COVID-19 update for correctional employees: September 3, 2021

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

As September begins, many of you have children who have started or are soon starting school. In many cases, it is in-class again across the country. I know it has been a challenging time to balance everything during the pandemic and want to thank you for everything you do both for your family and for us here at work! I hope it is a smooth transition, and I wish everyone well as you settle into new routines this fall.

As we head into the Labour Day weekend and hear that daily cases are on the rise across the country, I want to remind you how important it is that we continue to implement our health and safety measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Vaccines provide protection, but even if you are fully vaccinated, we need to continue following the other health and safety protocols as additional layers of protection. A mask can help protect you, and help prevent you from passing the virus to others. This, along with washing/sanitizing our hands often and keeping a two-metre distance between yourself and others will help prevent outbreaks as we move into the fall season.

Thank you to those working this long weekend. Your hard work and dedication is appreciated.

Election Day for Inmates

This year’s federal election is September 20, and inmates will have the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights and vote next week, on September 8, in their institution. Posters and pamphlets containing instructions on the voting process were delivered to all institutions. The big difference about this election is the health and safety precautions in place to minimize introduction and spread of the virus. Elections officials will be screened for COVID-19 before entering the institutions, and will wear masks or PPE, as necessary, while in the facility. There will be hand sanitizer at each polling station, and inmates will be given a single-use pencil that will be discarded after they mark their ballot. Thank you in advance to those of you who are involved in facilitating the voting process for inmates. 

Launch of the 2021 GCWCC 

The Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC) kicks off on September 8 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The campaign runs until December 31. I want to thank you in advance for your generosity. I am always impressed with how CSC employees willingly donate to the charitable work in our communities. This year has been especially difficult for many Canadians who have been affected by the pandemic. The GCWCC is a meaningful way to show your support to those in your community who need it most. Your gift matters now more than ever.

I encourage you to join the National Launch Event to hear inspiring remarks from GCWCC Elder in-residence, the Interim Clerk of the Privy Council Janice Charette, and Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada.

International Literacy Day and Book Clubs

September 8 is International Literacy Day, aimed at raising awareness of literacy problems that exist in our own communities. One of the ways that we support literacy in our institutions is through book clubs. CSC is proud of the 13-year partnership with Book Clubs for Inmates, a volunteer-led organization supporting book clubs with thousands of inmates at 36 of our institutions across the country.

The book club not only promotes reading and comprehension skills, but also provides a sense of community and togetherness for inmates participating in the program.

Kudos to social program officers (SPOs) and the many staff across the country who provide support to Book Club for Inmates, including coordination of librarians and more than 100 volunteers!

Linguistic Duality Day  

September 9 will mark the Public Service of Canada’s 12th annual Linguistic Duality Day, which celebrates Canada’s two official languages both within the public service and throughout Canadian society. Our institutions and parole offices across the country engage in linguistic duality year-round through positive measures to support and celebrate our country’s bilingual character. Join me on September 9 in celebrating our rich linguistic heritage at a special Linguistic Duality event, and take the opportunity to reflect on how we can better support linguistic minority groups.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day 

On September 9, CSC will also join the Canada FASD Research Network to acknowledge International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day and promote understanding of those affected by this disorder. 

FASD is a developmental disorder that results from a baby’s exposure to alcohol in the womb. It is the leading known cause of preventable developmental disability in Canada.

It is important in our line of work to recognize that individuals with this permanent disability face a number of challenges daily, and may need support with:

to reach their full potential.

Providing consistent:

of these individuals can really help. 

World Suicide Prevention Day 

World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 is an opportunity to recognize those affected by suicide, and to promote an understanding of suicide and suicide prevention. This year, the theme is Creating Hope Through Action, which is a reminder that through our collective actions, no matter how big or small, we can remind people there is always hope. We can all play a role in supporting those experiencing a suicidal crisis or those bereaved by suicide. Especially in these unprecedented times, we need to continue to provide awareness, understanding, training, treatment, and resources. Let us try to proactively help those affected to feel more connected, and less vulnerable.

Thank you for your ongoing work with offenders, both in institutions and in the community. You are helping them to turn their lives around. This often requires your understanding of the challenges they may have faced. Your good work makes a huge difference and is greatly appreciated.

I would also like to recognize those who may not work directly with offenders but work to support our mandate in many different ways. It takes a village. I am always impressed by the innovative work happening across the country to keep us moving forward! Thank you. 

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