COVID-19 update for correctional employees: November 19, 2021
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.
My thoughts are with those in southwestern British Columbia (BC) whose lives have been upended by the torrential rains earlier this week. BC has had its share of extreme weather and natural disasters over the last few months. The latest heavy storms caused extreme flooding and mudslides, washing out roads and bridges. We are thinking of our colleagues in the Pacific Region who have been affected by this and who are working during this challenging time. There does not appear to be any flooding affecting institutions; however, there are some operational impacts due to flooding of the roads. We have contingency plans in place and all institutions have:
- safe water
- food, and
- medical supplies
Our hearts are with the families who have been evacuated because of the flooding and whose homes and communities have been devastated by this. And our thanks are with those who have opened their homes and hearts to others.
COVID-19 vaccination update
We currently have an outbreak at Dorchester Penitentiary.
More than 80% of inmates are now fully vaccinated and 85% have had their first dose. Thank you for encouraging and facilitating inmates to get vaccinated. Thank you, too, for leading by example by being fully vaccinated yourselves. We know that vaccinations are key to halting the spread of COVID-19.
I also encourage you to get your flu shot. It is a good way of keeping yourself healthy throughout the winter.
- Find a clinic where you can get the flu shot
Anti-Racism, diversity, and inclusion
I wanted to give you an update on the work we are doing on:
- diversity, and
I am pleased to announce that Kirstan Gagnon, Assistant Commissioner, Communications and Engagement, has taken on the role of Champion of Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion. Kirstan has extensive experience engaging and working with:
- Indigenous groups
- people with disabilities, and
- ethnocultural communities
Kirstan will be our EXCOM representative who brings a voice to this important initiative. Kirstan brings a passion for change and action, and she is committed to learning more from our employees and stakeholders, especially Black, Indigenous, and those who are racialized, to inform our next steps. In her role as an ally, she will play an important role in supporting CSC to build an:
- more inclusive, and
- stronger organization where everyone feels safe and welcomed
Last fall, CSC developed an Anti-racism Framework and Action Plan that focuses on three pillars:
- employees, and
Many of these initiatives are already underway or are being planned. The framework provides a national umbrella in order for CSC, and all of its sectors and regions, to have a coordinated overarching approach. It will evolve yearly. We have consulted on the framework with our National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee and our senior management team. In the coming months, we will be discussing the framework further with staff and others to ensure we are incorporating this important feedback into our yearly planning process. We will also be reporting out on progress being made.
To support and advance this important work, a new unit dedicated to this work is being created at CSC to support the champion. We are currently looking for a director of anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion. We have just posted this opportunity on the Hub. This person will:
- provide leadership and direction
- set priorities
- consult broadly, and
- ensure coordination and progress throughout the department
If you are interested in this exciting new challenge, I encourage you to apply.
This is an area of tremendous importance to CSC and we are committed to taking bold action to address systemic racism and foster an environment that is:
- inclusive, and
Tackling these issues is a priority for me and the creation of this team is a firm commitment for change. I look forward to the improvements we will make as an organization.
I want to remind you that we all have a role to play, both individually and collectively. I encourage you to visit the Canada School of Public Service’s website:
where you will find a series featuring the latest information on topics such as:
- anti-Black racism
- unconscious bias, and
- the challenges faced by visible minorities in the public service
I am counting on you to:
- get involved
- share your experience
- learn from others, and
- be part of the solution
Time for change is now.
Victims and Survivors of Crime Week
November 14 to 20 is Victims and Survivors of Crime Week. I am proud that CSC provides a range of services on a daily basis to help victims and survivors of crime, through:
- information sharing
- promotion of services
- collaboration with community partners, and
- outreach to local communities
Our organization is one that:
- serves all Canadians
- protects victims and their families, and
- creates a safer and stronger Canada for everyone
Visit Victims and Survivors of Crime Week for more information and to see the events planned for the week.
International Day for Tolerance
November 16 was the International Day for Tolerance, which aims to foster mutual:
- understanding, and
for the rich cultures and forms of expression people around the world have. We are fortunate that diverse cultures from every region of the globe make up our Canadian communities, and by extension CSC staff. Tolerance is:
- acknowledging, and
- respecting that right
This is essential in creating a culture at CSC where we genuinely value the contribution each of us makes.
CSC Respect Day
November 20 is CSC Respect Day, a day to reflect on the role we each play in creating a respectful workplace. When respect starts from within, we are able to develop respect for others. Learning to respect ourselves, by acknowledging our own limits and values, allows us to better recognize these boundaries in others, making our relationships more:
- positive, and
Regardless of your position, we are all human beings, with our own individual:
- opinions, and
ultimately, making us all different. Everyone deserves respect! Respecting ourselves also means being mindful of the well-being of others and respecting everything that makes them unique. Let's make respect the foundation of our workplace!
Transgender Day of Remembrance
Transgender Day of Remembrance, takes place every year on November 20, and honours the memory of transgender and gender diverse people who lost their lives in acts of anti-transgender violence. LGBTQ2+ communities continue to endure hate crimes and fatal attacks. This is unacceptable. Having a culture at CSC that is free from discrimination and harassment is of utmost importance to me. I encourage you to take a moment to consider how we can all be more tolerant and accepting of our differences.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Every day, around the world, women and girls are victims of:
- sexual, and
- psychological forms of violence
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25 reminds us of these intolerable human rights violations. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an increase in violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence. Ending violence of any kind against women and girls starts in our own community and workplace. All women at CSC, employees and offenders, must be treated equally and with respect.
Restorative Justice Week
Restorative Justice Week takes place from November 21 to 28. CSC is proud to advance restorative justice practices in Canada. For almost two decades, we have provided victim-offender mediation services nationally through:
Thank you to everyone who is involved in supporting this:
- transformative, and
- innovative work
This year’s National Restorative Justice Symposium will be held virtually November 22 and 23. For more information regarding the workshop presentations, and how to register, please visit:
Canada History Week
Canada History Week 2021 takes place from November 22 to 28. This year’s theme is Indigenous History, which provides us with the opportunity for us to learn more about the peoples and events that have shaped the Canada we know today. I encourage you to reflect upon and engage with Canada’s past by exploring:
- the Indigenous Learning Series provided by the Canada School of Public Service
Let this commemorative week remind us that the path to reconciliation is an ongoing process that requires sustained conscious actions.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank the outstanding:
- Indigenous employees
- Elders, and
who make a difference every day by mending wounds and building new relationships based on trust and mutual understanding.
Changes to the use of Other Leave with Pay (699)
The guidance for the use of Other Leave With Pay (699) has undergone a number of adjustments since the beginning of the pandemic, to allow public servants to navigate through the various challenges associated with COVID-19. Following the implementation of the Policy on COVID-19 Vaccination for the Core Public Administration, the application of Other Leave With Pay (699) has reverted back to its original purpose. Effective November 15, 699 leave is only available under exceptional circumstances only where existing provisions of the applicable collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment do not apply to the situation. Visit Canada.ca to find out all the details:
Holiday Gift Program for Children
As the holiday season approaches and you start thinking about gifts for those you love, I would like to ask that you also consider supporting children in need. I know that every community has a holiday gift program or toy drive that provides an opportunity to make a small difference in a local child’s life during the holiday season. NHQ employees are encouraged to participate in the Children’s Aid Society Holiday Gift Program. In 2020, NHQ employees generously raised over $8,500 in gift cards.
NHQ employees can visit the Hub for more information:
- Children’s Aid Society Holiday Gift Program
Thank you for your continued dedication and commitment to your work at CSC. Your daily contributions to the safety of our communities are important and much appreciated.
Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.
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