COVID-19 update for correctional employees: May 7, 2021

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

I want to start by saying thank you for everything you do. I know you have all been working hard and your efforts are extremely appreciated. A simple thank you can go a long way, as can asking someone how they are doing, especially as many of you are working remotely. Please take time to check in with others.

It is Mental Health Week and this year’s theme is “Get Real about How you Feel”. I know the pandemic has been a long haul and it is important to recognize our emotions, talk about them and be supportive of each other. We are all in this together. This week is also a good reminder that CSC has many resources available to support you, such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), the Employee Assistance Services, as well the LifeSpeak platform. I invite you to visit the Hub to access these tools and resources.

COVID-19 Vaccines

We know that vaccines play an important role in our defence against COVID-19, among the many other layers of protection. To date, we have had great success with the vaccine campaign, which has been rolling out in our institutions and Community Correctional Centres across Canada. Our amazing health services team and operational staff have been busy running clinics since mid April and to date, 73% of inmates have now received at least one dose of the vaccine. Many staff have also chosen to get vaccinated. The more people who get vaccinated, the better it is for all of us as we start to develop community immunity. I encourage you to get vaccinated when it is your turn. I was vaccinated myself last week.

Nursing Week

I would like to recognize and thank CSC’s nurses who are helping to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our institutions and contributing to the health and well-being of federal inmates across the country. Your ongoing contributions are helping to build healthier communities – whether it be administering vaccines, caring for those who have contracted COVID-19, providing palliative care, managing infectious diseases, or administering harm reduction measures. Your role is vital.

The theme for this year’s National Nursing Week, taking place from May 10-16, is We Answer the Call. The theme showcases the many roles that nurses play in a patient’s healthcare journey. The pandemic has reminded us of the ongoing commitment and courage of nurses across the country and their important role in the health and safety of our communities. Please take the time this week to show your appreciation to all the nurses who are working tirelessly to make a difference in our institutions and communities!

Asian Heritage Month

May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada, a time to reflect on and celebrate the contributions that Canadians of Asian descent have made and continue to make, to the growth and prosperity of Canada. The people of this diverse, vibrant and growing community have contributed to every aspect of life in Canada — from the arts and science to sport, business, and government. Take this opportunity to learn more about our rich and diverse heritage and the many contributions of CSC colleagues of Asian descent.

It is also important to come together to speak out against anti-Asian discrimination and to listen to others who courageously share their lived experiences. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a disturbing rise in events linked to anti-Asian hate. This is unacceptable and we must collectively take a stand against this. We all have a role to play in being the driving force of change to end racism in all of its forms and build a future that is inclusive, diverse and respectful.

National Jewish Month

May is also National Jewish Heritage Month in Canada. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the richness of Jewish culture, heritage, and history. Canada has the fourth largest Jewish community in the world and Jewish Canadians have made significant contributions and play an integral part in helping to shape our country. I encourage you to take time this month to learn and celebrate the history and culture of Jewish Canadians.

Live Discussion for Black Employees and Allies

Among our initiatives and activities to promote diversity and inclusion at CSC, I would like to remind you of the Black Employee Network that has been created on MS Teams for Black employees and allies who want to share positive and empowering news and activities.

On Monday, May 10, you are all invited to a live discussion with Nick Fabiano, Assistant Commissioner, Human Resource Management. The Open Mic with Nick (Tell me what I should know) will be held from noon to 1:00 p.m. (EDT) on Microsoft Team, available to all staff with an internet connection. If you prefer to join the discussion by phone, dial 1-343-803-0906 (ID: 679 669 891 #). This is the time to share your views and ideas!

Run for Women

As many of you know, women have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with seven out of 10 Canadian women experiencing more anxiety, depression, fatigue, and isolation. Living with mental health challenges is hard, but we can come together—virtually—to make a difference.

The 2021 virtual Run for Women is raising money to help fund women's mental health programs across the country. You can choose the 5K run/walk or 10K run event—and you have a week to do it. You can complete your distance over a number of days between July 4 and 11. The event is being held in 18 cities across Canada, so you can choose to join a CSC team in the city closest to you.

Mental health is important to me. I invite you to join me virtually to run or walk for our mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and friends. If we do it together, we are unstoppable! Find out more about joining a virtual team near you.

Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey: Extended Closing Date to May 14

On March 16, the Public Service Commission (PSC) launched the 2021 Staffing and Non-Partisanship Survey to give employees an opportunity to provide feedback on the public service staffing system and recently extended the survey’s closing date to May 14.

The survey gives you the chance to offer your observations on the impact of the pandemic on staffing and on the promotion of diversity and inclusion within the public service. What you say can help to make a difference, so please take time to fill out the survey and let PSC know what you think. If you have not received an email invitation to participate, or if you have any questions, contact Statistics Canada, who is administering the survey, at 1-877-949-9492 (TTY: 1-800-363-7629), or

Star Blankets

I would like to take a moment to recognize the residents at Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge who recently made small Star Blankets to donate to parents in the community grieving the loss of their newborns. It was a great learning experience and rewarding for the residents, who are themselves Aunties, Mothers, or Kokums (grandmothers), to give back to members of the community, particularly as such loss was relatable for them. Read more about their thoughtfulness on the Hub.

Your commitment and positive attitude makes a difference to those around you, and your strength and resilience during this time is amazing. Please continue to maintain your healthy habits and keep up with the public health measures in place. This will help keep yourself, colleagues, and your loved ones healthy.  

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