COVID-19 update for correctional employees: July 10, 2020
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.
I hope you are having a great summer. Here is an update on a variety of items.
Infection prevention and control measures in institutions
To strengthen our infection prevention and control measures, we have developed in-person training for staff and contractors in CSC institutions and Community Correctional Centres (CCCs). Infection Control Principles (ICP), in the context of COVID-19, are based on a model created in the Pacific Region in partnership with the Fraser Health Authority. The training provides staff and contractors the opportunity to view and practice infection prevention and control measures such as proper hand hygiene, and the donning and doffing (putting on and taking off) of Personal Protective Equipment. These are essential measures for preventing the transmission of COVID-19 in our institutions and CCCs. Staff and contractors who require ICP training will be contacted over the coming months. I would like to thank everyone in the Pacific Region who worked on developing this training.
We continue to expand testing of employees, offenders and their contacts as part of our comprehensive testing strategy to stop the spread of COVID-19. We have also been offering testing to all inmates who have come in contact with a symptomatic or positive individual. I encourage everyone who is offered a test to take it. Early detection is key and testing gives us more information to help prevent any spread of the virus so we can work to keep everyone safe.
Last week, I communicated to all of you and inmates about our plans to soon resume visits in institutions. Sites are currently shaping their plans and undertaking preparations for visits, which will give us a better idea of exact timing across the different regions. Visits will look a bit different than before. We will be implementing new measures to ensure that this is as safe as possible:
Communications products are also in development to support visitors in planning for their visits. We know that visits are very important to inmates and I thank employees everywhere for their efforts to have V&C up and running shortly. As a next step, we will look at Private Family Visits and when these can resume.
Citizen Advisory Committees
Our Citizen Advisory Committees are an important public presence in institutions and parole offices across the country. Their visits, like all members of the public, were suspended on March 13 due to the pandemic. While they have been meeting virtually, approval was recently given for their return to fulfill their roles to observe, liaise and advise. However, the National Executive Committee has recommended that through the summer, they continue meetings with CSC officials virtually and send only one member to visit inmates and staff to limit the exposure. This type of activity will resume with their health, and that of our staff and inmates, in mind while following the local public health authority measures.
CSC is currently planning for the return of its registered volunteers, which will be considered by the Shaping the New Normal governance structure in the coming weeks. However, this return may not look the same as it did prior to COVID-19. The pandemic has given us an opportunity to reshape the role of our volunteer program by assessing the needs of sites against the interests of volunteers, including looking at greater virtual opportunities. A questionnaire was sent to sites to collect information about their priorities for volunteer activities and opportunities for how we can explore virtual volunteering. We will be sending a questionnaire to volunteers in the coming weeks to gauge their interests. Through collaboration with regions and sites, we are actively trying to communicate directly with volunteers to keep them engaged as we shape our new normal.
We have created a page on the Hub where you can find valuable resources to assist you during this time.
A list of training and job aid resources for managers has also been added to assist in transition efforts I encourage you to take some time to review and use these excellent resources and online courses. We will continue to add information to this hub page, so check back often.
Thank you for your continued efforts, they are making a difference.
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