COVID-19 update for correctional employees: September 10, 2021
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.
I hope you enjoyed the Labour Day weekend. I hope that over the summer you took some well-deserved time off and are ready for fall.
I want to thank you for your continued dedication and professionalism these last 18 months. Whether you are working directly with offenders or in programs and sectors that support our overall goal of helping offenders on their path to rehabilitation, your work is very much valued and appreciated. I am proud to lead our organization, and am grateful for your hard work and ongoing commitment to keeping Canadians safe. I am also grateful for the contribution of our unions and stakeholders in working collaboratively with us as we make decisions related to everyone's health and safety.
I wanted to give you a vaccine update. Nearly 68% of Canadians have received two doses and are fully vaccinated. This is good news. However, cases are rising across Canada, and I would like to remind you that vaccines continue to reduce a person's risk of contracting the virus, as well as reduce your risk of:
- serious illness
- hospitalization, or
- death from COVID-19
In fact, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that only 1.5% of COVID-19 cases are among people who are fully vaccinated.
In our institutions, the overall vaccination rate (with two doses) among our inmate population is currently at 74%. We continue to offer the vaccine to those who may have previously declined. You can find the full breakdown of vaccine data on our website:
The vaccine is effective at protecting you, but it is not 100%. You can still contract a mild case of COVID-19 from an unvaccinated person, but you will not likely get seriously ill if you are fully vaccinated. This is why public health advises a layered approach to infection prevention and control measures as the best protection against COVID-19:
- get vaccinated
- wear a mask
- wash/sanitize your hands often, and
- continue keeping a physical distance of two metres from others
World Suicide Prevention Day
Today, September 10, is:
I ask you to take a moment to recognize the impact of suicide. It is important:
- to recognize those affected by suicide
- to promote an understanding of suicide, and
- how to prevent it
Each of us can make a difference in someone else's life by checking on them and listening to them. You can easily do this:
- with a phone call, a text, an email
- on MS Teams; or
- just stopping by someone's:
- post, or
- cell/residence, in the case of an offender
If you need more information about what you can do if someone is thinking about suicide, visit:
For employees and their family members who may be going through a difficult time, please remember that you can talk to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) referral agent. The list of EAP referral agents is available on the Hub.
For immediate crisis support and counselling or referrals to short-term confidential counseling, employees and their family members can also contact the EAS by telephone at 1-800-268-7708. This service is available:
- 24 hours per day
- seven days per week
- 365 days per year
International Day of Democracy
September 15 is International Day of Democracy, which provides an opportunity to reflect on the state of democracy around the world. The values of:
- respect for human rights, and
- the principle of holding free and open elections
are essential elements of democracy.
As we are currently in a federal election period, take a moment to recognize and appreciate that we live in a country where our democratic rights are recognized and upheld. Take advantage of the opportunity to vote and shape our democracy.
Veterans Support Secretariat
It has been difficult to watch the situation in Afghanistan. This is particularly the case for those with family and friends there and for our veterans as well as our CSC staff that were on Mission in Afghanistan and worked alongside local Afghani partners and experienced the country and its people firsthand.
We have been working in concert with our colleagues at Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to support and facilitate the settlement of individuals identified in our Special Immigration Program in Afghanistan.
I encourage anyone working at CSC who is having a challenging time processing this to reach out to the Employee Assistance Program.
CSC employees who are veterans may also reach out to CSC's Veterans Support Secretariat (VSS) at:
Knowing you need help and reaching out to find it is very important during times of stress, uncertainty, and loss. The VSS wants to remind everyone that CSC has many resources to help.
Book clubs for inmates
Last week, I mentioned our terrific volunteer-led organization that supports book clubs in institutions across the country. We have heard so many positive comments about the program that it inspired an article about the book clubs that was published in Let's Talk Express on International Literacy Day this past Wednesday. I encourage you to read the article and learn more about the book clubs:
If you are interested in starting a book club in your institution, I encourage you to contact Rev. Dr. Carol Finlay for more information, starting in October, at:
The Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign (GCWCC) officially launched this week, on September 8. I hope you will join me again this year in contributing to the campaign. The pandemic has affected countless people in all aspects of our society. Some have lost their job and struggle to make ends meet. Isolation, anxiety and loss of income has been hard on many people's mental health. Others, with serious medical conditions, have had surgeries and treatment put on hold so hospitals can treat patients with COVID-19.
The charitable campaign aims to assist the vulnerable in our communities.
This year more than ever your generosity is needed and much appreciated. As the campaign kicks off, I thank you in advance for supporting the cause closest to your heart.
Please remember that it is important that you take time for yourself and make your physical and mental health a priority. Thank you again for all your hard work, and also for supporting your colleagues and others, as we continue working during the pandemic.
Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.
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