The Public Service Alliance of Canada has exercised its right to strike for several groups. This means that some of our USJE colleagues are working on one of the many picket lines across the country. Of course, UCCO-SACC-CSN wishes our colleagues well in their endeavour to make improvements to their working conditions. If you wish to show your support on a personal basis to your friends, colleagues and/or spouses, we are sure they will appreciate this gesture of solidarity. Please be mindful that participating in this strike while on duty would be seen as UCCO-SACC-CSN participating in an illegal strike and could damage our current negotiations. The right to strike is not available to us as we are essential workers under the law. The Correctional Service will have the task of putting mechanisms in place to ensure that we are able to perform our work in a manner that respects our non-essential colleagues and their strike. In closing, we wish our comrades well in their mobilization and we are confident that we will have their support as we engage in more sustained mobilization for the improvement of our own working conditions.
Change of insurance company
Canada Life’s positive enrolment launch is on schedule to start next week. Plan members will receive invitations from Canada Life in a phased approach by mail or email. This is based on the members’ preferred method of communication with Sun Life. Following extensive communication efforts to encourage PSHCP members to update their positive enrolment information, Sun Life has seen a large increase in updates. Should a member have additional questions, they can contact the Canada Life PSHCP Member Contact Centre at: 1-855-415-4414, Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., members’ local time. For all services and products for which the maximum reimbursement amount will increase, the increase will come into effect on July 1, 2023. This means that the increased reimbursement will only apply to items or services incurred on or after July 1, 2023. For example, effective July 1, 2023, the benefit for massage therapy services increases from $300 to $500 annually. If a plan member submitted claims for $300 in massage therapy services incurred before July 1, 2023, they will be eligible to submit claims for another $200 after July 1, 2023, for services incurred after that date.
If you need more information about this change, you may visit the website below or contact your local executive.
PSPNET in Ontario
PSPNET is a clinical unit located at the University of Regina within the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT), which was founded to support the mental health and wellbeing of public safety personnel (PSP) and first responders. Among other things, PSPNET offers therapy and services for public safety personnel struggling with mental health issues. This tool is an internet delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy session, and is available to members in Quebec, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and now in Ontario. Our duties are unique and asking for help, if we need some, is crucial for our health. The link to this service can be found on our website by clicking the Priorities tab and then Mental Health Resources and Awareness. For convenience, you can also follow the link here: https://www.pspnet.ca.
Medication, Distribution Administration Guideline
We are experiencing problems with the health sector, regarding a new memo distributed in the regions, which places accountability on our members with respect to Direct Observation of certain medications. However, it is necessary for the central administration, and more specifically the health sector, to understand that we do not work in hospitals. Our institutions are penitentiaries, where violence, assaults and trafficking complicate our daily work. This new memo suggests that after nursing hours are over, medications like methadone, suboxone or other DOT medications will be placed in boxes, which inmates can access to self-administer without Direct Observation. Though boxes of this nature have been available at some sites for quite some time, the practice of dispensing certain DOT medications has not been the reality. At no time should any of our members give access to medications if there are nurses on site. We are currently waiting for another meeting with operations and health to define our tasks clearly. It is not our members’ duties to be responsible for the distribution or administration of medication.
Issues Around Search
CSC has unilaterally changed the way searches are conducted since the adoption of bill C‑16. UCCO-SACC-CSN is actively pressuring CSC to provide body scanners as soon as possible in every institution to ease the search of not only transgender inmates but also geriatric inmates. CSC response has been slow. We have approached the Minister of Public Safety on this matter in the hope that the procurement for body scanners be expedited. Some managers have spread misinformation on the right to be accommodated if an officer cannot perform a strip search. It is untrue that the accommodation is only open if someone has been the victim of a sexual assault. Your local and regional Status of Women representative will be able to guide you in the request for an accommodation. UCCO-SACC-CSN is also conducting a survey on the H-pattern search in the Pacific Region and starting to analyze the results. On a preliminary basis, members are clearly expressing the view that the H-pattern search creates new hazards. This is a file that we will continue to monitor closely and fight.
We are still waiting for the publication of the tenders on the gloves and the dual-threat vest. Correctional Services is currently working with Public Services and Procurement Canada about these upcoming tenders.
The regulations around body scanners are supposed to be published in the Gazette of Canada in the upcoming weeks. This publication will start the official round of consultation. UCCO-SACC-CSN intends to make sure that CX voices are heard throughout this consultation.
Two dog handlers from Quebec and Ontario finished their training in Connecticut around detecting electronic devices. We take this opportunity to congratulate these handlers who finished 1st and 2nd of their class. It is a very good news to see CSC moving forward with new and innovative training. We look forward to seeing more handlers trained and seeing the effectiveness of this training in the field.
Your National Executive