accountability.