COVID-19 update for correctional employees: April 16, 2021
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.
I hope you are enjoying more time outdoors now that the weather is starting to get nicer in many parts of the country (sorry Prairie Region, I know you recently got some snow!). It is important to take time for yourself and get some exercise. This helps us maintain our mental and physical wellness.
I wanted to give you an update on COVID-19 vaccines and a number of other things that may be of interest to you.
Correctional Service Canada (CSC) has started rolling out phase two of its vaccination strategy by offering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all federal offenders in its 43 institutions and 14 community correctional centres (CCC). CSC is also offering the vaccine to staff who work at these sites and are not yet eligible to receive it from their province. This will help to increase the overall level of protection for everyone who lives or works in our congregate living settings. I want to thank all CSC staff and health care professionals who will be running the vaccination clinics.
I want you to know that the vaccine is safe and effective. I encourage you to get vaccinated. I know I will when it is my turn. There are a number of resources available on our website to help you make an informed decision.
After being vaccinated, it is common and normal to have temporary and mild side effects. This is the body's natural response, as it is working hard to build immunity against the disease. This is called an inflammatory response or reaction. Side effects may include mild symptoms at the injection site, such as redness and swelling. Some:
- get a headache
- feel fatigued, or
- have muscle aches
Most side effects do not disrupt daily activities and last a few hours to 48 hours after vaccination. Some people get no side effects at all.
For those who work at one of CSC's sites, if the symptoms are mild (you feel well enough to work) and they began after your vaccination, you can come to work. If the symptom(s) persists past 48 hours after your vaccination, please stay home and contact your manager and your local public health authority.
Even after being vaccinated, it is important that you keep up with our health and safety measures. Thank you for continuing to:
- wear your mask
- practice physical distancing, and
- wash your hands/sanitize often
Layers of protection will remain very important as the vaccine continues to be rolled out to more Canadians. Nobody is protected until everyone is protected.
Anniversary of the mass shooting in Nova Scotia
I am saddened to note that Sunday, April 18, marks one year since the tragic mass shooting in Nova Scotia. CSC institutions are planning events to mark the tragic day and remember Alanna Jenkins and Sean McLeod, who were CSC employees. Nova Institution will have an outdoor ceremony on April 19 in the memorial area, which was set up last year in the victims’ memory. There will be a spot for staff to place floating candles and contribute to a message board. Many staff are also participating in the upcoming memorial race for the victims. Correctional officers will wear their CSC logo ball caps and t-shirts during the race as a sign of unity and support for the families, and a way to honour Alanna and Sean’s service. Springhill Institution will be planting a shrub at the principal entrance. Both institutions’ Chaplains and Elders will perform services in honour of all who lost their lives that day. I speak for all staff in saying that our thoughts are with our CSC colleagues, Nova Scotians, and all of those who lost loved ones. Let us remember them.
National Volunteer Week
CSC is getting ready to celebrate National Volunteer Week from April 18 to 24. This week is an opportunity for us to recognize the thousands of CSC volunteers who are a vital link with the community, and to encourage them to contribute to volunteering with CSC virtually/remotely. They perform an important function and I am thankful for their work. They are an important link to the outside world and play a meaningful role in an offender’s journey and reintegration back into the community.
I also extend my gratitude to staff who have continued to connect offenders with volunteers in innovative ways, especially when it was not possible to go to sites physically during the pandemic. During COVID-19, many volunteers continued connecting with inmates through:
- video visitation
- phone conversations
- virtual book clubs
- pen pal programs, and
- many developed resources to support inmates
I encourage these innovative solutions and invite all institutions and parole offices to look at ways they can continue to engage volunteers.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many contributions of CSC's advisory committees, including the:
- citizen advisory committees
- national and regional ethnocultural advisory committees
- National Indigenous Advisory Committee, and
- regional victim advisory committees
2021 National Survey of Women Employees
You received an email on March 31, inviting all women employees to take the 2021 National Survey of Women Employees at CSC. This is CSC's first survey of women and a great opportunity to share your opinions and ideas on what is important to you. Over 1,220 of you have already answered the call to Speak Up,thank you!
If you tried to access the survey last week and had issues, I invite you to try again as the technical issue has been resolved and the link is now working on the CSCnetwork. It only takes 20 minutes to fill out the survey. Your opinion matters! Please take the time to participate by May 26, 2021. For more information, you can read the message from Angela Connidis, Champion of the National Working Group for Women.
Employees with Disabilities Support Network
I am proud to announce that:
- the Employees with Disabilities Support Network was recently launched on the MS Teams platform
I invite you to join this grassroots group. You may also have your own ideas for creating accessibility options or you know of helpful resources that you want to share with others. This new platform is a wonderful place for all of these discussions. CSC’s Champion of Persons with Disabilities, Nathalie Dufresne-Meek, is committed to providing safe spaces for CSC staff to support our commitment to diversity and inclusion. You may contact this team for more information:
In closing, I will note that Monday, April 19, is Budget Day. As usual, the budget speech will be televised at approximately 4 pm (ET).
Thank you, once again, for all of your hard work and dedication. It has been a challenging time but we will get through it together as a team!
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