COVID-19 update for correctional employees: March 12, 2021

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

One year ago, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a world pandemic. At that time, there were 118,000 cases globally and 95 in Canada. A year later, our country has had over 890,000 cases. Thursday, March 11, was a National Day of Observance in Canada to acknowledge the impact that the pandemic has had in Canada and globally. The Prime Minister issued a statement about the day.

On its social media platforms, the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) took the opportunity to extend thanks to you, its employees, for all of your work to keep everyone healthy and safe. I know this came at a great sacrifice, at times, and your hard work and dedication are truly appreciated. Since the very beginning, the health and well-being of CSC staff and offenders have been top of mind. I am grateful for your exemplary work, day in and day out, over the past year. You have remained resilient no matter the challenge, and I am proud of the work you are doing under these exceptional circumstances.

Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day is observed annually to mark the tragic anniversary of the day police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid ‘pass laws’ in 1960. By recognizing this day each year, it helps raise awareness of racial discrimination and encourages the international community to increase efforts to eliminate all forms of racism.

To honour this important day, I invite you to take part in a webinar hosted by the National Employment Equity and Diversity Committee. On March 18, two inspirational keynote speakers will share their stories about their lives in Canada and their experiences with racism. Listening to racialized people and communities is an important way to learn about the devastating impacts of racism and discrimination and find positive solutions to ensure a more inclusive, respectful, and diverse society.

Canadian Families and Corrections Network News

Our Citizen Engagement group has been working with the Canadian Families and Corrections Network (CFCN) to expand their Ontario Visitor Resource Centre program across Canada. During the pandemic, CFCN has pivoted to develop virtual telephone-based Family Resiliency Sessions for inmates to encourage:

If your institution is interested in getting involved in this program, or would like to make a referral for an inmate, please contact:

Louise Leonardi

In addition, CFCN has shipped boxes to all institution with resources to support inmates and their families. Inmate letter writing kits will be rolled out in the coming weeks. CSC hopes these resources will provide additional support for inmates and institutions during this challenging period.

Update to the Penitentiary Farm Program

Last week, an update was provided on the Penitentiary Farm Program, which runs at Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions. Due to unplanned financial challenges to address the global COVID-19 pandemic, CSC will be focusing its dairy operations on the dairy cow program and temporarily pause the implementation of the dairy goat operation. The dairy goat program will resume once the effects of the pandemic can be fully assessed.

Inmates continue to be involved in various other farm related activities including:

The Penitentiary Farm Program helps federal inmates find meaningful employment, which is an important contributing factor to their successful reintegration. Offenders who find jobs in the community are three times less likely to return to CSC's custody for a new offence. CSC will continue working with its partners and stakeholders to strengthen our programs to meet the needs of inmates and the community.

Thank you to all staff at CORCAN for all the work you do to help offenders.

National Nutrition Month

March is Nutrition Month. Did you know that CSC has a team of nine registered dietitians across the country? They:

Dietitians are the trusted choice for credible nutritional information. They want to educate and help people make healthier food choices and adopt healthy behaviors by providing personalized nutritional advice. They are also the subject matter experts when it comes to questions related to food and diet in the institutions. Thank you to all of CSC’s dieticians for the important work that you do.

I want to reinforce how important it is to continue to be diligent, inside and outside of work, in following public health guidelines to protect yourself and others. CSC wants everyone to stay safe and healthy. Thank you for doing your part by following our infection and prevention control measures, by:

I appreciate how you have made great efforts to adjust to these measures. They have been an important part of our new reality over the past year, and remain necessary to keep our workplaces protected.

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