Visiting correctional institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic
Important: Visitors to Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) institutions and offices are required to wear a mask. CSC continues to follow Public Service Occupational Health Program COVID-19 Guidance, which requires masks to be worn in all Government of Canada workplaces.
As of November 15, 2021, visitors 12 and older must show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Find out more about the proof of vaccination requirement.
Health and safety measures are in place to protect offenders, staff, and visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out whether an institution is open for visits, use our screening questions to see if it is safe to visit, and learn what you must do before and after your visit.
- Proof of vaccination: Visitors will be required to show proof of vaccination to enter a CSC facility.
- Planning your visit: Find out how to prepare to visit a CSC facility.
- Travel advisories to consider when planning visits that require inter-provincial travel.
- Public health authorities: Information about local public health authorities in specific locations across Canada.
- During and after your visit: There are certain guidelines you must follow during, and after, your visit.
- Frequently asked questions addresses specific questions that visitors might have about the process for visiting during COVID-19.
- Visiting status of an institution identifies which institutions are currently open for visits.
As of November 15, 2021, visitors age 12 and older must provide proof they are fully vaccinated each time they enter a federal correctional institution, community correctional centre, or parole office.
Review the requirements based on your situation:
- I am fully vaccinated
- I need an exemption
- I am accompanied by children
- I am unvaccinated
- I am a volunteer
To be considered fully vaccinated, an individual must have received the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine authorized in Canada at least 14 days prior to their visit. The booster is not considered part of the full series. Visitors must show CSC staff an electronic or paper proof of vaccination.
Visitors who are unable to be vaccinated and want to seek an exemption can do so on the following grounds:
- Medical contraindication: To seek an exemption based on a medical contraindication, visitors will need to provide written documentation from their treating medical physician or nurse practitioner. The documentation must explain why they have not received, or delayed, the COVID-19 vaccine. It must also specify if the reason is permanent or time limited. If time limited, the note should indicate how long it is expected to last.
- Religion: visitors will require a sworn attestation (signed before a commissioner for taking affidavits) containing further information about the sincere religious belief that prohibits full vaccination.
- Canadian Human Rights Act: visitors will require a sworn attestation (signed before a commissioner for taking affidavits) containing specific information on the nature of the reason a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act that renders the individual unable to be vaccinated.
Documentation supporting the request for exemption must be provided prior to a visit by contacting the site. In addition to this, those with exemptions must show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test each time they enter the institution. For testing, the following is accepted:
- A Health Canada-approved negative COVID-19 rapid test result. The sample must have been collected within 48 hours of the scheduled visit*, or
- A Health Canada-approved negative COVID-19 PCR test result . The sample must have been collected within 72 hours of the scheduled visit.*
Visitors seeking an exemption are asked to contact the site before their visit for information on the process of submitting their exemption request and supporting documentation for review.
Children under the age of 12 are not currently subject to this new requirement.
- Visitors who are unvaccinated and do not have an exemption can arrange video visits, as well as maintain communication through telephone or written correspondence.
For policies applicable for volunteers, please visit:
You must be registered on the inmate’s authorized visitors' list. Visits must be booked at least 48 hours in advance by contacting the institution. If you do not book an appointment, we will not be able to contact you if the visit is canceled due to a lockdown or other reason.
- Find contact information for institutions.
- Find out if an institution is currently accepting visitors.
- *Please be aware that at any given time a range of an institution could be closed, which could affect your ability to visit an inmate. The institution may show as open but an inmate may not be able to have visitors.
- Infographic: Visiting an institution during COVID-19 explains how to prepare for a visit and what to expect during your visit
You will be asked a series of questions at the time of booking:
Additional measures may be put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please note measures are evolving based on public health advice and community transmission.
A maximum of three visitors are permitted at a time, which can include up to two children.
Due to reduced capacity, normally only one visit per week per visitor will be permitted (though some sites may be able to accommodate more than one visit a week).
Masks are mandatory. It is recommended that you bring your own or one will be provided. Please ensure you know how to properly wear a mask.
You cannot bring food, beverages, or personal belongings into the institution. Exceptions may be made for accessibility reasons. Exceptions may also be made for small children that require diapers, bottles, and other items.
Visits will be limited to 1.5 hours.
Monitor your health and know the symptoms of COVID-19:
Do not come to the institution if you are sick. If you are not sure, take this assessment:
In addition to regular security protocols, visitors age 12 and up must provide proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
If they are unable to be vaccinated, they must request an exemption in advance and bring a recent negative COVID-19 test result to their visit. Please contact the site in advance if you require an exemption. More information regarding exemptions and testing is available here:
Visitors will be screened upon arrival:
Visitors may have their temperature taken by a non-touch thermometer. If you have symptoms, you will not be permitted to enter.
Visitors will be required to wash their hands for 20 seconds and wear a mask during their entire visit.
Vending machines will not be available.
Play areas will be closed and toys will not be permitted.
Physical distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak.
After your visit
- Each visitor table will be provided with disinfecting wipes.
- Locations where visiting occurs are disinfected before and after each visit, including visitor washrooms.
- Remember to wash or disinfect your hands.
Thank you for doing your part in keeping our institutions safe and healthy.
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