I understand that COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind. I want to assure you that we are taking this situation seriously and monitoring it carefully. Our priority is the health and safety of our staff, offenders, volunteers and the public in all of our operations.
We are working closely with our partners at the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) and the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) who continue to provide guidance to the Public Service as we face this challenge. They have indicated that Canadian public servants are at no greater risk to contracting the virus than the general public. In fact, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) continues to assess the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population in Canada. However, allow me to reiterate that this situation could evolve quickly.
For your reference, I have attached some important information. I encourage you to read these documents in order to be kept informed about COVID-19 and its impact on you as a public servant. The attachments include:
- A general occupational health advisory on COVID-19 from the Public Service Occupational Health Program of Health Canada, updated as of March 12, 2020
- A communique from Nick Fabiano, Assistant Commissioner of Human Resources Management on COVID-19
- A communique from Nick Fabiano, Assistant Commissioner of Human Resources Management on COVID-19 – March 15, 2020 *UPDATE
- Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 from TBS, updated as of March 13, 2020
- A COVID-19 information sheet from PHAC
In order to ensure the safety of our employees, volunteers, inmates and families, we are suspending visits to offenders in federal institutions and will be reassessing the situation in 10 days. Family and visitors are encouraged to continue to maintain contact with inmates by video visitation or telephone.
Visitors such as Parole Boards members, contractors, CAC members and others, will be subject to active screening at the front gate.
In addition, we will be postponing all training for now with the exception of firearms training to site-specific participants. Employees are encouraged to continue to complete required online training.
We will also be suspending all non-essential travel and encouraging the use of videoconference or teleconference, where possible.
I have confidence in the professionalism of CSC staff and the health and safety protocols and procedures we have in place to tackle this difficult situation. We have experience facing challenges and I know that we are well equipped to continue to perform our duties with excellence. I want to thank you for your diligence and your support.
We will continue to work with our partners at Health Canada and PHAC, TBS and OCHRO, as well as engage with unions, to ensure that everyone is kept abreast of this evolving situation and following federal guidance on this matter. The health and safety of CSC staff, offenders and the public remains our top priority.
We will update you as new information becomes available.
To learn more, please read additional information on the Hub with links to regularly updated Government of Canada information.