Task Forces and Advisory Committees

The Library was a central part of Edwards' vision for the Centre for Criminology, which now holds the largest collection of Criminology material in Canada. In addition to specializing in Canadian grey literature and the research endeavours of the Centre, the librarians were also pivotal to the Centre's mandate for research and collaboration. 


Motorcycle Gangs: A Literature Search by Tom Finlay and Catherine J. Matthews, 1996. 

Prior to the mass availability of the internet, the librarians at the Centre for Criminology created the Criminology Information Service, a niche service, which provided document-on-demand services, source retrieval for international clients, literature searches and thematic bibliographies. By the mid-1990s, the librarians had created over forty-five specific bibliographies for Justice Canada, the provincial government, and the OPP, among others. Three of their bibliographies had such great research value that they were published by the Centre for Criminology's imprint, including Motorcycle Gangs: A Literature Search (1996). During this same period, they were also providing document-on-demand service to two important provincial inquiries, namely the Arbour Commission of Inquiry into Certain Events at the Prison for Women in Kingston (1996), and the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System (1995).

Ontario Task Force on Strict Discipline  

“I would be most interested in meeting with you to discuss what the Centre of
Criminology Library could do for you to assist you in the work of the task force.
We have the most significant library collection in the subject area in Canada, we
have access to an international network and electronic sources, and we have the
staff expertise to assist you in your work” 
(E-mail from librarian Catherine Mathews to the Ontario Task Force on Strict Discipline, 22 November 1995)

"Boot Camps: A Select Bibliography. Prepared for the Ontario Strict Discipline Task Force" by Cathy Matthews, 1995. 

In 1995, two M.P.Ps, Janet Ecker for Oakville South, and Gary Carr, for Durham West, co-chaired the Task Force for Strict Discipline, which also included Norman Inkster, former Commissioner of the RCMP, Archie Ferguson, former Commissioner of the OPP, and the Honourable John M. Seneshen. The purpose of the task force was to consider tougher sanctions for youth offenders by reviewing "Canadian and international models for strict discipline facilities ... and make recommendations on how a program of strict discipline should be tailored for the effective custody, management and treatment of young offenders in Ontario." Head librarian, Catherine Matthews, received the press release of the Task Force via fax and immediately reached out to Ecker and Carr to offer the services of the library. Matthews provided a select bibliography on boot camps, alerted the participants to a teleconference on juvenile boot camps produced by the US Department of Justice, assisted the force by locating reports, and communicated directly with the corrections Division of Manitoba regarding their boot camp program.

Information Review and Gap Analysis of the Public Policing Sector 

“Research on the public policing sector as a whole in Canada has been relatively sparse and inconsistent, and this situation has deteriorated with cutbacks [...] published research is replete with gaps”
(Information Review and Gap Analysis of the Public Policing Sector in Canada)

Cover of Information Review and Gap Analysis of the Public Policing Sector in Canada, 1996.

In 1996, Professor Philip Stenning and Catherine Matthews were commissioned by Human Resources Development Canada to conduct an information review and gap analysis for police in Canada. In the 1990s, the lack of distinction between "public" and "private" policing provided a scholarly gap on how to approach the best mechanism of modern policing. Matthews with the assistance of Tom Finlay and the Criminology Information Service researchers, assembled and documented the wide variety of literature on the topic. They also drew from the Canadian Police College and their library and the Centre de Documentation at the Universite de Montreal for additional research resources.

In addition to the information review, the report under Stenning and Matthews leadership gathered statistics, addressed gaps between public and private policing, considered the effect of privatization, public attitudes and technology on the police, considered police training and accreditation, and outlined equity issues, particularly with regard to women and racialized officers and made recommendations for further research.  This work included visiting the Ontario Police College, interviewing police chiefs, detectives, police cadets, and by-law enforcement officers and communicating with police unions and associations. The result of this research was the report, Information Review and Gap Analysis of the Public Policing Sector in Canada.

The Centre's archives hold the published report and also an earlier discussion draft, which contains Matthew's extensive handwritten edits and notes, providing insight into the research process.   


Example of Matthews' edits from the discussion draft of Information Review and Gap Analysis of the Public Policing Sector in Canada, 1996.