COVID-19 update for correctional employees: March 25, 2020

This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.

As we continue to face the challenges presented by COVID-19 together, I want to express my gratitude to all of you for doing so with professionalism and dedication. Please read the update below to find out what’s new.

Limiting comings and goings

To protect our staff and offenders, the following continues to be suspended:

This will be reassessed on an ongoing basis. Regular communiques are being sent to inmates. We have waived telephone, accommodation and food deduction, and provided additional minutes on their phone accounts. This will help them continue connecting with family, friends and support networks.

Active screening

For critical services where entry into an institution must proceed, these individuals continue to be actively screened prior to entering.

CSC is working to reduce the risk of infection and prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition to active screening questions, everyone entering our institutions must immediately wash/disinfect their hands on arrival as another important measure. In addition, all CSC institutions have been provided with a poster to put at the front door to promote this screening process. It provides information and actions to take, as required.

Information technology

Information Management Services continues to work closely with our service partners to increase our teleworking capacity. We appreciate everyone's ongoing patience. As we face this challenging time, we can all contribute by taking simple actions to reduce the load on the network: use mobile devices to send and receive emails, work flexible hours whenever possible, download documents outside normal business hours and please follow the VPN access schedule.

A number of phishing and online scams have surfaced to take advantage of the public concern surrounding COVID-19. Please continue to be vigilant and do not open suspicious attachments or links. Contact the National Service Desk if have any doubts or concerns about a message you have received. And remember, never send e-mails containing sensitive information to your personal e-mail account. You can use the BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise (BBME) application to communicate with your colleagues, for up to Protected B work, when using a CSC issued smartphone device.

Tips for spotting phishing scams are available at:

Working with stakeholders

We recognize that communicating with our stakeholders is key so that we can provide them with the latest developments and information concerning CSC’s operations and preparedness. We have been providing stakeholders with regular updates, including one that I sent them earlier this week. We continue to share information as it becomes available. We are also posting news releases and targeted social media posts addressing some of their questions and concerns on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

We have done targeted outreach to Citizen Advisory Committees to encourage CACs to remain in contact by telephone and email. It is important for CACs to uphold the mandate to liaise and advise during this situation.

Mental Health

I want to remind you that I know how mentally challenging the current situation can be. Whether we have to physically report to the workplace or work from home, it is important to maintain and support our mental health. The Centre of Expertise for Mental health in the Workplace has valuable resources about COVID-19 and Mental Health @ Work, and new Mental Health tips for working from home are now available. There are tips available to help address isolation and loneliness we may experience while working from home that include setting a schedule, staying connected, making time for self-care and much more. I encourage you to read them carefully.

Remember that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all of us. You can also contact Employee Assistance Services at 1-800-268-7708, which is a 24/7 number. The TTY number is 1-800-567-5803.

Your health and safety remains our top priority and we will continue to keep you informed.

For up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit:

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