COVID-19 update for correctional employees: January 7, 2022

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

Happy New Year! I hope you had a chance to welcome in the New Year. I know the restrictions in place across the country meant that many had to change their plans or celebrate in different ways. Many of you also continued to work during the holidays to keep our operations going. Thank you for your hard work and dedication.

I created a special video to personally express my appreciation for all that you have done this past year and to offer best wishes for 2022. I invite you to view my:

COVID-19

This time last year, we began rolling out COVID-19 vaccines to offenders across the country. Currently, approximately 82% of inmates have been fully vaccinated. This has been no small feat, and your hard work and encouragement to achieve this is greatly appreciated.

We continue to offer the vaccine and boosters as this remains our best defence against COVID-19. In fact, evidence shows that the vaccine provides good protection against getting seriously ill, being hospitalized or dying from complications associated with COVID-19. I urge you to get a booster to further boost your immune system. Please continue to wear a tight fitting mask that covers your mouth and nose at all times when you are around people. Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer, and keeping your distance from others are all important ways you can limit contracting COVID-19. Please stay home if you feel sick.

Over the holidays, we saw a rise in the number of cases in both staff and inmates at several of our institutions across the country. There are currently 240 active inmate cases. I would like to remind you to avoid large gatherings where you can come in contact with someone who has COVID-19. Your actions affect everyone—your family, friends, and those you work with and the inmates in our custody.

Asymptomatic testing program

As an additional step to help prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in our institutions and community correctional centres, we have implemented a mandatory asymptomatic testing program for staff. This means that all staff need to take a rapid test at home and verbally attest that they had a negative result prior to coming to work. This will be in place until the end of January 2022, at which point a determination will be made if it is still required.

Institutions give back to the community

I would like to highlight the generosity of staff and inmates who came together this holiday season to give back to our communities.

When staff from Nova Institution for Women heard that a local business was collecting hats, mittens, ski pants, and boots for kids of all ages, they rallied together to donate what their kids no longer needed. Over 50 articles of clothing were dropped off at local businesses to give “love, hope, and coats” to two separate local organizations.

The Inmate Committee at Collins Bay Institution minimum security, with the support of the Social Programs Department, donated $1,569 to the United Way and the Clothes for Kids Kingston campaigns. In the past six years, inmate donations to these two important charities has amounted to an impressive $8,500.

Staff at Warkworth Institution donated a mountain of toys and gift cards to the Fire Chief at Trent Hills Fire Department, in Central East Ontario. Warkworth’s own Jeff and Angela Wellman organized the toy drive to honour the generous nature of their daughter, Chloe, whom the Wellman family lost last year.

National Headquarters staff donated to the annual Gift and Toy Drive for the Children’s Aid Society, a program that aims to make a small difference in a local child's life during the holiday season. Several toys were donated along with $4,875, which went to the purchase of 105 gift cards from a variety of stores to help families purchase gifts, food, pharmacy items, and home supplies.

A big thank you to everyone who collaborated and supported these great causes. Your kindness and generosity is admirable and is making a difference in our communities.

I wish you a healthy and successful year ahead. I know that 2022 may hold new challenges, but I am confident that we will find solutions working together.

Thank you.

 


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