COVID-19 update for correctional employees: October 8, 2020

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

I hope you are having a good week. As we get ready to greet the long weekend, I want to take the opportunity to provide a few updates and highlight some important dates.

For many of you, Thanksgiving weekend is a time to get together with family and friends over a nice meal and share what you are thankful for. Even if this year may look a little different, given public health measures, there are many ways we can express gratitude. Take time to spread positivity by noting a good experience, exploring ways to deal with adversity, thanking someone for a job well done and checking in with others.

On October 3, I started my 38th year with CSC and could not be prouder to lead this organization made up of such highly dedicated and committed employees. Thank you for all the work you do!

Women’s History Month

October is Women’s History Month. Let’s take this opportunity to recognize and celebrate all the amazing women who have made, and continue to make, a significant impact on our organization. This year, the theme is #BecauseOfYou.

Nearly half of our employees are women, fulfilling a variety of roles throughout our organization. I would like to express my gratitude to all of you working hard to make a difference day in and day out. We are able to change and impact lives, because of you. Let us take time to reflect on the importance of being role models to others, including the young women who will follow in our footsteps.

Mental Health

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week and October 10 is World Mental Health Day. October is also a month dedicated to promoting a healthy workplace.

At CSC, we work closely with offenders to support them in their rehabilitation journey. While this work can be rewarding, I know that it can also be challenging. At the same time, many of you are dealing with the added complexity of the pandemic and juggling multiple priorities, including caring for family members. Please remember to practice self-care. I like the analogy that airlines provide before take off: put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. It serves as a reminder that it is essential to take care of ourselves so we can be there for others.

I know I say it often but your health and safety are the top priority in everything we do. I serve as the Chair of our Committee for Mental Health Injuries and we had a productive meeting this week. Through the work of this committee, I am very committed to finding ways we can further support our employees. This includes promoting a healthy workplace culture, physical environment, and ways we can enhance health and safety.

World Teacher’s Day

October 5 was World Teacher’s Day and on social media, we took the opportunity to thank all of our teachers who work at our sites across the country to help offenders improve their literacy and education levels. I also want to extend my personal thanks to all of you for your work and dedication. Whether you are helping students learn to read or write, or assisting them in achieving their high school diploma or beyond, your guidance, support and encouragement are invaluable as they prepare for their eventual release into the community.

Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign

Every year, public servants across Canada show their generosity through the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC). CSC employees have always contributed to the success of the GCWCC with their generous donations and volunteering for the campaign. With many people and organizations across Canada effected by the pandemic, the need is greater than ever. Thank you for considering an ePledge to this year’s virtual campaign. Our goal is $80,000 and I am confident that with your generosity, we can meet this goal. Giving is also a way of showing our gratitude for the organizations who work hard to support our communities.

Even with all the uncertainty that 2020 has brought, there is so much to be thankful for. As a public servant, we are in a position to give to others and impact the lives of those in need. I recently came across this powerful quote and wanted to share it with you: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” - William Arthur Ward

IT Systems Outage and Cyber Security

Just a reminder that there will be an IT outage over Thanksgiving weekend (October 10-12). Information Management Services will be performing essential tests, which means that many services, such as email and VPN, will not be available. This also impacts video visitations for inmates in our institutions. I have encouraged inmates to connect with their loved ones by phone and to plan their visitations around this outage. Please take time to think about how this outage impacts your work and plan accordingly.

I also want to highlight that October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. We all depend on our smart phones for information and communication, so read the upcoming This Week at CSC cyber awareness tips for valuable information on how to keep your information, network, and devices—both at work and at home—private, safe, and secure from cyber predators.


As we have seen in recent weeks, there is an increase in COVID-19 cases in many communities. Since June, there have been no active cases among our inmate population at any of our institutions but nonetheless, we must remain diligent in applying our health measures and protocols. As employees, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are taking every precaution to avoid introducing the virus into our institutions. Remember to keep your social circle small, practice physical distancing, wash your hands, and please wear your mask. These layers of protection can really make a difference. Also, consider downloading the COVID Alert app as it can be a useful tool to help with early detection. I have downloaded it myself and have it handy on my phone.

I wish you all a very healthy and happy Thanksgiving weekend. It is important to take time to appreciate the meaningful things and people in our lives. Thank you, once again, for your hard work and dedication.

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