COVID-19 update for correctional stakeholders: April 29, 2022
This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada's (CSC’s) stakeholders from the Commissioner of CSC.
Happy spring! On March 21st we saw the first day of spring and the beginning of longer days. I hope you all benefit from these additional hours of sunlight, and enjoy the coming of warmer weather. Below are some recent updates since my last message on March 7, available on the link below:
National Volunteer Week April 24 – 30, 2022
Happy National Volunteer Week to our many volunteers! This dedicated week is a great reminder of the important role that volunteers play in the federal correctional system. Volunteers act as:
- role models, and
- support networks
They help offenders develop important social skills and create connections to the communities in which many of them will return.
Despite the challenges brought on by the pandemic, staff, community partners and volunteers have shown ingenuity and commitment to stay connected to our sites and continue to meet the needs of those in our care and custody. We thank them for their contributions, past and present, and look forward to their return as restrictions continue to ease. We would like to take this time to also thank our community partners whose many volunteers are registered CSC volunteers.
I encourage you to take a moment and learn more about how volunteers bring a valuable community perspective to corrections:
We also take this time to thank the many citizens who contribute voluntarily to CSC’s numerous advisory bodies, including:
- Citizen Advisory Committees
- Regional and National Ethnocultural Advisory Committees, and
- Regional Victim Advisory Committees
Their community perspective is invaluable and appreciated.
Many communities are now experiencing a sixth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and experts expect that the virus will continue to circulate for the foreseeable future. Although public health measures are being lifted in some of our communities, we must remain vigilant. Being fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot are still the most effective means of protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
I am pleased to note that in-person visits are now permitted at several of our sites. This is a welcome change for our inmates and their families who are allowed to have brief physical contact at the beginning and end of their visit. Thank you to staff in our Visits and Correspondence areas for facilitating this important element of support for the people in our care and custody. More information on visits can be found on our website:
I am proud to share that our efforts and practices to manage the COVID-19 pandemic were highlighted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in a report on good practices in:
- preventing, and
- controlling COVID-19 in correctional facilities.
Canada’s efforts were highlighted, including measures taken by CSC to reduce the introduction and transmission of COVID-19 through the development of an early warning surveillance report, contract tracing efforts, infection prevention and control measures, as well as modified staffing protocols. To check out the full report, visit:
CORCAN Celebrates 30th Anniversary as a Special Operating Agency
April 1st, 30 years ago, CORCAN became a Special Operating Agency (SOA) within CSC. Although it existed many years before, April 1, 1992 marked an important milestone that allowed CORCAN to provide industry-relevant and real world training to offenders. CORCAN contributes to offenders gaining valuable skills, which help them find and maintain employment in the community, including:
- transferable, and
- essentials skills
I am very proud of the work CORCAN staff do and the countless partnerships that they have built over the years.
St. John’s Indigenous Bike Program
The Atlantic Region Indigenous Initiatives team, CORCAN, the Newfoundland and Labrador Citizen Advisory Committee, and their partners, came together to develop a bike repair and restoration program that helps support and uplift the most vulnerable population in St. John’s, Newfoundland. This program is a way for Indigenous offenders under community supervision to use their skills in a positive and supportive environment, and give back to the community. I encourage you to read about this exciting project in Let’s Talk Express:
New National Chair – CSC Citizen Advisory Committees
On April 1st, the national chairperson of the Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC) transferred from Atlantic Region to Quebec Region. A special thank you to Peggy Joiner, outgoing chairperson, for her dedication and commitment to CACs. Peggy has been involved with CACs in the Atlantic Region for over 20 years. We are pleased to welcome Ingrid Schmidt, from Quebec, as our incoming chairperson and Maire Bracken as the new vice chair.
Many citizens volunteer their time and energy to observe, liaise and advise within our institutions and parole offices through Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC). I would like to take this opportunity to thank all CAC members for their ongoing commitment and hard work. As independent and impartial advisors, CACs help us build trust and accountability with the public and provide reassurance to offenders that the public cares. I encourage you all to read their 2020-2021 activities report for more information:
Today we are marking CSC’s first annual Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC) Appreciation Day, being held during National Volunteer Week.
April is Sikh Heritage Month. Sikh Canadians continue to make significant social, economic, political, and cultural contributions to communities across the country. Ramadan also started on Saturday, April 2, and will end on Sunday, May 1. ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ to all of you who are observing the Muslim holy month.
I also want to acknowledge that in early April, Pope Francis made a formal apology for the harm done to generations of Indigenous people and their communities by Canada’s residential school system. Much needs to be done on the road to reconciliation, but an apology from the Roman Catholic church has long been sought for as an important step to help many residential school survivors, their families and communities move forward on their healing journey.
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