COVID-19 update for correctional employees: June 3, 2022

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

Earlier this week, we kicked off an appreciation campaign that extends CSC Appreciation Day to the entire month of June. This month but also throughout the year, it is important to take time to show appreciation and gratitude to those who work tirelessly to Changing Lives and Protecting Canadians.

The work we do is crucial to keeping communities safe and I thank you for your dedication and commitment to our Mission. No matter what you do at CSC, we are a team and all roles are important in helping us be successful.

Throughout the month, I strongly encourage you to find creative ways to recognize and say thank you to your colleagues and staff. Kind and encouraging words can go a long way in making a difference in someone’s life and career. If you have not done so yet, you can post a note on the virtual appreciation board, which is available for staff to read from coast to coast to coast.

Anniversary of Federal Pathway

Today, the Government of Canada, released the first Federal Pathway Annual Progress Report. The Federal Pathway is the federal government’s contribution to the broader national action plan that responds to the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). It outlines commitments to addressing gender-based violence and systemic racism against Indigenous women and girls and (2SLGBTQQIA+) people. 

At CSC, we are committed to making a positive impact on Indigenous offenders while they are in our care and custody. We are undertaking several multi-year initiatives to address the MMIWG Calls for Justice related to federal corrections, such as:

In addition, as outlined in my recent mandate letter, we will be creating a Deputy Commissioner for Indigenous Corrections position. For a number of years, there has been substantial work, ongoing operations, programs, and initiatives in place for Indigenous offenders. The new position will help further this work.

We could not do this important work without the ongoing commitment of our dedicated staff and Elders, as well as the contributions of Indigenous community stakeholders and partners. Thank you for your ongoing efforts.

National Diversity Champion for Women Employees 

I am thrilled to announce that I have named Alessandria Page as the National Diversity Champion for Women Employees at CSC. I would like to take the opportunity to thank Angela Connidis for her commitment as the former Champion for the National Working Group for Women Employees until her recent retirement. 

Alessandria Page, who has been the Deputy Commissioner for the Quebec Region since 2017, began her career with CSC in 1994. Throughout her career, she has shared her expertise and experience through her involvement in a variety of regional and national projects. As Champion of CSC's National Working Group for Women Employees, Alessandria will provide advice on a wide range of gender equity issues and barriers, with the goal of making CSC an equitable and inclusive environment for all. Congratulations, Alessandria, and thank you for your commitment! 

Tabling of the Auditor General Report 

Earlier this week, the Auditor General of Canada (AGC) tabled a report entitled Systemic Barriers. In her report, the Auditor General  provides CSC with recommendations on how we can further address the barriers that Indigenous and Black offenders face while serving federal sentences, and continue to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce. External bodies play an important role in helping us improve as an organization and I have accepted all of the recommendations made by the AGC.

While there is more work to do, I believe that we are on the right path to addressing the recommendations put forward. I am proud of our accomplishments, and I would like to thank you for your ongoing and sustained efforts as we continue to work together to remove barriers to support positive outcomes for all offenders, including:

in our correctional system. I encourage you to read my statement, which outlines the actions that we are taking in response to this report, but also many others that have been underway for some time. 

B.C. drug exemption announcement

Earlier this week, the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minster of Health announced that an exemption to a section of the Controlled Drug and Substances Act to remove criminal penalties for people who possess a small amount of certain illicit substances for personal use was granted to the Province of British Columbia (B.C.). This exemption is part of the province’s comprehensive response to the overdose crisis in their province and a way to help reduce stigma related to substance use, which can be a barrier for people to seek the help they need. 

This change for the province of B.C. takes effect in January 2023. It has no direct impact on our policies or related legislation; the items included in the exemption are still considered contraband in our CSC facilities, as defined under Section 2 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. 

Canadian Environment Week

Canadian Environment Week, June 5 to June 11, kicks off with the United Nations World Environment Day on June 5. This year’s theme for the day is ‘Only One Earth,’ which advocates for environmental change on a global scale. June 8 is Canada’s Clean Air Day, recognizing how important clean air is to our health. This week is an opportunity to refocus our attention on:

CSC’s long history of working on sustainable development initiatives goes back more than 30 years. I encourage you to take this week and celebrate the unparalleled beauty of Canadian nature while reflecting on ways you can be an advocate for environmental change. Each of us can do something every day to protect the planet we all share. 

William Head on Stage celebrates 40 years

Last weekend, May 26 to 29, William Head on Stage celebrated their 40th Anniversary (1981–2021) with an event at the Salvation Army Chapel in Victoria, B.C. Visitors had the opportunity to walk through a collection of:

The event, The Prison Theatre Time Machine, took the viewers back through 40 years and 62 William Head on Stage productions. The celebration was delayed a year due to the pandemic. A special thank you to our:

whose dedication and support made this event possible.  

I am always impressed when staff go above and beyond their regular duties and take on tasks and projects they feel are important or benefit staff and inmates. I want to thank you for going the extra mile, your efforts are valued. Thank you!

Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.

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