The Community Service Orders (CSO) Program is a community-based sentencing option that permits the court to order offenders to perform community service hours as a condition of probation. Since 1978, we’ve helped people build confidence, skills and a better future through meaningful service within the community.
Our goal is to provide individualized community-based activities that offer clients an opportunity to become contributing members of the community. Placement opportunities raise self-confidence, enhance work skills, encourage responsible behaviour and provide constructive activities for leisure time.
We provide services to adults who are referred by Probation. After an in-depth assessment with CSO staff, clients are assigned to complete hours at a non-profit organization in the city or county. Clients are placed based on their abilities and interests, availability and within any restrictions the placements themselves might have. Placements include social service organizations, municipal offices, sports leagues and charities. We currently work with 150 placement agencies in the city and county. Clients also help individuals with disabilities and older adults on fixed incomes. Direct supervision is provided by the placements. CSO staff provides case management services and support to clients in collaboration with Probation and community partners.
Clients perform many duties from cleaning to computer work. Clients also complete home projects, such as knitting, crafts and woodworking. The court determines the number of hours for each client, and may set a minimum monthly requirement. Total hours may range from 10 to 240, to be completed within 12 to 18 months for adults. Clients complete hours at times that do not interfere with employment or school attendance
Benefits of Community Service
The CSO program offers adult offenders the opportunity to complete meaningful community service, with benefits for both the individual and the community:
Involves the community in the Criminal Justice System, which benefits both the community and the offender
Enhances Skills and Self Worth
Raises clients self-confidence and enhances their work skills
Promotes Prosocial Behaviour
Encourages responsible behaviour in offenders and more meaningful use of their leisure-time
Safe and Cost Effective
Provides the judiciary with a community-based sentencing option that is cost effective and does not compromise public safety
The CSO program is funded by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. The CSO program is a member of the Ontario Community Justice Association.