COVID-19 update for correctional stakeholders: August 14, 2020

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

I hope you are all having a good summer. Thanks to the input of our employees, labour partners and stakeholders, we are making good progress as we shape our new normal and resume certain activities across the organization. We continue our work with several groups to ensure that preventative measures are in place for everyone's health and safety. Below are some of the latest updates.

Update on shaping the new normal

As you are aware, CSC has an Integrated Risk Management Framework in place. It defines risk levels and all decisions around resuming activities are looked at through this lens. We will continue to closely monitor this evolving situation and adjust our measures and operations, as needed, based on the latest public health evidence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all activities listed below are being carried out with new health and safety measures in place.

On July 16, we announced that we are gradually resuming visits at our institutions. Our top priority remains the health and safety of our employees, inmates and the public. We have learned a great deal about infection prevention and control over the past months, and a number of measures are in place for inmate visits. Our website has been updated with information that visitors need to know before, during and after their visit. They must plan ahead and be aware of the prevention measures that are in place for everyone's safety.

Correctional programming has resumed in many institutions, and educational programs are re-starting. The Mother-Child Program has also resumed at our facilities for women. Chaplaincy services have restarted to include both in-person and virtual one-on-one sessions. This includes moving forward with small group activities and ceremonies with some community faith leaders.

We are taking steps to reinstate previously approved private family visits (PFV) at sites where there are no COVID-19 cases. Following a PFV, inmates will be required to self-isolate for 14 days or for the period required by local public health authorities. The institution's capacity to accommodate inmates on medical isolation may affect their ability to accommodate PFVs.

Escorted and unescorted temporary absences, as well as work releases have resumed in communities identified as being low-moderate risk for COVID-19 transmission. We are continuing to working hard to establish a safe process to support these activities in the context of COVID-19.

Travel Permits and weekend passes have been reinstated for community-based residential facilities, community correctional centres, and Section 81 facilities in areas where there is no community transmission. We have also started resuming regular inter-regional transfer operations while taking into consideration the health and safety of everyone in our institutions.

The Restorative Opportunities (RO) program was recently approved to resume in three phases. The program will start by giving priority to time-sensitive cases and those assessed as ready to move forward to a face-to-face mediation before the pandemic.

Employment coordinators and Indigenous liaison officers will also resume work in the institutions and community. All spaces will be cleaned between in-person interventions in accordance with national standards. Cultural activities, hobbies and crafts will also start again in small groups and with a limited number of participants at the same time. 

We continue to review proposals on a weekly basis for reinstating essential services and programs.

Statistics Canada COVID-19 survey

Statistics Canada has launched a crowdsourcing initiative to collect data on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people's experiences of discrimination. I invite you to participate in this survey. The results will help evaluate the delivery of health and social services and economic support, and to ensure best practices are adopted when reopening workplaces and public spaces. The survey closes on August 17.


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