Montreal/Mission – While Mission Institution is the hardest hit prison in Canada when it comes to COVID-19, it’s not just inmates that are at risk. It is staff as well. 41 inmates and 6 staff (out of 67 tests) now have the virus. A half dozen in Abbotsford Hospital. Fraser Health has dispatched a mobile health unit to Mission.
On the other side of the river, Rick Ghuman, the Matsqui Institution union President for UCCO-SACC-CSN made a public plea for sanitizer for his Matsqui workplace:
In an Easter Monday statement from UCCO-SACC-CSN (Union of Canadian Correctional Officers) about Mission Institution:
Local management must act now
The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO-SACC-CSN) is asking that management from Mission Institution (British Columbia) puts in place relevant measures to protect the health of its 155 correctional officers as well as the inmate population, as soon as possible.
With a total of 6 correctional officers and 41 inmates infected with COVID-19, Mission is the federal Institution with the most cases of Covid-19 amongst inmates. “As soon as the first cases were declared in Port-Cartier Institution in Quebec, measures were undertaken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The management of Mission Institution needed to take similar immediate steps, but that did not happen” explains Derek Chin, regional president of the Pacific Region, UCCO-SACC-CSN.
No More Staff Rotation
“Management must put an immediate stop to the movement of staff between institutions and reduce movement between posts within the institution, as has been done elsewhere. Management must also make sure that proper cleaning is done on a regular and ongoing basis by a professional cleaning company,” notes Chin. A professional cleaning company came and disinfected the Institution a few days ago, but since then, no proper follow-up has been done.
Masks to Inmates
UCCO-SACC-CSN is also asking that surgical masks are distributed to all inmates, as the number of cases continues to rise. Correctional Service of Canada confirmed last week that the masks were going to be distributed to correctional officers and, as soon as possible, inmates. “Mission Institution, of all 49 institutions in the country, should not wait on the distribution of masks to inmates and ensure that staff have an adequate supply for their daily work,” adds Chin.
Staff and Inmate’s Safety Over Costs
“We are being told by senior Correctional Service of Canada management that our health and safety come first. We don’t understand why management at Mission Institution are putting money before us. It is completely unacceptable that our members who were exposed to the coronavirus are being pressured to return to work prior to receiving their test results or finishing their 14 days isolation” denounces Jeff Wilkins, National President of UCCO-SACC-CSN.