COVID-19 update for correctional employees: March 26, 2021

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

I hope you have been enjoying the longer days now that spring is here. As the Correctional Service Canada (CSC) continues its important work a year after COVID-19 began, I want to thank you again for your hard work and commitment to keeping offenders safe and adjusting to our evolving new normal. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed and are much appreciated.

It is good to see the number of positive cases decreasing in our institutions. This is in large part thanks to your continued efforts to follow our infection prevention control measures inside and outside the work environment. I know it has not been easy, but I appreciate you continuing to follow these measures. They are helping keep everyone healthy.

Contact tracing

Since the beginning of the pandemic, CSC has relied on employees to conduct COVID-19 contact tracing. Hundreds of staff have volunteered for training to work as CSC contact tracers. In January 2021, building on nearly a year of experience, CSC implemented the National Contact Tracing Unit. More than 12,000 contact traces have occurred since March 31, 2020.

Contact tracing is a powerful public health tool to help stop the spread of an infectious disease. It has helped us identify those who have been exposed to COVID-19 and allows us to take action to stop the spread. Some of the more frequent reasons people are identified as close contacts, include eating or drinking with others, even briefly, and not wearing masks when with colleagues. Please continue to follow our infection prevention and control measures to limit the risk of COVID-19. Thank you CSC contact tracers for your ongoing dedication and commitment to keeping staff, inmates, and the public safe.

Keeping the dialogue open on racism and discrimination

Here at CSC, we have many wonderful staff members who are actively working to combat racism and discrimination and to promote diversity and inclusivity. They are doing this important work both in their professional and personal lives. I invite you to read what employees are saying on these important matters. If you would like to submit your own quote and photo for this Hub page, you can send them to:

National Women Employee Survey

Keep your eyes open for an email next Wednesday, March 31, 2021, which will include a link to the 2021 National Survey of Women Employees. The survey is open to all women employees, including those who identify as women. Your response to the survey will serve as an invaluable resource to identify what CSC is doing well, as well as identifying areas that need improvement. I encourage you to fill out the survey. Your opinion matters and will help us create a workplace that is:

Free Spirit Peer Support Group

The Free Spirit Peer Support Group at the Regional Treatment Centre (RTC) in Ontario is a peer-led, supportive environment open to all inmates at the RTC. Inmates recently began making no-sew fleece blankets and handwritten messages that will be provided to Lunch by George, a community organization that provides services to the Kingston homeless population. The group has focused on helping individuals who are experiencing homelessness. This is something many of the inmates have experienced themselves, and they wanted to provide support any way they could. The group has now set their sights on continuing to donate to the community, but this time with a different passion: helping animals. They will be making toys for dogs and cats for the Humane Society. Thank you to the staff at the RTC who have supported inmates participating in the support group.

As the weather gets increasingly warmer, and we start to spend more time outside, I would like to remind you to keep health measures top of mind. Thank you for doing your part in keeping yourself and those around you safe and healthy.

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