Message from the Commissioner: January 11, 2021

I wanted to reach out to follow up on my note last week and the news coverage around the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccines

As you know, under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, CSC has an obligation to provide essential health care to federal inmates. We provide health care to approximately 12,500 inmates in correctional institutions across the country. In the first phase, a small number of doses are being made available to inmates who are older and medically vulnerable. Our vaccination strategy follows guidance set by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on who gets the vaccine and when. This is consistent with the approach we followed during other public health situations, such as H1N1.

In a parallel and equally important track, our employees are also top of mind. Our health care workers and other frontline staff work in high-risk settings. Many of you work to keep our operations going 24/7. I value what you do every day and your work is essential. As with all health care, Provinces and Territories will provide vaccines to our employees, based on the NACI prioritization. We have been working closely and very hard with Provinces to identify our health care and frontline workers for prioritization. Some health care workers have already been vaccinated. This is evolving quickly and we expect more health care staff to receive the vaccine in coming weeks.

Infection Prevention Control Measures

While we all wait to get the vaccine, I appreciate your commitment and dedication in following our COVID-19 infection prevention protocols. More than ever, it is important not to let our guard down and continue implementing the various measures and layers of protection against the virus.

There are currently active cases of COVID-19 at some of our correctional facilities. To protect one another, please continue to properly wear your mask, practice physical distancing as much as possible, and continue to frequently wash/sanitize your hands. These are simple things we can do to halt the spread of the virus, especially given that it is possible to transmit the virus without having any symptoms.

The virus is carried through droplets expelled when you breathe or talk. That is why wearing a mask that covers your nose, mouth and chin without gaping is so critical. Well-fitted masks can help to prevent the spread of infection. When everyone wears them, it protects both you and those around you. Remember to wear them properly and avoid taking them on and off to prevent contamination.

COVID has affected millions of people around the globe, and has resulted in the hospitalization of thousands of Canadians. Health care staff are stretched thin treating those with COVID-19, as well as other seriously ill patients. Surgeries and other treatment, like that for cancer patients and children, have been postponed because of the growing number of people seriously ill with this virus. Every effort we can make to help prevent spread of the virus really makes a difference for our collective public health. In our line of work, we are held to a high standard and others look to us to set the example. Once again, please wear your mask.

Thank you for everything you do to prevent the spread of the virus in our workplaces.

Anne Kelly
Commissioner

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