COVID-19 update for correctional employees: November 4, 2022

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

As you know, we are currently in another wave of COVID-19 and there are also several flu viruses circulating. We know that the best way to protect ourselves is to keep up with infection prevention and control measures, such as washing/sanitizing our hands frequently, wearing a mask when close to others, and keeping our vaccinations up-to-date. The seasonal flu vaccine and COVID-19 boosters are available in communities across the country. 

I am impressed with the resilience shown by our employees since the beginning of the pandemic. Despite the challenges, you continue to show incredible dedication and commitment; thank you. Each and every role you play at CSC is important. It takes lots of teamwork and collaboration to accomplish our mandate.

Office of Correctional Investigator Annual Report

On November 1, the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI) tabled their annual report in Parliament. This report provides an opportunity for us as an organization to reflect on what is working well and ways we can improve how we work with the offenders in our care and custody. I encourage you to read CSC’s response to the OCI’s annual report as well as my statement. 

​Let me reiterate that racism and discrimination have absolutely no place in our society, inside or outside our organization. We do not tolerate these behaviours and I am committed to ensuring that our workplaces are:

  • healthy,
  • inclusive,
  • respectful, and
  • free of harassement and discrimination.

​We have an Anti-Racism Framework and Actions, which has three pillars:

  • employees,
  • offenders and
  • stakeholders.

It outlines a number of projects including:

  • training and development, 
  • examining our security classification processes,
  • a Black Social History initiative, and 
  • ambitious employment equity targets to create a more diverse and representative workforce.

We have also enhanced our capacity to respond to the needs of ethnocultural offenders through the Ethnocultural Action Framework and I am in the process of hiring a:

I am proud of the progress we have made as an organization, but there is still more work to do. 

At CSC, we are role models to others and we must remain respectful and professional at all times. I count on each and every one of you to help be the change we want to see. We all have a role to play, individually and collectively, in building an inclusive environment and I thank you for your hard work as we keep striving to achieve our organization’s important goals.

​​Contraband Seizures

We have seen an increase in attempts to smuggle contraband and unauthorized items into our institutions over the last few months. Thanks to your vigilance, we were able to seize tens of thousands of dollars worth of drugs and contraband items. This helps to keep our institutions safe for both staff and offenders.

As you know, we have zero tolerance for drug trafficking. Preventing contraband from entering the institutions is an ongoing priority to ensure the safety and security of:

Thank you for working together with your peers and our law enforcement partners to maintain the safety of our institutions.

As previously mentioned, as an additional tool for detecting contraband, we are piloting body scanners at two of our institutions. The pilot has proven successful to date. I went through the body scanner myself when I visited Edmonton Institution for Women. Thank you to the staff for explaining how it worked and sharing your experience to date. The information we are gathering will help inform next steps, including our procurement strategy for purchasing additional body scanners to implement them more widely across other institutions in the future.

International Volunteer Managers Day

With International Volunteer Managers Day on November 5, I would like take a moment to thank all those involved in the oversight of the thousands of volunteers that work with CSC. From recruiting and engaging to organizing activities, there is so much important work required to ensure that volunteers are properly assessed and meet requirements to be able to work with offenders. With many activities that have resumed, social program officers, community volunteer coordinators, chaplains and so many more are working diligently to reconnect with volunteers. Thank you for your dedication and commitment.

I would like to give special recognition to the 241 self-identified CSC employees who served in the Canadian Armed Forces, and the 165 reservists who work here. Take a moment this week to honour and thank our brave Veterans for the contributions they have made and continue to make to our country. 

Audit of Organizational Culture

I also wanted to update you on the Audit of Organizational Culture that our Internal Audit and Evaluation Sector is conducting. Focus groups have started, under the direction of Quorus Consulting Group, and will continue through December. Quorus is sending invitations via email to randomly selected employees to participate in a focus group.

If chosen to participate, please inform your manager and proceed to sign up for an available timeslot. I encourage all managers to work with their staff to ensure employees interested in participating are able to do so. This is an important opportunity to make yourself heard. We want to hear from you to build on what’s working well and the opportunities to improve moving forward. Thank you in advance for your input. 

Thank you for your cooperation and for the outstanding work you do every day. 

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

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