COVID-19 update for correctional employees: March 18, 2020
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.
Thank you for your ongoing flexibility and understanding as we adjust to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation. Your health and safety is a top priority and we will continue to send you frequent updates to share the latest information.
- CSC's business is operational in nature and our core mandate of maintaining public safety continues during this time.
- I want to be clear that we are focused on critical services right now. Many employees are critical and essential to ensuring that correctional work continues across the country. A special THANK YOU to everyone!
- We have adopted flexible ways of working, including work from home arrangements where possible, as we work to #flattenthecurve. We all have a part to play.
- While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our institutions, we continue to actively monitor, plan and engage with authorities and our employees. As this evolves, we take daily decisions to minimize risks associated with the virus.
- CSC continues to takes its COVID-19 guidance from Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Treasury Board Secretariat.
Precautionary measures and operations:
- CSC has an Emergency Preparedness and Response Framework to address planning for an outbreak, which outlines plans, medical responses, equipment requirements, and protocols.
- We have dedicated health care services in our institutions and are prepared to handle cases of respiratory illnesses, such as COVID 19. In fact, we deal with influenza each year and have established protocols for medical isolation and treatment. We also have protocols for testing and providing clinical interventions.
- Given this situation is constantly evolving, we hold frequent meetings with regional and NHQ executives to adapt to changing circumstances and make key decisions, as needed.
Limiting comings and goings:
- To prevent the spread of COVID-19, in all of its institutions, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has suspended:
- Visits from the public and volunteers
- All temporary absences (ETAs/UTAs), unless medically necessary
- Work releases for offenders
- Other options are available to inmates and their family and friends to stay in contact, such as video visitation or telephone. We continue to reassess this and explore other measures we can take, while protecting health and safety.
- For critical services where entry into an institution must proceed, these individuals are being actively screened.
What we are doing to keep workspaces safe:
- In addition to readiness on a number of fronts, we have enhanced cleaning protocols, including disinfecting common areas of contact. We have also increased prevention awareness in all workplaces.
- We reiterate that handwashing is the best way to prevent the spread of infection of this and most other infectious diseases. We have increased communications and public education around the virus, including:
- regular updates
- offender information
- Hub content
- web content, and
- social media
Reminder: The facts about COVID-19
- For up-to-date information, visit Canada.ca/coronavirus. The symptoms of COVID-19 have included fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.
- The virus is spread from an infected person through:
- respiratory droplets when one coughs or sneezes
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching something with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.
- The virus is not known to spread through ventilation systems or through water.
- Like with any infectious disease, the best way to prevent the spread is to:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or when water isn't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol;
- avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands (we know it's difficult to do – resist the temptation);
- avoid close contact with people who are sick;
- cough and sneeze into your elbow, sleeve, or a tissue, and not into your hands; and
- stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading the illness to others.
- We sent out a reminder yesterday and today about IT networks. Only CSC staff essential to core activities should be accessing VPN and using teleconferencing and videoconferencing systems, to minimize the burden on the systems.
- The Hub: all of CSC's latest information, posters and links.
- Canada.ca/coronavirus: this is the public-facing website dedicated to updating and informing Canadians on COVID-19, including guidance on travel.
- Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer (@CPHO_Canada / @ACSP_Canada)
- Health Canada (@GovCanHealth / @GouvCanSante)
Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.
- Date modified: