National Public Safety Awards 2023

USJE’s National Public Safety Awards recognize and celebrate the outstanding work undertaken by our members across the country. Too often, the crucial work of USJE members happens behind the scenes, out of sight of many Canadians who depend on the commitment and dedication of federal public safety and justice employees to keep them safe. At an awards ceremony on March 27, 2023, six USJE members took centre stage in Ottawa to represent our union and the hard work our members accomplish. 

We applaud their dedication to their colleagues, their communities, and to their fellow Canadians, and we thank them for going to extraordinary lengths every day in their jobs in order to keep all of us safe.

Hamza Al-Baghdadi

Hamza Al-Baghdadi has worked as a Parole Officer and Parole Officer Supervisor for 20 years at various parole offices including the Toronto West, Ottawa, and Nunavut Area parole offices. Throughout his years of employment, he has been given increased responsibilities with the Correctional Service of Canada through the implementation of projects, programs, and activities at both the regional and national levels.

As CSC’s representative in Nunavut, Mr. Al-Baghdadi oversaw the Nunavut Area Parole Office and the successful delivery of CSC’s mandate throughout the territory. During his time in the North, Mr. Al-Baghdadi promoted an increased awareness within CSC of Nunavut’s unique socio-economic position compared to other regions of Canada. He spearheaded a number of programs and initiatives aimed at improving correctional outcomes for Inuit offenders through partnership and collaboration with the Territorial Government, Inuit organizations, and key stakeholders.

Mr. Al-Baghdadi’s dedication to his work and to the people of Nunavut is evidenced by his determination to find solutions in one of the most challenging socio-economic/geographic locations in Canada. Mr. Al-Baghdadi has continually demonstrated a desire to provide Canadians in the North with exceptional service. He is exceedingly engaged with the community and makes a positive impact on the lives of those he works with and the Canadian citizens he serves.

Andréa Pinter

Andréa Pinter has been with the CSC for the past 15 years, working as a psychoeducator at the Regional Mental Health Centre (RMHC), a psychiatric penitentiary where mental health services are provided to inmates with the highest needs from Quebec or elsewhere in Canada. Andréa has done tremendous work on many of these cases. Throughout her career as a psychoeducator, she has had to deal with very complex clinical cases, often with individuals deemed to be the most dangerous of all.

Andréa works with inmates on a case-by-case basis. Many of them should be (or should have been) in a psychiatric hospital or a rehabilitation centre, but the justice system decided otherwise by assigning them to the care of the CSC. Andréa is known for her continued and tireless interventions, her exceptional patience and her dedication. She is helping change lives and reducing the risk of recidivism of special needs individuals once they are released. With her great flexibility and agile mind, Andréa is highly adaptable and helps inmates rebuild a social network by contacting their family and friends, helping the offender’s loved ones understand the rehabilitation plan and treatment.

Psychoeducation is widely practised in Quebec, where it became a profession in the late 1950s. It is a fundamental, yet still at times unknown, field of expertise. Psychoeducators support people with adjustment challenges by working with them, their environment and the interaction between the two. They work on the ground in collaboration with other health professionals by supporting the specialists who work with their clients. Only a few psychoeducators work in the federal prison system, all of them at the Archambault Institution, at the Regional Mental Health Centre.

Thomas Clapham, CD

Thomas Clapham served in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Medic from 2005 to 2017. He was deployed to Afghanistan from 2008-2009 and was deployed here at home in support of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He retired from the forces at the rank of Sergeant and was awarded the General Campaign Star, Canadian Forces Decoration, and two Commander Commendations for his actions while in service.

In 2017, Thomas joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as a public servant in the role of Disability Management Advisor, where he provided support and guidance to both members and management in NHQ, National, Ontario and Nunavut Divisions. After a year, Thomas joined USJE as a Local President.

