COVID-19 update for correctional employees: September 25, 2020

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

I often reflect on the incredibly committed staff the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) has across the country. There are many of you who deserve recognition for going above and beyond in the work you do. On an ongoing basis, we develop and share stories that highlight your accomplishments. CSC has also created a new Kudos Corner on the Hub to recognize colleagues.

Speech from the Throne

On Wednesday, Governor General Julie Payette opened a new session of Parliament with a Speech from the Throne. The speech laid out the Government of Canada’s goals and agenda for this session. It also unveiled the government’s strategy for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. Although CSC was not specifically identified in the speech, the Government of Canada pledged to address systemic racism and committed to do so in a way informed by the lived experiences of:

We look forward to continuing our work in support of the Government of Canada’s public safety agenda. You can read the full speech here:

Emerson Douyon Multiculturalism Award winner

In the spirit of recognition, I would like to congratulate Cecilia Rossander, a Social Program Officer at William Head Institution, who is the 2019 to 2020 recipient of:

Cecilia’s commitment to multiculturalism is demonstrated through her ongoing dedication to respect, diversity and inclusion in all the vital work she has done to promote multiculturalism and diversity within CSC and in the community.

Inclusivity is among CSC’s values and it means making a commitment to being welcoming and learning from others, including their cultural and spiritual backgrounds and points of view. We strive to live this value and appreciate Cecilia and the many others who make this a practice in our workplace every day.

Respect in the workplace

CSC's employees are a reflection of the Canadians it serves. CSC employees come from different cultural, ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds, and they have different skills and abilities. I am proud of our diversity. It is one of our greatest strengths.

By valuing our differences, we create an inclusive, respectful workplace where all employees, and the offenders we work with, are respected. Bullying, harassment, and violence are destructive behaviours that can stem from intolerance of another’s differences. They are unacceptable and have no place within CSC. Over the last two years, CSC introduced national training standards for all staff, which include courses on creating a respectful workplace. CSC continues to make progress on building a healthy work environment but it requires an ongoing commitment by all of us.

Please continue to be mindful of this in your everyday interactions and what you can do, both individually and within your teams, to lead by example. And be kind to one another, especially during these more stressful times.

Gender Equality Week

This week, we celebrated Gender Equality Week. It is a time to recognize and celebrate the significant achievements that CSC has made in improving gender equality and addressing the challenges that this community continues to face. By marking this week, CSC recognizes the work we must do as individuals every day to make sure that everyone has equal access to resources and opportunities.

Police and peace officers’ memorial

This week is Canadian Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Week. It is a personal honour for me to participate in the ceremony each year when Canadians across the country take time to remember and honour members of law enforcement who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

This year, as with so many occasions, the event will be virtual and live-streamed for everyone to view. This Sunday, September 27, please consider participating in the Canadian Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. I will be watching, and will be observing two minutes of silence to honour those who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Updates on reinstating activities

As part of my commitment to keep you informed, I share with you updates every week about the programs and services that are resuming across the country as CSC establishes a new normal during the pandemic.

As you know, the situation is different in communities across Canada. While some areas are facing a low number of COVID-19 cases, others are seeing spikes with further public health measures being put in place. Therefore, CSC's activities and their roll out differ across the country based on risk. CSC is closely monitoring the situation and is prepared to make changes rapidly should the situation and risk levels change.

As part of CSC's case management services, institutional parole officers (IPOs) and managers, assessment and interventions will now rotate between working onsite and remotely. IPOs will now be available to meet with inmates in-person more frequently and will continue to be available by phone or videoconference, as feasible. Health, safety and privacy measures will be in place for any in-person interactions.

Barbering and hairstyling services will also begin to resume in some institutions. Everyone will need to wear a mask at all times, and services will be by appointment only. Also, appointments will be limited to allow for cleaning and disinfecting between each appointment.

CSC will also resume in-person assessments (testing) to be able to recruit primary workers (PWs). It is important that CSC continue to build its staff complement, so we have created a way to safely resume testing in order to be able to hire more PWs. This will now occur off-site in pre-approved locations where physical distancing is possible.

COVID-19 pandemic

I sent a note to all of you on Tuesday, specifically on COVID-19. Please read it if you have not already. In some communities, cases of COVID-19 are on the rise and it is so important that we stick to the public health measures in place, both in our personal and professional lives. The pandemic is affecting our communities, friends and loved ones in different ways, depending on their situation. We hear stories on the news about how thousands of children across the country who require different medical treatments are impacted by the ripple effects of the pandemic. Some Canadians have lost their jobs or are struggling. We also think of our aging parents, Elders and immuno-compromised friends and family, and how the COVID-19 virus really impacts them.

Our individual actions can have an important community impact. What we do now, will be seen in our numbers two to three weeks down the road. Please keep up your efforts to prevent the spread of this virus. This will help reduce the need for additional restrictions that can have health, economic, and social impacts, but more importantly, can play a key role in preventing sickness and the needless deaths of fellow Canadians.

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