COVID-19 update for correctional employees: July 17, 2020

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

The working groups and committees who are shaping the new normal have been working hard, and I am pleased to share more updates with you as we continue to resume some of the activities that were suspended back in March at the start of the pandemic.

Visits to institutions

This week we announced that we are gradually resuming visits at our institutions. Our top priority remains the health and safety of our employees, inmates and the public. We have learned a great deal about infection prevention and control over the past months and a number of measures will be in place for inmate visits.

Our website has been updated with information for visitors to help them understand what to expect and what is expected of them when they visit a site. I encourage you to take a moment to have a look.

Resumption of some activities

Correctional programming has resumed in many institutions, and Elders and Chaplains have started returning to sites to provide valuable support to inmates. Citizen Advisory Committee members, lawyers and contractors are also starting to return for in-person work with inmates.

In addition, educational programs and dentistry services have re-started at institutions. The Mother-Child Program has also resumed at our facilities for women. We continue to work on the framework for resuming Private Family Visits and other activities.

These are very important steps for the health and welfare of inmates, but they are also measured first steps. We will continue to closely monitor this evolving situation and adjust our measures and operations, as needed, based on the latest public health evidence.

Resumption of workplace activity in non-institutional/operational/custodial worksites

We are preparing for the return of some employees to non-institutional/operational worksites. Employees, who will be a part of this return, will be contacted by their managers and provided notice of at least two weeks before the date of their return. Office spaces will be cleaned and disinfected in advance, and regular and increased cleaning will continue ongoing. Detailed guidelines are in development for cleaning personnel as well as employees to assist in doing their part to keep our shared workspaces clean and safe for everyone. Cleaning and disinfectant supplies will be provided along with the guidelines, and informational signage will be posted in each worksite.

We are aware that returning to worksites is not a one-size-fits-all situation and we are taking that into account. It won’t be the same as it was prior to the pandemic, and these guidelines will help us make the transition. Please discuss any questions or concerns with your manager or supervisor.

Medical isolation

Finally, a Commissioner’s Directive (CD) on inmates who are subject to medical isolation and modified routine due to COVID-19 has recently been promulgated. It took effect as of July 16, 2020. This policy is important to help prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 at our institutions. It provides direction to facilitate the early identification of COVID-19, the management of inmates and ultimately contributes to the safety of the public, staff and inmates. This policy applies to all CSC staff and contractors working in institutions, with the exception of CCCs. I encourage you to take the time to familiarize yourself with it.

I hope you are enjoying some summer weather and most importantly are able to relax with family and loved ones. Thank you again for your tremendous work.

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