COVID-19 update for correctional stakeholders: April 29, 2021

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

I hope you are doing well. I wanted to provide you with a Correctional Service Canada (CSC) update on various items.

As the third COVID-19 wave continues, it is important that we all continue to play our part. There is no room for error and CSC continues to maintain its infection, prevention and control measures at all sites.

COVID-19 update

It is National Immunization Awareness Week! Vaccines are known to be our best defence against the effects of this virus. Now that vaccines are more widely available, it will help with our overall level of protection against the virus.

Beginning on April 15, CSC started the rollout out of phase two of our vaccination strategy by offering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all federal offenders in our 43 institutions and 14 community correctional centres. CSC is also offering the vaccine to staff who work at these sites and are not yet eligible to receive it from their province. This will help to increase the overall level of protection for everyone who lives or works in our congregate living settings. This week, CSC will have run clinics at most sites across the country.

Health and safety measures, such as:

will continue to apply after vaccines are administered.This will ensure that layers of protection continue to be in place in our correctional institutions.

CSC continues to share information with inmates weekly:

Last week’s Commissioner’s message, which included a vaccine myth-busting infographic, ensured that inmates have access to the factual, evidence-based information they need to make an informed decision. A flyer with pictograms also went to all federal inmates across the country along with a pamphlet for inmate committees on COVID-19 facts, including on vaccines. CSC has also shared information and infographics with many stakeholders, in the hope that those who have direct contact with inmates and/or their families will help us raise awareness of vaccine safety and facts.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has great materials available on their website, and have compiled them all in a toolkit for easy access:

CSC also encourages you to follow PHAC and CSC on social media channels and consider amplifying messages with your own networks.

Inmate COVID-19 testing results continue to be available on CSC's website.

National Volunteer Week

CSC celebrated National Volunteer Week April 18 to 24. This year's theme is The Value of One, The Power of Many. This dedicated week was an opportunity for us to recognize the thousands of CSC volunteers, who are a vital link with the community and to encourage them to continue to contribute to volunteering with CSC virtually/remotely. While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on volunteering activities at CSC's institutions and in the community, many volunteers are adapting by:

CSC is very grateful for their continued interest and efforts in helping offenders along their journey of rehabilitation and reintegration into the community.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many contributions of our advisory committees, including:

and the many volunteers of our valued community partners who all make an important difference inside CSC institutions and in the community. Together, you exemplify the value of one, the power of many as you continue to play an important role in supporting:

Anniversary of the mass shooting in Nova Scotia

Sunday, April 18, marked one year since the tragic mass shooting in Nova Scotia. CSC's institutions marked the tragic day to remember Alanna Jenkins and Sean McLeod, who were both CSC employees. Nova Institution held an outdoor ceremony on April 19 in the memorial area, which was set up last year in the victims’ memory. Springhill Institution is planting a shrub at the principal entrance. Both institutions’ chaplains and elders performed services in honour of all who lost their lives that day. Our thoughts continue to be with our CSC colleagues, Nova Scotians, and all of those who lost loved ones in this horrible tragedy.

Anti-Racism

Last week, as we heard the verdict surrounding the death of George Floyd, we were all reminded that more action is needed to prevent discrimination and racism in all of its forms. It brought up emotions for many people. It was a reminder that individually, we can all do better, and collectively as an organization, CSC will. CSC has an Anti-Racism Framework and Action Plan in place. It has three pillars:

CSC is also looking to form a dedicated team internally to lead our approach moving forward. CSC has had presentations and discussions at Executive Committee several times and this is now a standing agenda item to ensure progress and ongoing action.

New chair of the Departmental Audit Committee

It is my pleasure to announce that as of April 1, Mr. Robert Hanlon took on the role of Chair of the Departmental Audit Committee (DAC), until the end of his term in November 2022. Mr. Hanlon has been a wonderful contributing member of the DAC since 2016. Under Mr. Hanlon’s leadership, the committee will continue to provide sound advice and support the entire audit function. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Philip Murray for his outstanding service and dedication as a member of CSC’s DAC since 2015 and as chair for the past four years. Please join me in congratulating Mr. Hanlon on his new appointment and wishing Mr. Murray the very best in his future endeavours.

Thank you for your continued collaboration. Stay well.

Thank you.

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