COVID-19 update for correctional stakeholders: March 7, 2022
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada's (CSC’s) stakeholders from the Commissioner of CSC.
I hope you are keeping well. The last few weeks have been quite busy on many fronts. I am pleased to share with you some of our most recent updates.
Situation in Ukraine
It has been shocking to watch the news about the recent attacks on Ukraine. It is truly heartbreaking. This situation affects all of us as Canadians, including our:
- colleagues, and
- friends and family,
both at home and abroad. CSC continues to be supportive of its Ukrainian-Canadian colleagues and stakeholders, their family members, and our communities during this time. We stand together during this difficult time.
Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this, including their:
- friends, and
- loved ones.
The Red Cross is accepting donations to the Ukraine humanitarian crisis, and the Government of Canada has already matched $10 million in individual donations. Take time to learn more about:
If you have questions about family members, there is support and information available through Global Affairs Canada. Please visit their website for details.
Black History Month
In February, we celebrated Black History Month. This year’s theme was February and Forever: Celebrating Black History Today and Every Day. This served as a reminder of how important it is to celebrate by reflecting on past and present:
- experiences, and
of Canada’s Black communities.
At CSC, we used the opportunity to host a number of events and take time to reflect on the experiences of Black Canadians, but also a time to uplift Black Canadian voices in both the workplace and in our everyday lives. While Black History Month has come to an end, our work to build an anti-racist, diverse and inclusive organization continues to be a top priority and we are implementing a number of initiatives in support of this.
During the current Omicron wave, we have seen a number of outbreaks throughout our institutions. It is encouraging to see more and more of our staff and inmates continue to recover each day. COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be highly effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization, especially with a third dose. We are continuing to roll out vaccines for inmates and following health and safety measures to help slow the spread of this virus. We continue to make available detailed information on our website, including vaccination rates as well as testing and outbreak data.
The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve and some communities across the country have announced that they will adopt a phased approach to lifting COVID-19 restrictions. We continue to monitor this closely and work through our Integrated Risk Management Framework process to make decisions related to our institutions and workplaces. This is a collaborative process with stakeholders and our labour partners. The health and safety of staff and inmates remains of utmost importance in any decisions we make.
Restorative Opportunities Correctional Results Report
The 2020-2021 Annual Correctional Results Report of the Restorative Opportunities Program is now available online. This report provides information about the requests for service we received last fiscal year, and the results for offenders who participated in a victim–offender mediation.
The Restorative Opportunities program is based on the principles of restorative justice and contributes to public safety by focussing on the impacts of crime, and addressing the outstanding needs of the people affected by the offence through different communication options. CSC is proud to have supported restorative justice for more than 30 years. Thank you to everyone who refers victims and offenders to our program. Without your help, it would not be as successful as it is! For more information, or to read the report, visit:
Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview: 2020 Annual Report
The 2020 Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview (CCRSO) was recently published by Public Safety’s Research Division.
- Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview 2020
- User Evaluation Survey Corrections and Conditional Release Statistical Overview
The CCRSO is an annual report that has been published since 1998 that provides key Canadian criminal justice system statistics across topics such as:
- crime rates,
- criminal charges in courts, and
- the description of offenders in Canada’s correctional systems.
The report compiles data from:
- Correctional Service of Canada,
- Parole Board of Canada,
- Office of the Correctional Investigator,
- Statistics Canada, and for
- the 2020 CCRSO, Justice Canada.
Departmental Results Report
On February 1, 2022, the President of the Treasury Board tabled the Departmental Results Reports (DRR) in Parliament on behalf of all federal departments and agencies. The Correctional Service of Canada’s 2020–21 DRR outlines CSC’s actual performance against the plans, priorities, and expected results as set out in the 2020–21 Departmental Plan. The DRR informs parliamentarians and Canadians of our results, highlights our accomplishments, and identifies challenges so that we can continue to improve on how we carry out our mandate.
CSC Departmental Plan tabled
On March 2, CSC’s Departmental Plan 2022–23 was tabled in Parliament.
