Montreal/Fraser Valley – In a statement from the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, the use of masks in the COVID-19 crisis has been addressed.
In the light of the advice from Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam, to wear a non-medical face mask to help cut down the spread of the coronavirus when social distancing is difficult to maintain, UCCO-SACC-CSN has just been informed that surgical masks will be available to all correctional officers beginning in most of our 49 institutions April 7, 2020. Correctional Officers will be supplied a surgical mask to wear when social distancing measures cannot be met. We have also been advised that masks will soon be made available to the inmate population.
However, mask supplies are still a concern for our 7400 members and we are working hard to make sure correctional officers have access to all the appropriate PPE to perform their work in these difficult circumstances.
The Union is also asking that important measures are taken as soon as a case of COVID-19 is confirmed, including
- Putting institutions in locked down to prevent any further spread while PHAC and CSC officials conducted contact tracing;
- Only correctional officers who did not have any contact with those who tested positive are reporting for duty;
- Medical staff are taking the temperature of all employees when they enter the institution for all shifts.
Finally, in a letter sent to Minister Bill Blair, the Union is requesting that the federal government act now to provide each federal institution with an adequate supply of test kits for the purpose of testing critical staff members who have been determined to be at risk through the contact tracing process.
Rick Ghuman, Matsqui Institution President UCCO SACC CSN, told FVN:
Thank you to @CSC_SCC_en for recognizing our need to wear masks during this pandemic. Great work by @UCCOSACCweb and our other union partners in voicing the concerns of the staff. #uccosacccsn#Covid_19
As of April 7, there were two confirmed cases at Mission Institution and others in review at Mountain and Pacific Institutions.