COVID-19 update for correctional employees: April 23, 2021
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.
I wanted to thank you for continuing to follow our infection and prevention measures. As the third COVID-19 wave continues, it is important that we all continue to play our part. It is amazing to realize how commonplace it has become for all of us to put on a mask when we go out. I think it speaks to our resilience and commitment, two important values that have served us well this year and been a huge part of our successes. I am continually impressed with everything you do and how Correctional Service Canada (CSC) has come together as a team!
It is heartening to know that more vaccines are becoming available to Canadians. This past week, the governments of:
- British Columbia
- Manitoba, and
announced they are offering AstraZeneca for those 40 and older, opening up more vaccine options for people in those provinces. The more people who get vaccinated, the more protected we are because vaccines are known to be our best defence against the effects of this virus. I encourage you to take the opportunity to get vaccinated when it is available to you. There is a lot of factual information available to help you make an informed decision:
While some people get no side effects to vaccinations, some get mild ones that can last from a few hours to a few days. You may have:
- sore muscles
- a headache, or
- feel unusually tired
This is your body's way of building up an immunity to fight the coronavirus. If your symptoms persist after 48 hours, then contact your doctor.
I also want to remind you that even after you are vaccinated, it is essential to continue following our infection prevention control measures. Please continue to:
- wear your mask
- keep a distance of six feet between yourself and others, and
- keep up your hand washing/sanitizing
Also, limit your exposure to others. Each of these important practices are a layer of protection, and on their own, they help. All together, they provide the best protection. We must follow these measures in all parts of our life, at work and outside of work. This is necessary to avoid being exposed to COVID-19 and potentially exposing others, including offenders.
As well, if you cannot work from home and must attend a physical work site, please do not go into work if you have any family members or people in your household who are currently positive for COVID-19.
World Immunization Week
World Immunization Week is from April 24 to 30. It could not be more timely! We are taking this opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of vaccines as our best protection against the negative effects of viruses, such as COVID-19.
Immunizations save millions of lives every year and protect us from deadly diseases. With COVID-19 as our most pressing health issue, researchers and governments around the world are working hard to distribute vaccines. Public health also stresses the importance of continuing with our other layers of protection as well.
Thank you to CSC's health care staff, who vaccinate our inmate population year round, and who are now playing an invaluable role of providing the COVID-19 vaccine to staff and offenders in CSC's institutions and community correctional centres (CCCs). I would also like to thank all staff who are playing a key role in rolling out CSC's vaccination strategy. Thank you for working hard to keep us all safe.
New COVID-19 active screening process
As we continue our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, I am pleased to inform you that CSC is implementing a new active screening process for all:
- contractors, and
entering CSC's institutions and CCCs. Active screening is an important measure in preventing the introduction and spread of COVID-19 into our facilities. There are three ways to complete the active screening process for employees:
- electronically via the COVID Staff Screening Questions: Web Form, accessible on:
- CSC's website
- using a paper form (available on the Hub)
- verbally (with documentation), in specific circumstances, such as for those with a visual impairment
While the electronic or paper versions of the screening are the most recommended, each site will select any process or any combination of the three processes based on their unique infrastructure and logistics. It is essential that anyone experiencing symptoms or who receives a positive screening result remain at or return home to reduce the risk of exposure for everyone.
Please talk to your manager to determine which active screening method or combination of methods has been implemented at your site. For detailed information on the active screening process, please visit the Hub.
National Day of Mourning
April 28 marks the National Day of Mourning, a day to pay tribute to all those who have been lost or injured due to a workplace tragedy. Please take time to remember those that have died or suffered illness or injury in the course of carrying out their duties, as well as their families, who may also be affected by this.
Yesterday, April 22, was Earth Day, a worldwide environmental event that provides a great opportunity to think about our impact on the planet.
This year's Earth Day theme is Restore our Earth. CSC, along with other Government of Canada departments, participates in several green activities and initiatives through our sustainable development strategy. The strategy's main purpose is to be mindful of the ecological impacts of our operations by:
- reducing the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for global warming and climate change
- reducing waste
- monitoring/conserving water
- enhancing wastewater treatment, and
- protecting the natural habitats that our institutions are built on
I encourage you to read and learn about CSC's environmental protection efforts in our Sustainable Development Strategy 2020 to 2023.
This week, as we heard the verdict surrounding the death of George Floyd, we were all reminded that more action is needed to prevent discrimination and racism in all of its forms. It brought up a lot of emotions for a lot of people. It was a reminder that individually, we can all do better, and collectively as an organization, CSC will. CSC has an Anti-Racism Framework and Action Plan in place. It has three pillars:
- offenders, and
CSC is also looking to form a dedicated team internally to lead our approach moving forward. CSC has had dedicated presentations and discussions at the Executive Committee several times and this is now a standing agenda item to ensure progress and ongoing action. Thank you to CSC's multicultural, diversity and anti-racism working groups, champions, and allies, for their ongoing work and commitment to moving this forward.
Administrative Professionals Day
Wednesday, April 21, was Administrative Professionals Day. I sent out a note to all staff to take a moment to thank all our hardworking administrative staff working across the country, in every location. Your tireless efforts over this past year have been essential in ensuring the organization runs smoothly. Your dedication to providing support to colleagues and carrying out your many duties with professionalism, pride and attention to detail under extremely challenging circumstances is remarkable and greatly appreciated. You really do keep the lights on. You are truly inspiring; thank you for your work.
Virtual Talking Circle with Elder Dan Ross
I wanted to share that the Indigenous Initiatives Directorate invites all staff to join a Virtual Talking Circle led by Elder Dan Ross, on Thursday, April 29, from 2:00 to 3:00 pm ET. This is a great opportunity to participate in a First Nations' cultural practice that encourages balanced living and well-being. You can learn more about the event and how to join virtually on the Hub.
As we close National Volunteer Week, I wanted to give a shout out to all CSC employees who volunteer their time to help the organization. Your dedication and commitment to helping others is appreciated by so many. This includes our tireless volunteers in the Employee Assistance Program and Critical Incident Stress Management who devote a lot of time and effort to support others, particularly over the past year. I would also like to thank the volunteers who give their time to the health and safety committees in addition to their regular work duties. They are making a safer workplace for all of us.
I really appreciate the positive impact you are making through your work at CSC. Thank you for continuing to take measures to protect yourself and others by:
- getting vaccinated
- wearing your mask
- physical distancing, and
- washing/sanitizing your hands often
By taking these actions, you are making a difference.
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