COVID-19 update for correctional employees: December 16, 2021
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.
Winter is here! Tuesday, December 21 is the winter solstice and the first official day of winter. It is also the shortest day of the year. Fortunately, this means the days will start getting longer again.
As I mentioned in past notes, there is a new variant of concern circulating. It is called Omicron. Variants of concern include mutations that seem to make the virus more infectious, allowing it to spread more easily. Variants of concern represent the majority of recently reported COVID-19 cases across the country (you may have also heard about the Delta variant). Early data suggests that Omicron may be more transmissible, but evidence is limited at this time.
Currently, cases are on the rise in several communities and it is something that we are monitoring closely. I want to ask that you double-down on your efforts to protect yourself and others, especially as the holidays approach.
As a reminder, COVID-19 is transmitted from the respiratory tract, meaning that when an infected person:
- speaks, or
they emit particles carrying the virus in aerosol and small droplets. The virus is then inhaled by those in close proximity.
This is why:
- wearing a well-fitted mask,
- frequently cleaning your hands, and
- following infection prevention and control measures in the workplace
are effective practices in preventing transmission. Make sure you do these things. We will be asking managers to monitor this as well to ensure masks are being worn at all times.
We know that vaccinations are the best line of defence against COVID-19. Many communities are offering a third vaccine dose (booster shot). Please check with your public health authority for more information on when you can get yours.
I also want to thank you for the work you are doing to encourage offenders to roll up their sleeves to get the shot. It is important that we do what we can to increase overall vaccination rates.
National and Regional Ethnocultural Advisory Committees
In September this year, CSC celebrated the 20th anniversary of the National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee (NEAC). The NEAC and the Regional Ethnocultural Advisory Committees (REAC) have been voluntarily helping CSC to fulfill its mandate by providing advice to adapt and improve services for ethnocultural offenders.
The committees include influential members of the community from ethnocultural backgrounds or have experience working in the area of multiculturalism. Members generously share their expertise with CSC staff, volunteers, and play an important role in liaising between CSC and ethnocultural communities, providing advice about the:
- services, and
designed to meet the needs of ethnocultural offenders.
I met virtually with NEAC earlier this week, on December 13, and am grateful for the commitment of both our REAC and NEAC. We have gained a lot from their perspective over the past 20 years, and I encourage all staff to consider how the regional committees might help with your work to rehabilitate and reintegrate ethnocultural offenders.
Read more about our ethnocultural advisory committees’ many accomplishments and how to contact them on the Hub:
Anti-racism, diversity and inclusion
I am pleased to share with you three videos created by the Quebec Region about systemic racism. These videos aim to help us better understand systemic racism and recognize its impacts, in both our professional and personal lives. By explaining myths and realities and revealing some of the unconscious bias, the videos support our commitment to:
- addressing systemic racism,
- building a diverse and inclusive workforce, and
- fostering a safe, respectful and healthy environment.
I strongly encourage you to watch the videos and reflect on the role we all play in fostering an environment that is:
- inclusive, and
Communicating during a pandemic
The early days of the pandemic were particularly challenging, as events were rapidly unfolding. Sharing information about COVID-19 and how CSC was handling the ever-changing situation was of the utmost importance. I am proud of how our communications team developed innovative strategies to provide timely information to staff, inmates, and their families when many did not have access to email or digital networks. I invite you to join the CSC communications team to learn more about their experiences and the innovative solutions they found to reach and engage with different audiences during this unprecedented time.
Book January 14, 2022, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST) to join:
- Best Practices and Innovative Strategies for Relaying Critical Internal Communications and Building Trust.
Please register by 10:00 a.m. that morning.
As you head into holidays, I want to thank you for your ongoing dedication and commitment to your work and those you work with. Your role at CSC is important and your contributions are valued.
Thank you for all of your hard work. I will be sending out a separate holiday message but want to use this opportunity to wish you happy holidays and a healthy and safe New Year!
“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.”
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