COVID-19 update for correctional employees: April 23, 2020

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

As Correctional Service Canada (CSC) continues to adapt to changing circumstances, I would like to thank everyone for your ongoing flexibility, as well as your tremendous diligence and support. I know that everybody in the organization is doing a lot of great work.

Please read this update to find out what's new.

Remembering those lost in Nova Scotia

Last weekend, the country witnessed a terrible tragedy in Nova Scotia. Our hearts go out to:

Although the identities of some victims have yet to be confirmed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), media reports have indicated that two of the victims were CSC employees. Alanna Jenkins from Nova Institution and Sean McLeod from Springhill Institution, were both correctional managers who carried out their responsibilities with the highest level of integrity and professionalism. Our thoughts and sympathies are also with Alanna and Sean's colleagues in the Atlantic Region and across the country.

A vigil called Nova Scotia Remembers is scheduled to be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube on Friday, April 24 from 7 to 10 pm AT. A public Facebook page has been set up to this effect. 

Assault of staff member

On April 15, 2020 a staff member at Stony Mountain Institution was seriously assaulted in the structured intervention unit (SIU). The injured staff member was evaluated and treated at an outside hospital. These situations are always taken seriously. The assailant was identified and appropriate actions were taken. I spoke with the employee and he was in good spirits. He is expected to make a full recovery.

Thank you to amazing CSC staff

I would like to extend a special thank you to the individuals who answered my call for volunteers to assist during the COVID-19 situation. Despite these challenging times, we received more than 170 expressions of interest to help our colleagues at Port-Cartier and Joliette Institutions. I am moved by the sheer number of you putting up your hands, from various regions across the country, to help your colleagues in need. Coming together in this manner is an excellent reflection of our values and unity. I am so proud of you and our organization.

Passing of an inmate

CSC continues to work closely with public health to ensure we test, trace and treat anyone at our institutions. While there are some positive cases in certain institutions across the country, the overall rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases remains at slightly over 1% of the total inmate population.

Cases can range from mild to severe. CSC has had inmates and staff recover from COVID-19 while others can experience more severe symptoms. Unfortunately, CSC had its first death of an inmate at Mission Institution last week as a result of complications from the virus.

Practicing good hygiene to fight COVID

As you know, we all have an important role to play in the fight against COVID-19. Practicing good hygiene and continuing physical distancing is an excellent way to do your part. Stay six feet apart from people as much as possible. Avoid gathering in groups.

All workers at institutions are provided with masks. Given the growing evidence that asymptomatic people can carry the virus without knowing it, wear your mask. It is an added layer of protection, in addition to hygiene measures. Please ensure you wear it properly and handle it with clean hands to ensure your safety. I invite you to read more about how you can:

Use of videoconferencing tools

Recently, video-teleconferencing (VTC) platforms, such as ZOOM, have become a popular tool for many organizations and individuals, as many are now teleworking.

To preserve our network capabilities for critical business needs, the use of video technology on CSC devices or equipment must be limited, so that it is used primarily to deliver offender-based services. Your continued cooperation will help ensure that CSC network activity is prioritized accordingly.

There are risks associated with use of these platforms and we generally do not encourage the use of VTC tools. However, CSC recognizes that our partners may initiate meetings using these tools, and we may need to attend as an invitee. If you are required to attend a meeting on a VTC platform, please read the available information and tips on the Hub on how to mitigate some of the risks associated with the use of these platforms. Every authorized CSC employee is responsible to ensure that they transmit sensitive information using authorized communication tools, and with proper classification.

Information Management Services is working hard at increasing secure IT solutions and enabling greater virtual connection. Information regarding these tools will be provided when they get closer to release.

Updated VPN schedule

Information Management Services is continuously looking for ways to increase our teleworking capacity. In the meantime, the VPN access schedule has been updated to allow more time for each region across the country. I ask that you continue to use this schedule, as well as other best practices for teleworking, in order to ease the load on the network. With everyone's cooperation, we can ensure that our critical work carries on throughout these challenging times.

Support for you and your family

As we continue to face this public health crisis, you may be looking for support available to help you cope. I encourage you to visit the COVID-19 resources section on the Hub frequently for new information, tips and advice on issues such as:

One of the resources available to all CSC employees and their families is:

This digital platform offers expert content on managing the effects of the pandemic in our daily lives. It is available at no charge, and you and your family members can access it anonymously, at anytime, through any:

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

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