This annual plan outlines CSC’s:
- priorities, and
- expected results
for the upcoming fiscal year. The Departmental Plan highlights our planned results for our three core responsibilities, which include care and custody, correctional interventions, and community supervision. This year, we are focusing in several areas, including offender mental health; Structured Intervention Units; supporting Indigenous peoples in culturally appropriate ways; anti-racism, inclusion and diversity efforts; as well as the modernization of correctional service delivery through digitization.
I invite you to read more about CSC’s departmental plans and priorities. I look forward to working with our dedicated staff, partners and stakeholders in the years ahead as we continue to support offenders’ rehabilitation and reintegration, while maintaining public safety.
Support for community groups assisting Canadians obtain record suspensions
To help more Canadians benefit from record suspensions and move on with their lives, the Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, announced new support for organizations that assist in obtaining suspensions. This call for applications for a new contribution stream within the Grants and Contributions Program to National Voluntary Organizations involves federal funding of $18 million over the next four years, which will go to organizations active in corrections, conditional release and community reintegration.
This funding will help community-based organizations support those applying for record suspensions in navigating the process, ensuring they have access to the right information and resources. This call for applications is open until March 18, 2022.
This announcement builds on the Government of Canada’s progress in tackling systemic inequities in the criminal justice system. On December 21, 2021, it announced the reduction of record suspension application fees from $657.77 to $50. The government also continues to explore the automated sequestering of some criminal records for those living crime-free, in consultation with provinces, territories and municipalities, as well as other key criminal justice stakeholders.
Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator
On February 10, 2022, the Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino tabled the 2020-2021 Annual Report of the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI). The Correctional Service of Canada’s (CSC) official response is also available on our website. I encourage you to review the report, CSC’s response, and my statement in response to the report.
I welcome the OCI’s report and the opportunity to work together as we review and enhance areas of the federal correctional system. Our response to the report outlines the actions that we have taken, as well as provides further context about the issues the Correctional Investigator raises. It also highlights our progress, and identifies further changes we have committed to undertaking
Zero Discrimination Day
March 1 was Zero Discrimination Day. This United Nations important day celebrates the right of everyone to live a full and productive life, and live it with dignity. This year, Zero Discrimination Day highlighted the urgent need to take action to end the inequalities of:
- sexual orientation,
- gender identity, and
- religion around the world.
Above all, it is about ending all forms of discrimination. CSC continues to play an active role in promoting tolerance, inclusion, compassion, and respect; while as an organization, we continue our work to understand and identify barriers embedded within our structures.
I am proud of the participation of CSC staff in Pink Shirt Day where many across the country, including senior leaders, wore pink and took a stand against bullying and discrimination. This reflects our commitment to upholding a culture where everyone is respected and uplifted, and able to thrive in the workplace.
International Women’s Day
March 8 is International Women's Day. At CSC, we are proud to have so many women in various positions throughout our organization. We recognize the many achievements across different social, economic, cultural, and political spheres.
Bowden carpentry students make and donate furniture
I learned with great pride that students in Bowden Institution’s carpentry program have donated pieces they made, such as Adirondack chairs and coffee tables, to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Red Deer, Alberta, which uses proceeds from the store to help build homes for low-income families. This eight-week pre-employment program, which teaches carpentry and cabinetmaking techniques, including how to read blueprints, gives inmates the valuable woodworking skills to help them find a job when they are released.
Burial sites at former residential schools
The following deals with topics that may cause trauma invoked by memories of past abuse. We recognize some may not want to read the following section to minimize the risk associated with triggering.
Since January, we continue to learn about the discovery of burial sites at Residential Schools across the country. These graves are painful reminders of the suffering endured by families and communities whose children went to a residential school and never returned. We stand in solidarity with our First Nations, Inuit, and Métis employees, volunteers, Elders, stakeholders, and offenders in recognition of the work we need to do to mend the damage caused by residential schools. Each of us can make a difference when we take action towards reconciliation.
In closing, I wish to thank you for your ongoing contributions to upholding CSC’s mission of actively encouraging and assisting offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens. Your support is essential in our success and in how we meet our mandate in service to Canadians.
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