In 2020, Thomas became the National Program Manager for the RCMP Support for Operational Stress Injury (SOSI) Program. This is a program designed to provide confidential peer and social support for individuals impacted by Operational Stress Injuries. Thomas is proud to lead an incredible team of coordinators across the country who support others through their own lived experience and capacity to offer empathy, in hopes to build resilience and diminish the stigma surrounding mental health.

Thomas has dedicated his career to supporting employees and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP with their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration efforts following injury or illness.

Thomas lives in Ottawa with his spouse Allison and two children, Rory and Clara.

Jim Tata

For nearly three decades, Jim Tata has served as a Parole Officer in a variety of community parole offices and federal penitentiaries within the Correctional Service of Canada since November 1994.  

Jim currently works as a Community Parole Officer, providing service to remote communities in northern Manitoba.

With a home base at the Winnipeg Parole Office, Jim provides service and supervision to northern Manitoba First Nation Communities: Bloodvein, Berens River, Poplar River, Pauingassi, Little Grand Rapids, St. Theresa Point, Garden Hill, Wasagamack and Red Sucker Lake.  Most of these communities are accessible only by air, and traveling across these communities is only possible by either boat, ATV, snowmobile or helicopter.

Jim has put in tremendous work over the years developing relationships with community leadership and resources in order to facilitate safe reintegration of offenders in their home communities. 

His work in these remote communities has helped to build and maintain relationships with other public safety personnel, such as the RCMP, local Justice Workers and Band Police. It is through these important relationships that these partners have learned about the parole system and have engaged in aspects of offender support and supervision.

Jim and his wife Carolyn have two children, Erika and Ian.

Jo-Anne Scharf

Jo-Anne has over 19 years of experience with Public Safety Canada. Her ongoing commitment to enhancing emergency preparedness and public safety in the Atlantic Region has contributed significantly to keeping Canadians safe.

Jo-Anne’s career started, quite literally, in a whirlwind. Juan, a category 2 hurricane, hit the Atlantic region in 2003, three weeks after the start of her employment. Jo-Anne helped design and implement plans and procedures for coordinated responses during emergencies. With a small team, she established Operations and Communications Procedures, outlining roles and responsibilities and practising these in regional exercises and training activities.

She took part in departmental task forces and committees to develop key national emergency response documents such as the Federal Emergency Response Plan and the National Emergency Response System. She was one of the two regional representatives to be on the Deputy Minister’s Advisory Committee.

She has been a member of the International Emergency Management Group – a group of emergency management directors and managers from six New England states and the four Atlantic provinces, plus Québec, that provides an effective forum for cross-border cooperation.

She was instrumental in the development of Regional Operational Reserves (ROR) in close coordination with the Federal Government.

During the COVID 19 pandemic, Jo-Anne and her teams worked tirelessly to handle everything from requests for Personal Protective Equipment, ventilators or other supplies, to managing federal requests for travel during periods of heightened restrictions. These tasks were critical to ensure that Canadians were kept safe and as well, that the important supply chain was kept functioning during the pandemic.

Louise Paquet

Louise Paquet has worked at the RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre in Innisfail, Alberta since 2009. Throughout her time, Paquet and her colleagues have contributed greatly to this world-class institution and to the creation of a safe and positive environment for the pups in training. Louise is integral to the behavioural development of these very special dogs. Her role in the centre’s complex and comprehensive training program has provided Canada with a remarkable and talented group of service dogs that can adapt to the geographic realities of our country. These exceptional service dogs are trained to detect narcotics, explosives and human remains, and support many other essential policing and public safety activities, such as search and rescue in various emergency scenarios.

Furthermore, Louise dedicated more than seven years to ensuring a successful review of the job classification for members like herself at the training centre. This translated into proper recognition and respect for all those who support the sophisticated training provided at the kennels, and underscored the fundamental role of the trainers and the dogs, who are key to keeping Canadians safe.

The Innisfail training centre is truly a remarkable institution. Under Louise’s watch, hundreds of puppies have graduated and joined the ranks of the best service dogs in the world.

Louise Paquet has two sons and lives on her acreage with three dogs who have all come out of the police dog program.