COVID-19 update for correctional stakeholders: July 10, 2020

This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada's (CSC’s) stakeholders from the Commissioner of CSC.

I hope you are having a good summer. Here is an update on various items, including progress being made on shaping Correctional Service Canada's (CSC's) new normal.

COVID-19

CSC has developed a visual placemat, which provides:

I invite you to read it. It provides a snapshot of our efforts and progress, and shows that all outbreaks in our institutions have been declared over. While this is good news, things can change quickly and we need to continue being diligent in applying our health and safety measures to prevent spread of the virus.

CSC continues to expand testing of employees, inmates and their contacts as part of our comprehensive testing strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes more testing in areas where there are higher levels of community transmission. Testing is also offered to all inmates who have come in contact with a symptomatic or positive individual.

Shaping our new normal

As mentioned in my last message, a governance structure is in place with different working groups, an advisory group, and a steering committee to make recommendations on reintegrating operational activities. As mentioned in my note on June 26, correctional programming has started to resume across the country. CSC is also starting to phase in on-site access to Elders and Chaplains.

 CSC has started training new recruits again. CSC is continuing to work closely with our partners to put in place proper health and safety measures related to the re-introduction of these training activities, including a self-quarantine period of 14 days upon arrival at the training site.

CSC is also working on plans to resume inmate visits in institutions. These will begin rolling out at different times across the country within the coming weeks. We have different local public health and institutional realities in each region and this requires us to have a customized approach. There will be changes to how visits roll out and we are implementing a number of new health and safety measures. We will soon provide more information on the anticipated timing for the reopening of visits at each institution.

As well, institutions have begun preparing their plans for the return of Citizen Advisory Committee members, Independent Chair Persons, lawyers and staff from other government departments. There will be measures in place to ensure the health and safety of these individuals, inmates and CSC employees.

Diversity and inclusion

On June 21, we celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day and I hope you were able to take some time learn about the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. Then on June 27, we celebrated Multiculturalism Day, a day to recognize the contributions of Canada’s numerous cultural communities and the values that we all share: freedom, democracy, individual rights, and equality. And more recently, we celebrated our country and its diversity during Canada Day.

As an organization, CSC is having important conversations on the issue of systemic racism. I have held Town Halls with senior management across the regions and I talked about recent anti-racism protests, the role we have to play both as individuals and as an organization, and how more needs to be done to make real and demonstrable progress. I asked senior management to have discussions with employees about this important topic.

I will be engaging our Indigenous and Ethnocultural Advisory Committees on this issue as well – they provide invaluable external perspectives to CSC.

I would like to take this opportunity to share that Michael K. Olotu, Senior Director, Operations at CORCAN, is our Multiculturalism Champion. Michael’s in-depth knowledge of CSC and his leadership skills will help move this important agenda forward while helping to give it visibility within CSC.

Thank you for your ongoing collaboration. Stay safe and well.

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