COVID-19 update for correctional employees: November 26, 2021
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.
Thank you for your ongoing work and diligence in following our health and safety measures. As we are hearing on the news, COVID-19 is still quite active in our communities and it is important not to let our guard down, even with higher rates of vaccination.
While we had several months with few active cases to report, as I mentioned last week, the Atlantic region is currently experiencing its first COVID-19 outbreak. I would like to thank the staff at Dorchester Penitentiary (especially the medium security unit) for their efforts to contain and prevent the spread of the virus. The measures you are taking are working, and I appreciate your ongoing efforts to keep everyone safe. Thankfully, the vaccination rates are high and this helps to prevent serious illness for those who contract COVID-19.
Evidence is emerging that the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine may decrease over time. Therefore, for certain populations, an additional dose may be needed to boost our protection. This is why, last week, we began offering booster vaccines for inmates across the country to further protect everyone in our congregate living settings. At this time, we are prioritizing individuals aged 65 and over, and those who had their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine more than six months ago. I encourage you to check in with your local public health authority for guidance on booster shots being offered in your community. The flu shot is also being offered, which provides an added measure in keeping us healthy this coming winter.
You can further protect yourself and others by continuing to:
- wear your mask properly so that it covers your nose and mouth
- wash/sanitize your hands often, and
- keep a distance of six feet from others
Following these practices outside of work will also minimize your risk of contracting the virus and passing it to others. This not only helps prevent you from getting COVID-19, it helps to prevent the spread of the seasonal flu as well.
Parliament back in session
On Tuesday, November 23, her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, delivered the Speech from the Throne to formally open the first session of the 44th Parliament of Canada. I look forward to working with you and our new minister, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, to support the Government of Canada in fulfilling its goals.
You can read it here:
Clerk’s call to action
I wanted to let you know that, in August, I responded to the Clerk’s Call to Action on Anti-racism, Equity, and Inclusion in the Federal Public Service. I am pleased to share it with you:
- Correctional Service of Canada Letter on Implementation of the Call to Action on Anti-Racism, Equity and Inclusion
It was an opportunity to share the initiatives we have put in place and the actions taken at CSC to:
- address systemic racism
- build a diverse and inclusive workforce, and
- foster a safe, respectful and healthy environment
Director of anti-racism, diversity and inclusion
To support and advance the work we are doing on anti-racism, diversity and inclusion at CSC, a new unit dedicated to this work is being created. We are currently looking for a Director of Anti-Racism, Diversity and Inclusion. We posted this opportunity on the Hub and the deadline to apply is November 30. 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.
Virtual discussion for Black employees
I encourage Black employees to join a virtual discussion on November 30 at 12:00 pm (ET) on MS Teams. The event will highlight the efforts of a diverse group of Black employees who have been working to develop a grassroots network and to provide resources and support across CSC's regions and sectors. Jacqueline Edwards, this year’s winner of the prestigious President’s Award of Merit by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, will be the guest speaker.
The Black Employee Network was created for Black employees and allies who want to share supportive and empowering news and activities.
Movember and Dad HEROs
Movember is an annual event that raises awareness of men's health issues. The Canadian Families and Corrections Network (CFCN), through funding from the Movember Foundation, offers a Dad HERO program to incarcerated men in seven CSC institutions. The program, now available virtually, helps dads learn about bonding with their children, how to improve communication skills, and how to co-parent. CFCN is an important partner for the federal correctional system, assisting with offender reintegration through:
- information dissemination,
- unique programs, and
- support to families of incarcerated people.
CSC values this partnership and the important work of CFCN!
World AIDS Day
December 1 is World AIDS Day and the start of Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week, which runs until December 7, 2021. This is an important reminder that it is essential to continue efforts to identify and treat people with HIV. With treatment, HIV is a manageable chronic illness. It is also important to raise awareness of the fact that individuals living with HIV who are on treatment and who achieve viral suppression do not transmit the virus.
CSC is proudly keeping pace with the accelerated UNAIDS targets of 95-95-95 for global HIV eradication for federal offenders, ensuring:
- 95% of people with HIV are diagnosed
- 95% with HIV receive treatment, and
- 95% achieve viral suppression
At the end of the 2020 to 2021 fiscal year, an estimated 0.92% of the offender population was HIV positive, and 88% of those knew their HIV status. Of these, 98% received treatment and 97% achieved viral suppression. For more information, visit:
Education services agreement with the Kativik School Board
I would like to share with you another partnership that makes me very proud. Thanks to a recent agreement that CSC signed with the Kativik School Board of Nunavik, in the Quebec Region, Inuit offenders of the Federal Training Centre now have access to general adult education training tailored to their community. The Kativik School Board offers various courses, such as language training in:
- French, and
Offenders have the support of a teacher, but also have access to an innovative IT platform to help them move forward in their academic journey, and therefore assist them in their reintegration.
LGBTQ2+ National Monument
A LGBTQ2+ National Monument is being created for the National Capital Region that will memorialize the discrimination against LGBTQ2+ Canadians, such as the LGBT Purge. The Purge was a widespread campaign from the 1950s to the mid-1990s to identify and expel thousands of:
- bisexual, and
- the Canadian Armed Forces
- the RCMP, and
- the federal public service
In addition to helping us reflect, the monument will celebrate the achievements of those who:
- fought for equality
- educate visitors, and
- inspire hope and change for the future
Five designs for the national monument have been created, and you are invited to view them online and complete:
- the Online Survey: Proposed Designs for the LGBTQ2+ National Monument by November 28 to help choose the design
Thank you for everything you do and for your hard work and commitment. It does not go unnoticed.
“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.”
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