UCCO-SACC-CSN has learned that the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) sent some 1200 doses to various federal penitentiaries and plans to vaccinate the elderly inmates first.
Many questions remain unanswered, as the vaccination rollout begins today at Springhill (Atl), Drummond (Que), and the treatment centers of the Ontario, Prairie, and Pacific regions. Will Correctional Officers be vaccinated before inmates who are under 70 years of age? Will the vaccination take place in the workplace?
UCCO-SACC-CSN demands that Correctional Officers be offered the vaccine at their workplace as quickly as possible. We are disappointed that CSC did not consult with the Union. They essentially made the plan and conveyed the plan to the Union without any input.
Though CSC has a legal mandate to provide care, custody, and control to the inmate population, they also have the legal mandate to protect their staff members from diseases under the Canadian Labour Code.
Correctional Officers are currently working in institutions that have been declared as pandemic sites, and they are not being afforded the protection of a vaccine. Correctional Officers and other front-line staff should be made a priority. UCCO-SACC-CSN also demands that vaccine distribution should first go to priority sites where there is a significant outbreak or potential outbreaks. Unfortunately, it seems that CSC hasn’t considered this option.
Since March 2020, Correctional Officers have been on the front line to protect the Canadian population often working closely with COVID-19 infected people, placing them at high risk for infection. Correctional Officers have not received any compensation for this, no hazard pay, which was given to other front-line workers.
It’s time the Federal Government and the Correctional Service of Canada start recognizing the dedication of its employees. Since the vaccine available in Canada remains low, the rollout must be prioritized and UCCOSACC- CSN remains committed to making the case that our members are a priority. We will continue to lobby the government on this very important issue.