Proof of Vaccination Requirement for Visitors of Federal Correctional Sites
November 5, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Correctional Service Canada
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is committed to reducing the risks of COVID-19 in all of its operations and keeping everyone as safe as possible. Vaccination against COVID-19 remains one of the most effective tools to prevent outbreaks and protect the health and safety of our staff, inmates, and communities.
Starting on November 15, 2021, visitors will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to entering a CSC facility such as a correctional institution, Community Correctional Centre, or parole office.
If someone is unable to be vaccinated, they must present proof of an exemption and a negative COVID-19 test result before entering our facilities. To allow for a transition period, from November 15 to January 24, visitors who are not fully vaccinated can show proof of having received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as well as a recent negative COVID-19 test result. This allows visitors to receive their second dose within this timeframe.
This new requirement does not apply to children under the age of 12 and emergency services personnel entering our facilities on an urgent basis.
Health and safety measures implemented in response to the pandemic continue to be in place at all CSC facilities. Prior to entering an institution, visitors will continue to undergo a COVID-19 screening process and will be required to wear a mask and wash or sanitize their hands. Visitor spaces will continue to be cleaned and disinfected before and after each visit.
Connecting with visitors continues to be a key part of an offender’s successful rehabilitation. Given that federal inmates live in congregate living environments, these additional measures will help ensure that our institutions are kept as safe as possible. In addition to in-person visits, CSC continues to make available video visitations and telephone calls to allow inmates to maintain regular contact with their family, friends, and support networks.
CSC’s new visitor proof of vaccination requirement is closely aligned with the new Government of Canada mandatory vaccination policy. This policy, released on October 6, 2021, requires all employees in the Core Public Administration to be vaccinated and applies to CSC employees. This includes volunteers as well as contractors accessing CSC buildings, in accordance with Public Services and Procurement Canada guidelines.
Visitors who are unable to be vaccinated based on a certified medical contraindication, religion, or another prohibited ground of discrimination as defined under the Canadian Human Rights Act, will be required to provide documentation to support their exemption prior to their visit and show proof of a negative COVID-19 test result.
For testing results, if a rapid test is used, the sample must have been collected within 48 hours of the scheduled visit or 72 hours for a PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) lab test.
CSC began vaccinating inmates in January 2021. To date, 80% of inmates are fully vaccinated and 85% have received one dose. Vaccines continue to be offered to inmates, including new admissions to CSC.
CSC follows guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada regarding vaccines, including recommendations of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI).
CSC’s webpage provides information on which institutions are currently open for inmate visits. Visits must be booked at least 48 hours in advance. Those planning a visit should always confirm their visit with the institution before travelling.
CSC’s proof of vaccination requirement for visitors was made in consultation with stakeholders. CSC has an Integrated Risk Management Framework in place to make decisions during the pandemic, which is a collaborative process with stakeholders, subject matter experts, and union partners. Health and safety measures in CSC facilities are reviewed on an ongoing basis, in accordance with the latest public health guidance.
Correctional Service Canada
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