CSC issues face masks and modifies practices

CSC issuing face masks 

After a sustained effort by the Union of Safety and Justice Employees last week, Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) issued a policy on Monday, April 6th, stating it would immediately issue face masks to all Correctional employees who are working in institutions and in the community. Please note that employees working at home will not be issued these masks.

This policy is the result of numerous discussions between USJE President Stan Stapleton, USJE Vice President David Neufeld and CSC senior managers; CSC Commissioner Anne Kelly; and Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s office.

It is important to understand that a mask does not protect the individual wearing it but helps to minimize the risk of infecting others should the individual be asymptomatic. The more people wearing masks, the more protected everyone will be.

Tips for using a mask 

Please find below tips for the proper use of masks: 

  • Always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before you put on or take off a mask, as well as after you put on or take off a mask. 
  • When putting on or taking off a mask, touch only the mask’s loops, ties or bands.
  • Be sure the mask fits snugly on all sides. If it has a metallic upper strip, bend it to the shape of your nose by pinching and pressing down with your fingers over the bridge of your nose. Pull the mask securely over your chin.
  • Avoid touching the front of the mask at all times. If you touch the front of your mask, make sure to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterwards. 
  • After taking off your mask, place it immediately in the garbage or in the wash.
  • Continue to adhere to good hygiene practices and public health measures by frequently handwashing, not touching your face, and maintaining physical distance where possible.

Modified routines in institutions and in the community

During this time, USJE has also been urging federal penitentiaries to continue to function on a modified routine so physical distancing and minimal contact can be respected to the maximum degree possible. We are also urging CSC to significantly reduce the number of staff entering penitentiaries on a daily basis so as to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in institutions. 

In the community, USJE has been leading the effort to ensure that the overall staffing footprint in our Community Parole Offices and Community Correctional Centres is as small as possible. Most community staff members are now working from home and perform their duties virtually or by telephone. Some staff members are rotating in and out of the office on a regular basis as well. These measures are being taken to help protect the health and wellbeing of our members and the public.

Changes to community supervision

During this time, community supervision is also being conducted differently. Community Parole Officers will visit offenders at their homes, places of employment and other locations, however they will remain in their vehicles during these visits. Offenders will then be required to step outside, where their visits will be conducted at a distance by phone. Other community supervision interviews are being conducted entirely by telephone, helping to ensure that offenders stay at home and follow current federal government directions.

If you are a CSC member and you have any questions or concerns about the above information or about other workplace issues, please reach out to your Local Executive or your Regional Vice President.