COVID-19 update for correctional employees: August 6, 2020

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

Once again, thank you for your efforts and ongoing work in helping us shape our new normal under new health and safety measures. We are making good progress on gradually resuming key activities and the decision-making structure that is in place is benefiting from excellent input from our labour partners, employees and external stakeholders. Below are this week’s updates.

Tragedy in Beirut, Lebanon

Many of us are saddened by the horrible tragedy that occurred in Beirut, Lebanon, on August 4. My thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones and I wish those injured a speedy recovery. I know some of you may have family and friends in the area and may be looking for more information. While the Embassy of Canada to Lebanon is temporarily closed due to the explosion, there is an Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa available for emergency consular assistance at +1-613-996-8885 or for those who require support from Canadian officials. Join me in supporting our colleagues and friends affected by this tragedy.

Cleaning protocols

COVID-19 is a highly transmittable virus that can spread through droplets from person-to-person and through contact with contaminated surfaces. It is also one of the easiest types of viruses to kill through proper cleaning using the appropriate disinfectant.

Because the health and safety of all remains our top priority, the COVID-19: Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidance, as well as the COVID-19 Institutional Cleaning Step-by-Step Guide have been recently updated as supplements to existing CSC infection prevention and control guidance. These guidelines focus on CSC institutions and workplaces, and I encourage you to review it. Please consult the Hub for more guidance documents.


In accordance with CSC’s National Risk Management Framework for shaping the new normal, our focus will be on critical training only until further notice. This means that training will be delivered locally or regionally, as needed, in order to limit travel between provinces. Every effort will be made to implement distance-learning solutions (online, video, videoconference, virtual classroom) where possible. In addition, in-class training will take place in areas where risk levels permit and no other learning options are available or adequate.

Institutional activities and programs

As you may be aware, CSC delivers victim-offender mediation services through its Restorative Opportunities (RO) program, based on the values and principles of restorative justice. This activity was recently approved to resume, in three phases. The program will start by giving priority to time-sensitive cases and those assessed as ready to move forward to a face-to-face mediation before the pandemic. As with all activities, masks must be worn at all times and participants must practice physical distancing.

Reintegration Workers will also begin delivering non-case management interventions to ensure the overall safety of Community Correctional Centres, staff, offenders and the public. Employment Coordinators and Indigenous Liaison Officers will also resume work in the institutions and community. All spaces will be cleaned between in-person interventions in accordance with national standards. Cultural activities, hobbies and crafts will also start again in small groups and with a limited number of participants at the same time.

We also continue to expand chaplaincy services to support offenders, including the resumption of group activities and one-on-one sessions.

COVID Alert Application

The Government of Canada launched a new nation-wide mobile app that lets users know if they may have been exposed to COVID-19. By downloading it, we can all help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks. The app is available now for free download in the App Store and the Google Play Store. Learn more at:

Statistics Canada COVID-19 Survey

Statistics Canada has launched a crowdsourcing initiative to collect data on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people’s experiences of discrimination. I invite you to participate in this survey (linked below). The results will help evaluate the delivery of health and social services and economic support, and to ensure best practices are adopted when reopening workplaces and public spaces. The survey closes on August 17.

Take care and stay safe.

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