COVID-19 update for correctional employees: June 25, 2021
This content is a message to Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) staff from CSC’s Commissioner.
Summer officially arrived with the summer solstice on Monday, June 21, the longest day of the year. I hope you are all planning some time away from work to relax and recharge yourselves. Please be sure to take time to enjoy yourself.
I would like to wish all our Francophone employees a happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, which took place yesterday, June 24. More than 10 million Canadians speak French with many different accents and expressions, but they all honour the traditional feast day of the birth of St. John the Baptist.
We continue to have zero cases of COVID-19 among the inmate population in any of our institutions. This is great news! Thank you for continuing to apply our infection prevention and control measures.
I am also pleased to share that over 76% of the inmate population has had at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 50% are fully vaccinated. We are still in the process of running second dose clinics across the country and I expect this percentage to go up further. This will make a big difference in helping to protect everyone.
Inmate testing and vaccination data is available on our website and continues to be updated regularly.
- Testing of inmates in federal correctional institutions for COVID-19
- Vaccines administered to inmates in the federal correctional system
Getting vaccinated is an important layer of protection in helping us all build community immunity, especially if you work in an institution. If you have not yet been vaccinated, here is more information to help you make an informed decision.
Given it is hockey playoff season, I thought this famous quote may resonate: “You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." – Wayne Gretzky. It is about succeeding through action and also looking towards the future state we all want, or in other words, skating to where the puck will be next.
Planning our future state
Depending on the nature of each person’s job, your current work situation may look a bit different. While many of our employees continued to go into our work sites during the pandemic, for others, it has meant working remotely due to the public health measures put in place.
This is an opportune time to assess the recent evolution of CSC’s administrative workspaces and review options for its future transformation and modernization. CSC is standing up the Workplace Review Committee to review existing and emerging government policies and best practices, and provide options and recommendations to CSC’s Executive Committee (EXCOM). Our approach will be guided by strategies from the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO), which falls under the Treasury Board Secretariat. Protecting the health and safety of all of our employees and the inmates in our care will continue to be our top priority.
Many efforts have been made across the country to show solidarity for the Indigenous families suffering given the loss of children at former residential schools. One of our CORCAN employees at Matsqui Institution, Eva Goldthorp, began making orange paper hearts she designed with two Native feathers to stick in her front window. The extra orange hearts she put outside on her lamppost in B.C. disappeared almost instantly and requests started coming in for more. Eva has now made 750 paper hearts and 750 orange heart stickers. Thank you, Eva, for your creativity and kindness.
National Indigenous Peoples Day was marked on Monday and June is National Indigenous History Month. I encourage you to read this note and ensure you are taking action to expand your knowledge and awareness of Indigenous history.
Stakeholder roundtable on Structured Intervention Units (SIUs)
On June 17-18, 2021, CSC held a virtual consultation with over 30 individuals and organizations on the Structured Intervention Units (SIUs), which were launched in November 2019. Since their implementation, CSC has been reviewing important external reports and data, including feedback from a number of stakeholders and input through town halls with staff. The consultation was focused on four themes, which have been raised in recent months by some of our stakeholders, including opportunities for time out of cell, meaningful human contact, managing inmates with mental health issues and inmates refusing to leave an SIU. It was a productive discussion and there were a lot of good observations and input provided by the group.
Sunday, June 27, is Canadian Multiculturalism Day—the day to discover and celebrate the rich cultures that make up our Canadian society. In 1971, Canada became the first country in the world to create an official policy “to preserve the cultural freedom of all individuals and provide recognition of the cultural contributions of diverse ethnic groups to Canadian society.” 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Multiculturalism Policy.
Our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. We must continue to strive to embrace all the many cultures and ethnicities that make up Canada and continue to build an inclusive country together.
I met with our National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. We had a productive discussion on a variety of items, including our anti-racism framework, ethnocultural framework and ways we can build more diversity and increase inclusion through community partnerships.
Thursday, July 1, is Canada Day. We have much to reflect on this year in light of recent events, and much to consider about what Canada means to each of us. The knowledge that we cannot erase the history of racial bias is important to enable us to take positive steps to become the society we aspire to be—one that is free of prejudice and intolerance. We need to acknowledge our history, but we can also move forward as people united in solidarity, understanding, and resilience.
Communities across the country have prepared innovative, virtual activities to mark the day. You will find details on the Canada Day website. Canada’s cultural and artistic diversity will be highlighted in the evening program, Lights on Canada Day, with artists from coast to coast to coast. I hope you enjoy this special day with your families and friends, all while being mindful of infection prevention and control measures.
On Monday, I was a witness at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security National Security. While my time was cut short due to votes in the House, I took the opportunity to express my thanks to all of you for your tremendous efforts both on COVID-19 and the implementation of SIUs. I am very grateful for your efforts, dedication and professionalism. Once again, THANK YOU!
The House of Commons has now risen for the summer and is expected to return on September 20, 2021.
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