COVID-19 update for correctional employees: September 22, 2020

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

Spoiler Alert: This message is about COVID-19 and a plea to keep up with public health measures. Please read this.

I know we are all keen to get back to normal—to see all of our friends and families, and colleagues as we used to. And to celebrate special moments like birthdays, weddings and special holidays. It is hard. But the sacrifices we make now, will pay off later.

Over the summer months, we were seeing a more flattened curve in many jurisdictions, but now that fall has arrived, we are seeing a spike in cases in several communities. This is concerning but the good news is that we can all do our part to help keep our workplaces safe – not only for employees but offenders in our care.

This is a reminder that we all have a personal responsibility to be mindful of how we conduct ourselves at work and at home. As members of the Public Service, we are held to a higher standard. The efforts that we are taking to ensure there is no transmission within the institutions, community offices and in our workplaces should also be reflected in precautions we take in our personal lives. 

Dr. Tam, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, has said that community spread is coming from private gatherings in several communities (parties and get-togethers with friends/family) and from close contacts of confirmed cases. She reminds us to be diligent about keeping up with public health measures and reducing some of our contacts in order to prevent further spread.

What is more tricky is that someone can have the virus but not have symptoms and feel fine (asymptomatic). They can then unknowingly and inadvertently pass it on to others. It can have an exponential impact on cases, especially at gatherings where you increase or mix your close contacts. For gatherings indoors, simply put, the advice is to wear your mask and keep a physical distance (and consider not gathering if the risk seems too high). For outdoors, if you cannot keep your distance, wear your mask.

Our actions matter. Changes and precautions now will be reflected in our case count 2-3 weeks down the road. That, and the fact that we have a duty to do everything we can to protect those in our care, especially offenders in closed living environments.

My plea today is to ask that we all continue to follow public health infection and prevention control guidelines both inside and outside the workplace. This will help us limit any spread. And stay up-to-date as new information becomes available. As with any evolving situation, we need to be ready to react and adapt. I say it often but simple layers of protection do make a huge difference:

As one of Canada's public safety partners, we are considered essential in ensuring the public's safety. It is paramount each of us take the necessary precautions to limit exposure to community transmission. There are over 18,000 of us, and together we can make a real difference in keeping transmission at bay in our workplaces.

I appreciate everything you are all doing as we manage through this pandemic. 

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