The federal government is closing down the maximum-security penitentiary in Kingston, Ont., the Regional Treatment Centre located on the grounds of the penitentiary, and the medium-security Leclerc Institution in Laval, Que.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told a press conference Thursday in Ottawa that inmates at the prisons will be moved to other facilities.

He said he expects about 1,000 inmates to be moved, and that a simliar number of prison guard jobs will be affected by the closures.

Toews said the facilties are old and "not appropriate" for managing a modern prison population.

"The time has come to recognize its crumbling infrastructure, costly upkeep and severe limitations in effectively managing a population of maximum-security male offenders and in the case of Leclerc Institution, medium-security offenders," Toews said.

The government wants to cut $5.2 billion from the federal coffers by 2014-15, and plans to cut $295 million from the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) budget by then.

Toews said closing the institutions will save $120 million per year.

More than 100 employees with CSC were given notices Thursday that their jobs are "affected" and could be eliminated because of the budget cuts. The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, one of several unions that represents federal civil service workers, said 101 members were given the news – 31 people at Leclerc Institution in Laval, Que., and 28 at the Kingston Penitentiary.

Eighteen nurses, five psychologists and five IT workers were the PIPSC members given notices at the Kingston facility. Twenty nurses, eight psychologists, and three IT workers were given notices at the one in Laval.

CBC News has also learned that 42 jobs are being affected at Kingston's Regional Treatment Centre, a psychiatric facility on the grounds of the Kingston Penitentiary. Three doctors, 28 nurses, six psychologists, three social workers and two occupational therapists were given notices about their jobs.

Not everyone in the public service who receives an affected notice will necessarily be laid off, they could be moved to another department, or may have to compete with co-workers to keep their job. Some jobs, however, may eventually be declared "surplus."

The government said in the budget tabled last month that it "has no intention of building any new prisons," indicating that the inmates at the Kingston Penitentiary may be moved to another prison.

The Kingston Penitentiary can hold up to 421 inmates, according to information on the CSC website. There are more than 460 employees.

The facility has housed some of Canada's most notorious killers, including Mohammad Shafia, who along with his wife and son killed three of his daughters and his first wife.

Among those also reportedly imprisoned there are:

  • Paul Bernardo, who was convicted in 1995 of kidnapping, raping and murdering southern Ontario teenagers Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy.
  • Russell Williams, the former colonel who was sentenced to life in prison in 2010 for raping and killing Cpl. Marie-France Comeau and Jessica Lloyd.
Map: Kingston Penitentiary location
Kingston Penitentiary, Kingston, Ont