Notorious serial rapist and killer Paul Bernardo was moved to a medium-security prison in Quebec this week.

For a decade, Bernardo has been at Millhaven Institution near Kingston, and before that, he was located at Kingston Penitentiary – both maximum security prisons in Ontario.

His new placement is at La Macaza Institution in Quebec, in the Laurentians region northwest of Montreal.

The reasoning for Bernardo’s transfer has not been released.

Timothy Danson, a Toronto lawyer who represented the families of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, who were raped and murdered by Bernardo, said Corrections Canada informed him of the move earlier this week.

However, he said none of his questions about what provoked the move were answered. Corrections Canada cited Bernardo’s privacy rights in response, Danson said.

When he informed the French and Mahaffy families, he said it was “very difficult and very upsetting,” bringing back all of the horrific memories again.

The Correctional Service of Canada couldn’t say why the convicted killer was moved, but it said “public safety” is the “paramount consideration” in every decision.

“While we cannot comment on the specifics of an offender’s case, we assure the public that this offender continues to be incarcerated in a secure institution, with appropriate security perimeters and controls in place,” a spokesperson said on Friday.

“It is important to note that this offender is serving an indeterminate sentence, which means that there is no end date to their sentence.”

Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino called the transfer “shocking and incomprehensible,” saying he stands with the victims’ families and Canadians appalled by the decision.

“Having devoted my career as a federal prosecutor to protecting our communities, I have reiterated my firm expectation that CSC take a victim-centred and trauma-informed approach in these cases. I will be addressing the transfer decision process directly with CSC Commissioner Kelly,” Mendicino said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“Canadians expect the most serious crimes to have the most serious consequences, that the Victims Bill of Rights be followed and that the safety of our communities is placed above all.”

Bernardo was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, raping, torturing and murdering two teenagers, 15-year-old French and 14-year-old Mahaffy, in the early 1990s near St. Catharines, Ont.