Commissioner's update for correctional employees: June 23, 2023

This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada (CSC) staff from CSC's Commissioner.

I am deeply saddened by the news of the tragic bus cash in Manitoba last week. As you may have heard, 16 people have passed away and several others have been injured. Our colleagues at the RCMP are working hard on their investigation as details of the horrific event continue to unfold.

My heart goes out to all of those affected by the crash. Please keep those involved, their families and friends, and the town of Dauphin, Manitoba, in your thoughts.

Heads of Corrections

Last week, CSC hosted the Heads of Corrections Committee and subcommittee meetings in Winnipeg, Manitoba. These meetings brought together correctional officials from CSC, provinces, and territories to share ideas and best practices on correctional matters. 

There were many good discussions among the jurisdictions. These types of forums foster relationships and collaborations among key partners that help us reintegrate offenders and enhance public safety. 

Dog Detector Teams

Today, June 23, is National Take Your Dog to Work Day. I am always impressed when I witness firsthand the detector dog teams hard at work. The skills and training they receive helps CSC maintain a high standard in contraband detection. The program currently has around 85 detector dog teams in place.

It is also wonderful to witness the close bond between handlers and their K9. A relationship that is based on mutual trust and respect.

Thank you to our detector dog teams for their “pawsitive” contributions to public safety! More information about our Detector Dog Program is available on the Hub.

Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day

Tomorrow, June 24, Francophones around the country will show how proud they are of their language, traditions and rich heritage for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day. This is a time to celebrate the 10 million French-speaking people in Canada.

I am proud to say that I am part of this community. This is a day to reflect on the work that has been done over our history to preserve the French language and recognize the tremendous contributions Francophones continue to make to Canada.

I encourage you to take part in some of the many activities planned across the country to celebrate Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day.

Canadian Multiculturalism Day

Canadian Multiculturalism Day is June 27. It is an opportunity to honour the many cultural communities that help build a strong and vibrant Canadian society. Let us celebrate the cultural diversity that enriches us collectively and reaffirm our commitment to equity, inclusion, and mutual respect.

CSC is committed to promoting an inclusive workplace and a diverse workforce, where each and every staff member can say, “I am and I belong.”

As we celebrate this day, I want to thank the important contributions of the National and Regional Ethnocultural Advisory Committees to CSC. Their support has been invaluable in the successful reintegration of ethnocultural offenders. Finding ways to integrate collaboration with the Ethnocultural Advisory Committee members remains a priority for CSC.

I encourage all staff to take the time to learn about the significant work undertaken by the Ethnocultural Advisory Committee members and ethnocultural services to create a more inclusive and culturally responsive environment within CSC:

National PTSD Awareness Day

June 27 is also National PTSD Awareness Day. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a diagnosable mental health disorder affecting people who may have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. We know that the work we do at CSC can expose us to such events.

Nearly 30% of correctional workers suffer from PTSD. Traumatic experiences affect everyone differently. It is important that we recognize the symptoms and understand what it means to live with PTSD.

If you, or someone close to you, are dealing with PTSD, the Employee Assistance Program referral agents are available 24/7, both to you and your eligible family members. More information on the services is available here:

Strengthening Support for Black Offenders

I was pleased to read about the three liaison officers who are working with Black offenders to provide culturally appropriate support. These liaison officers in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Alberta are assisting individuals who are preparing for release. This ultimately increases the offenders’ chance of successful reintegration into the community.

Thank you to Lacey, Snowy, and Lori-Anne for your excellent work and all of those who contributed to launching these pilot projects.

I encourage you to read more about Working with Black offenders ‘inside’ and out in Let's Talk Express.

Tabling of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

On June 21, Justice Canada tabled Action Plan 2023-2028 for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

This product includes 181 measures involving 28 federal departments and agencies. The Act provides a roadmap for the Government of Canada and First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to work together to implement the Declaration based on lasting reconciliation, healing, and cooperative relations.

CSC continues to seek out opportunities to expand relationships with Indigenous community partners critical to delivering culturally responsive interventions and services. We also continue to work with our criminal justice partners and Indigenous communities to support the safe and successful reintegration of Indigenous offenders.

Thank You Indigenous Initiatives Directorate Team

As you may have read in my previous message, Canadians across the country celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day, on June 21. This is an important opportunity to honour and learn about the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

I want to thank the Indigenous Initiatives Directorate team for organizing the virtual teaching sessions with Elders Robert Ballantyne and Shirley Ward, as well as traditional Inuit teachings and sharing circle with Elder Sarah Ponniuk.

To those who were able to attend, I hope you found the information meaningful and insightful. The work that our Elders are doing with Indigenous offenders every day reflects the role CSC plays to ensure culturally responsive programs and interventions for Indigenous offenders.

Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.

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