Commissioner's update for correctional employees: July 7, 2023
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.
Yesterday, marked the 10th anniversary of the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster. On July 6, 2013, an unmanned freight train carrying crude oil jumped the tracks in downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The resulting explosion and fire took the lives of 47 people and destroyed the downtown core. Many vividly recall the event and how staff with family in the region were impacted. Please take a moment to honour the victims of this horrible tragedy.
I was very pleased to hear offenders at the Collins Bay Institution minimum-security unit recently hosted an appreciation dinner for 40 volunteers. It was their way to thank the volunteers for their time and the positive impact they have in their lives. Volunteers play a key role and provide a valuable connection for offenders to their:
- families, and
- support networks
The event included a:
- wonderful dinner with musical performances
- homemade honey, and
- some heartfelt words
The effort and care put into it by the offenders shone throughout the evening. I’d like to give a big thank you to all involved, particularly to Trisha Mitchell, Social Program Officer, and Josh Waddell, Food Services Officer.
Correctional officer saves life
I want to give a shout out to Dan Rousselle for his incredible efforts in saving a person’s life recently. Dan, a correctional manager at Dorchester Penitentiary, New Brunswick, was out with friends at a concert at a pub in May when the band’s lead singer collapsed on stage.
At first it looked like it was part of the show. However, it was soon clear that the singer was in serious distress. Without hesitation, Dan rushed to the stage and began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before 911 had even been called. He continued CPR until the paramedics arrived at the scene. The band member had suffered a heart attack. He is now in stable condition. Dan's actions helped save the singer’s life.
Encouraging inmates in the Kent Structured Intervention Unit (SIU)
This week, I was pleased to read about the great work being done in the SIU at Kent Institution in the Pacific region. Staff are finding innovative ways to encourage inmates in the SIU to participate in programs. Many of the Indigenous residents are tapping into their artistic expression and creating murals.
- I invite you to read more about Finding successful ways to engage inmates in the Kent SIU:
Inclusion and diversity
In the spirit of inclusion and diversity, I’d like to remind you to support transgender offenders by using their preferred pronouns and calling them by their chosen name.
Some terms that you may not be familiar with that can cause discomfort or exclusion for a transgender person are misgendering and deadnaming. Misgendering occurs when an individual refers to another person using an incorrect pronoun. Deadnaming is when someone refers to a transgender person using their birth name or a name that they no longer use. This can be unintentional. However, it is important to apologize and acknowledge the error, as it can trigger unwanted feelings or trauma for that person.
- To learn more about ways to support our diverse communities, check out the Gender diverse offenders page on the Hub:
- Gender diverse offenders (Internal resource only)
Gardening benefits local community
The Pê Sâkâstêw Centre healing lodge, south of Edmonton, Alberta, planted vegetables in its community garden again this spring. The gardening program was paused for two years with COVID-19. Inmates involved in planting and caring for the garden know how important their efforts are. In the fall, the vegetables they harvest will be offered to the Samson Cree Nation food bank and soup kitchen. The recently planted pumpkins will be given to students at local schools to carve for Halloween.
Special thanks to the staff who serve as role models and work hard alongside the inmates gardening for the benefit of the community.
In closing, thank you to each of you for the 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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