COVID-19 update for correctional employees: May 22, 2020
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.
I hope everyone had a great long weekend. There is a lot underway as we continue to work hard to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while, at the same time, putting thought into our path forward. Here is an update on various items.
Indigenous Awareness Week
It is Indigenous Awareness Week! Every year, Indigenous Awareness Week (IAW) provides an opportunity to celebrate Indigenous peoples in Canada. As we observe IAW, I invite everyone to honour and learn more about the diverse cultures and traditions of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.
CSC is strongly committed to providing culturally responsive interventions and programs to support Indigenous offenders. I am also proud that CSC is one of the largest employers of Indigenous peoples in the core public administration. We have 1,668 outstanding self-declared Indigenous employees and approximately 140 Elders representing rural and urban Indigenous communities across the country.
I would like to thank all CSC staff who work closely with Indigenous community members and organizations to support Indigenous offenders in our care and guide them on their path to a safe and successful reintegration.
As I noted in a past message, we are making progress in managing cases of the virus in our institutions. Throughout this pandemic, we had positive cases at six out of our 43 institutions with many of those inmates having made a full recovery. CSC tracks all testing conducted and results can be found at:
Thank you to the teams that are working hard to innovate while managing the spread of this virus in our institutions, it is no easy task but you are doing a great job!
For up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit:
Principles for shaping the new normal
As mentioned in my past two messages, a governance structure, including different working groups, is now in place to inform decisions and our plans around eventually phasing back in activities and operations. For now, it is the status quo but we want to be ready for when the time comes. Review these principles that will guide our planning. I know there are many questions as to how this transition will unfold.
I want to reiterate that any reintegration of our activities will be gradual, based on public health evidence in each Province and you will be given proper notice of any changes before they happen. I will continue to give you regular updates in my weekly messages.
- Ensuring the safety, wellness and physical and mental health of CSC staff, offenders, stakeholders and public. This is our top priority. We will continue to make ethical and evidence-based health practices decisions that are in adherence with public health advice.
- Ensuring that any planning and actions to prevent, manage or restore services following COVID-19 is implemented in a manner that is dynamic, adaptive, coordinated, collaborative and transparent. Easing of restrictions and the restoration of interventions, programs and services will likely vary across Canada.
- Adopting an approach that is phased and gradual when restoring interventions, programs and services. This will help ensure appropriate measures are in place to limit health and safety risks while also supporting public safety efforts. CSC will adjust restrictions as may be required by public health authorities.
- Restoring interventions, programs and services in an appropriate manner considering the local level of the pandemic and threat. Our response will be tailored so that it is in line with national, provincial and territorial public health guidance. The development of local plans and activities will include meaningful consultations with the local occupational health and safety committee and union executives.
VPN schedule update
Great news! The schedule for access to VPN is no longer in effect. You can all log on and conduct your work during regular hours. I encourage everyone to continue to follow the best practices for teleworking and limit the use of video for only critical business needs.
I would like to thank everyone for their cooperation in following the schedule. A special thank you goes out to Information Management Services employees who worked very hard over the past months to monitor, make adjustments and improve access to the network.
Statistics Canada COVID-19 survey
Statistics Canada launched a survey last week to collect data on Canadians' perceptions of crime, safety and violence in their community during the pandemic. I invite you to participate in this survey, as the results will be used to evaluate security needs and establish critical programs and services both during and after the pandemic. You can take this short survey until May 25.
In a previous message, I talked about looking at the "silver lining" in each situation. There is always good that comes out of challenges and hard work. It is important to focus on our strengths and build upon what we do well. I would also like to see us taking time to celebrate our successes and motivate each other. Take time out to recognize a colleague for a kind gesture or a job well done, or to lend a helping hand. Acts of kindness can be powerful in building others up, boosting their energy and helping them feel good. We are all in this together and I encourage you to spread kindness.
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