COVID-19 update for correctional employees: January 28, 2022
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.
I know January was quite busy on many fronts. You all play an important role in delivering on aspects of our mandate and I want to thank you for your ongoing dedication and hard work.
I want to specifically highlight the work of our frontline workers, in our institutions and communities. You have been at the forefront of the pandemic, often 24/7, and I greatly appreciate the sacrifices you continue to make to show up and give it your all day in and day out. I recently heard from a number of correctional officers and parole officers about their reality and the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic. I greatly value the role that you play.
This week, I started my employee town halls to discuss the National Employment Equity Survey of Women Employees. I heard from many employees and there were lots of good suggestions and comments. One of the sessions took place on Bell Let’s Talk Day and we had a good discussion about the importance of mental health. I look forward to speaking with all regions as we continue to roll out the remaining town halls.
New guide to help support colleagues experiencing mental health issues
With Bell Let’s Talk Day taking place earlier this week, I wanted to let you know about a new tool to help recognize the signs to look for when a co-worker may be struggling. This guide teaches you how to offer support during tough conversations about mental health. Developed by the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment, this helpful tool is specifically intended for public safety personnel.
View or download the guide:
New director of anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion
Last November, I announced that a new Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion Team was being created to advance the work and initiatives on these important issues with the support of CSC's Executive Champion, Kirstan Gagnon. I am pleased to announce that Edwidge Vincent will be the new Director for this team. Edwidge starts on January 31, 2022. Please join me in welcoming her to this role.
Edwidge started her career at CSC in 2009 as a community parole officer in the Greater Montreal area. She has held various management positions in the Operations Sector in the Quebec Region. She has also been involved with the Employment Equity and Diversity Committee of the Montreal Metropolitan District for ten years.
Here are a few words from Edwidge:
As a Black woman, I value the importance of wellness in the workplace, which is achieved through the inclusion and acceptance of employment equity and diversity groups. I strongly believe that the blending of our differences allows us to develop, grow, and even surpass ourselves. We must show leadership and innovation in the fight against racism and inequity by implementing effective strategies and concrete actions. I am proud and happy to be part of this new team as the Director of Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion.
Black History Month
February is Black History Month. I encourage you to take time during the month to reflect on the contributions of Black Canadians to our country. This year’s theme is February and forever: Celebrating Black history today and every day. This is a reminder of how important it is to celebrate by reflecting on:
- past and present accomplishments
- experiences, and
- challenges of Canada’s Black communities
I encourage everyone to attend the events being hosted this month and learn more about the history of Black Canadians. By educating ourselves, we will be better able to understand and take action to build an anti-racist and inclusive organization. Each day, I see many of our CSC employees working hard to make our work environment more:
- inclusive, and
Thank you for doing your part.
There are a number of upcoming virtual events to celebrate Black History Month. I encourage you to check them out and register for a chance to be a part of conversations about:
- unconscious biases, and
Learn more about Canada School of Public Service’s:
Stay tuned for more information on upcoming events throughout the month!
Restorative Opportunities Correctional Results Report
I encourage you to review the 2020-2021 annual Correctional Results Report of the Restorative Opportunities Program that is now available online. This report provides information about the requests for service we received last fiscal year, and the results for offenders who participated in a victim–offender mediation.
The Restorative Opportunities Program is based on the principles of restorative justice and contributes to public safety by focussing on the impacts of crime, and addressing the outstanding needs of the people affected by the offence through different communication options. CSC is proud to have supported restorative justice for more than 30 years. Thank you to everyone who refers victims and offenders to our program. Without your help, it would not be as successful as it is!
For more information, or to read the report, visit the CSC website:
National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia
In 2017, six people were killed and 19 others were seriously injured during prayers at the Grand Mosque in Quebec City in a horrific Islamaphobic motivated attack. January 29 is a National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia to honour the victims and express solidarity with the survivors of this tragedy. There is no room in our society for any form of racism and discrimination. We each have an obligation to combat discrimination in all its forms and work together to build more inclusive communities and workplaces.
Social media use
Just a quick reminder that it is essential to be professional in everything you do, both off and online. From time to time, there are comments posted in public forums that do not always meet our policies and obligations as public servants.
As you know, we must follow policies in place, including:
- social media policies
- the values and ethics code, and
- CSC’s Code of Discipline
CSC employees cannot post information about offenders or information that relates to CSC operations that could pose a risk to security, or anything that relates specifically to your government position. You can find further advice and a refresher on the dos and don’ts of social media on the Hub.
Burial sites at former residential school
The following deals with topics that may cause trauma invoked by memories of past abuse. We recognize some employees may not want to read the following section to minimize the risk associated with triggering.
I sent a note to the Pacific Region this week given that early results of an investigation identified 93 possible burial sites at the former St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School near Williams Lake, British Columbia. It is heartbreaking every time we hear that more graves are identified at sites of former residential schools. These discoveries are shocking yet they serve as an important reminder of the devastating impact that residential schools continue to have on:
- generations of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people
- their families, and
Please show support for one another. I would like to remind you that if you need assistance and support:
- the National Residential School Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419
EAP referral agents are available to listen to you and help find appropriate, helpful resources that can respond to your needs. In addition, Employee Assistance Services are available not only to all employees, but also to eligible family members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In recognition of the work we need to do to mend the damage caused by residential schools, we stand in solidarity with our First Nations, Inuit, and Métis :
- stakeholders, and
Each of us can make a difference when we take actions towards reconciliation.
Thank you for all your hard work and dedication, and for all your ongoing efforts in following our health and safety measures, including wearing a well-fitted mask over your nose and mouth.
“Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.”
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