National President David Neufeld, Regional Vice-President, Zoe Johnston (BC RCMP, Justice, PPSC) and Regional Vice-President, Kirsty Havard (BC CSC institutions) toured Fraser Valley Institution for Women and Pacific Institution multi level institution for men. Both Institutions are contained within the Matsqui Complex in Abbotsford, BC.
At Fraser Valley Institution, the USJE representatives were given the opportunity to connect with members at the lunch and learn that was occurring on site that day. The representatives thanked the newly appointed Warden for allowing our members to gather on site and learn about their union. The representatives were then provided a tour of the site and spoke to various members. The tour included a stop in the Structured Intervention Unit (SIU) that happened to be empty, as it is not utilized very often at this woman’s institution.
The representatives then went over to Pacific Institution, which is a men’s multi-level institution. A tour was provided of the Regional Reception and Assessment Centre (RRAC) where all federal male inmates are initially processed for the BC region. It was here that an opportunity was provided to speak with an Elder who mentioned she has processed over 4000 Elder Reviews in her time there. The representatives also spoke with Parole Officers, Manager of Assessment Intervention, and Information Gathering Technicians. The tour continued in other areas of the institution including the kitchen where the representatives had the opportunity to speak with several of the Food Service Officers. The main concern raised by FOS members was that kitchen equipment was not being fixed in a timely fashion. They also spoke of the major problems they continue to experience with the dreaded Phoenix Pay System.
The USJE representatives then went to the programs building and spoke with several Programs Officers. They then toured the Huli Tun Indigenous grounds where the Elder explained various facets of the healing wheel and showed them the sweat lodges and spirit baths. The representatives then toured the hospital and ended the tour speaking with the Warden and Duty Warden and Assistant Warden Management Services who were already aware of the issues that were shared during the tour. This speaks to the good communication happening between management and the Local at the site.
The USJE representatives would like to thank USJE Local President FVI, Barb Turmann, Pacific Institution Local Vice-President, Louise Shibicky, and Vice-President, Natalie LeBlanc, for providing the tours of each site.
The day ended with the USJE representatives attending to Pacific Institution’s Annual General Meeting, which had a good turnout.
National President Neufeld and RVPs Johnston and Havard are extremely appreciative of the opportunity to meet with so many members throughout these visits. These visits help to ensure that any workplace concerns are communicated with managers at the regional and national levels. The representatives are thankful to all the frontline staff who shared their knowledge and expertise and for the great work they do every day to keep Canadians safe.