COVID-19 update for correctional employees: January 14, 2022
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.
We are continuing to see a rise in COVID-19 cases across the country as a result of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Please get your booster shot when it is your turn. With this particular variant, a third dose offers increased protection. As you may have heard, our hospitals are overwhelmed and we must do our part to alleviate pressure on our health care system.
Many of our institutions have been impacted by this variant and we are seeing an increase in positive cases of both staff and inmates across the country. I know this pandemic has affected our staff in many ways – and for a long two-year stretch. To those who are ill, I wish you a full and speedy recovery. Some of you have had to take on extra work and may have postponed time off. I also know that some of you had children who had to stay home from daycare or do remote learning from home. There is much to balance right now and I recognize this. We will get there together, one step at a time. I appreciate your steadfast work and contribution to our mandate.
Layers of protection
I encourage you to monitor your health. Please stay home from work if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive or you are not feeling well.
If you work in an institution or community correctional centre, then you must:
- take a rapid COVID-19 test at home, and
- verbally attest your result was negative
before coming to work. This asymptomatic testing program helps prevent the introduction and spread of the virus in our facilities.
I cannot stress enough the importance of strong infection prevention and control protocols to contain the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a properly fitting mask that covers your mouth and nose is critical. Washing or sanitizing your hands often and keeping a distance of two metres from others are also key to slowing the spread of the virus. Avoid public spaces and gatherings. Also, vaccines provide the best way to protect yourself from serious illness. Please do not delay in receiving your booster dose as soon as it is available to you.
Rapid test kits are a valuable tool and provide a snapshot in time. They are not meant to replace the public health measures mentioned above. Remember that the best approach is a combination of all of these measures together—a layered approach. Please continue to use these layers to protect yourself and all those around you.
Mental health check
The pandemic can have an effect on our mental health — how we think, feel, and act in response to the challenges of daily life. Take the time to check in on your mental health with the Mental Health Continuum Model on the Hub. The model illustrates the signs related to good and poor mental health, and shows how symptoms can worsen over time if not addressed. There are actions you can take at every phase of wellness.
Upcoming Town Hall discussions to follow up on the Women Employees Survey results
Over the next few weeks, I will be hosting six virtual regional town hall discussions with employees who identify as women. I look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions about how we can improve the workplace environment to make CSC an employer of choice. The town halls are a follow up to the results of the National Employment Equity Survey of Women Employees you filled out last spring.
The survey measured employees’ responses on four themes:
- safe work environment;
- gender-based discrimination,
- harassment and violence;
- work-life balance;
- professional development and promotion.
The town hall discussions will focus on these themes. I encourage you to come prepared with your questions on these topics.
The town halls will feature a panel made up of:
- the Regional Deputy Commissioners,
- Assistant Commissioner of Human Resource Management, and
- the regional champions for the Working Group for Women Employees.
A half hour prior to the events, you can sign on to hear the regional champion give an overview of the region’s results. I encourage you to make time in your calendar for this important discussion.
- For information and town hall dates visit the Hub.
- National and regional results of the survey are available on the Hub.
Inmates build doghouses for charity
Thank you to the staff that have assisted with this project, which involves inmates from Grierson Institution in Edmonton, Alberta, who transform materials bound for the landfill—scrap wooden pallets and skids—and build dog houses they donate to a local non-profit. The charity organization, The Mustard Seed, will raffle off the doghouses and use the proceeds to assist with the programs and services they offer to the homeless and people at risk. Since the project began, the inmates have already completed six doghouses with plans for another nine houses in the works. This project is a win-win-win with inmates honing their skills, helping the environment and contributing to a community partnership that is benefitting people in need and some lucky local dogs.
- Read more about the doghouse project on the Hub.
Thank you for your ongoing dedication and commitment.
“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.”
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