On August 15-16, National President David Neufeld and Regional Vice-President Kirsty Havard, accompanied NDP Member of Parliament, Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan-Malahat-Langford) and Liberal Member of Parliament, Taleeb Noormohamed (Vancouver Granville), on visits to Mountain Institution (medium security) and Kent Institution (maximum security) located in Agassiz, British Columbia. MacGregor and Noormohamed both sit on the House Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
The tour provided the elected officials with the opportunity to meet USJE members in both institutions (Food Service Officers, teachers, members in Institutional Supplies and Services, Correctional Program Officers, Parole Officers, Managers of Assessment Intervention, to name a few). Valuable face-to-face time with our members allowed the MPs to ask questions about the work our members do and how they support the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders back in the Community.
A key discussion point was the necessary changes to presumptive injury legislation required to provide USJE members with the proper workers’ compensation coverage after suffering an operational stress/mental health injury.
Both MPs witnessed firsthand the working conditions of USJE members in these institutions. They showed great interest in the Structured Intervention Unit at Kent Institution and were able to obtain a full appreciation of the challenges that our members face in these units.
Day 2 of the visit allowed MP Noormohamed to learn about the work that USJE members perform to keep our communities safe. It also provided the opportunity for the staff at Dick Bell Irving to share how they contribute to the reintegration of offenders back into the Community.
Hearing the personal stories of USJE members on the front line provided MP Noormohamed with a clearer picture of the challenges faced in the Community and how USJE members will face both direct trauma and vicarious trauma during the course of their duties.
USJE plans to continue to connect with all members of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security and to engage them on our members’ work. National President Neufeld emphasized to both elected officials that many of our members within the 18 departments represented by USJE are exposed to direct and indirect trauma as a result of their professional commitments and encouraged them to visit these other worksites to gain further insight.
National President Neufeld and USJE Regional Vice-President for Ontario & NCR (RCMP-PPSC-CSIS-Justice) Bella Skalin, are planning to visit the RCMP Milton Detachment on August 29th with Member of Parliament, Pam Damoff (Parliamentary Secretary for Public Safety). Stay tuned for more updates on the USJE Presumptive Injury Campaign.