Today, we remember Louise Pargeter, a USJE member who died on October 6, 2004, while performing her duties as a Community Parole officer in Yellowknife. On this day, we take the opportunity to remember, and honour, Louise, as well as all USJE members who have lost their lives while working to keep Canadians safe.
Louise was a mother, partner, daughter and worker, and she was loved by numerous friends and colleagues. Her death was a tragedy for those closest to her and it sent shock waves through the tight knit group of Community Parole Officers and deeply impacted the membership of USJE.
Every year close to 1,000 workers are killed in Canadian workplaces. Like many of these people, Louise Pargeter died while working in a hazardous environment without access to appropriate staff safety support. Consequently, her death had a profound effect on the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) as a whole, particularly on the issue of staff safety in the community.
The subsequent National Board of Investigation (BOI) into Louise’s death found that the CSC gave inadequate attention to the question of community staff safety. The BOI made dozens of recommendations including the establishment of a comprehensive policy on the issue of safety for Community Parole Officers.
Only one month after Louise’s murder, USJE and CSC convened the first meeting of the joint Advisory Committee On Community Staff Safety (now the Advisory Committee on Community Staff Safety and Operations). The advisory committee was one of the cornerstones of the BOI and USJE is committed to ensuring that it continues to meet and undertake its important work, ensuring that our members have the safest workplaces possible.
In addition, in the fall of 2008, the USJE National Executive established the Louise Pargeter Scholarship in remembrance and honour of our fallen sister. This scholarship fund was set up to fund two separate scholarships in the amount of $2500.00 each.
Today, we honour all our fallen colleagues and are reminded of the dangerous and important nature of the work of USJE members across the country.
As your union, USJE is dedicated to ensuring that all of our members, regardless of department or job description, are able to work in safe and secure environments.