COVID-19 update for correctional employees: January 15, 2021

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

I know it has been a busy start to the New Year, with many priorities on the go. You continue to do lots of great work to fulfill our mandate, especially during this public health pandemic. At the same time, many of you are caring for your families and have children learning remotely at home. I know this means having to juggle many things at once, including work responsibilities. This is why, it is important to practice self-care, exercise, and connect with your colleagues and loved ones.

Thank you for everything you do. I appreciate your ongoing commitment and dedication.


Given rising community transmission rates, different provinces are under heightened public health measures. We continue to use our Integrated Risk Management Framework to make decisions related to our operations and take measures to keep everyone as safe as possible.

We continue to have cases of COVID-19 in some of our institutions. Where there are outbreaks, many of the inmates are recovering and we are seeing the number of active cases decreasing. I know this requires hard work and diligence at our sites, and your efforts are making a difference. It is important that we stay the course in implementing our infection prevention and control protocols.

Since November 2020, CSC has implemented COVID-19 rapid testing in many of our institutions. Rapid testing has greatly improved our capacity for COVID-19 detection and the ability to provide timely information for managing outbreaks. I am pleased that CSC is also introducing a new COVID-19 rapid test (Abbott ID NOW), which displays a result in approximately 13 minutes. In light of these new testing technologies, we will release an update to CSC’s COVID-19 Testing Strategy very soon.

Public Service Employee Survey

I wanted to remind you that there is only one more week (until January 22) to take the Public Service Employee Survey. The results of the survey will help the federal public service identify what it is doing well and what it could be doing better. The results will also be a valuable source of information for the audit we are conducting of CSC Culture. The goal of the audit is to find ways to make CSC a safer, healthier, and more respectful, violence-free environment for all employees and offenders. The survey is designed to benefit you.

We are designating today and next Friday as Feedback Fridays. These theme days provide an opportunity for you to dedicate time in your calendar to complete the survey. Please take a few minutes to complete it. For more information, you can read my message about the Survey.

CAC Awareness Week – January 17–23, 2021

Every third week of January, CSC pauses to recognize the contribution of Citizen Advisory Committees (CACs) during CAC Awareness Week. This year, the week’s theme is CAC: Embracing the Future – COVID-19. Close to 400 Canadians are involved with CACs at our sites.

CAC members help to change the lives of offenders and contribute to public safety by doing such things as: connecting employers with offenders looking for work, providing objective advice, and teaching communities about the correctional and criminal justice process. I invite you to click here for more information about CACs and the 2020 James A. Murphy Award winner. Please take the time to thank your local CAC members.

Staff and Inmate Generosity

To wrap up on a positive note, I wanted to tell you some of the terrific stories I heard about staff and inmate generosity over the holidays.

The Wellness Committee at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary held a “12 days of Christmas” staff raffle, which raised $1,963 to establish a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

In addition, inmates from the minimum-security unit at Archambault Institution generously donated enough to purchase 18 large boxes, weighing over 900 pounds, of non-perishable food items that were delivered over the holidays to families in need in the Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines area.

In collaboration with Lanaudière schools and local Saint Vincent de Paul societies, underprivileged children in the Joliette region in Quebec wrote a short letter to their elf, identifying a good deed they would do in 2021, and a gift they wished for. The elves who received the letters, specifically employees at Joliette Institution and their families, made sure that the more than 170 children received gifts.

I always like hearing about these stories. CSC plays an important role nationally in many communities, and those communities help us as well. Thank you for your generosity and community involvement.

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