TORONTO – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is asking for a review of legal representation for correctional officers being investigated by the Correctional Investigation and Security Unit (CISU).
Under the current legislation, Correctional Officers who are involved in violent and threatening situations which have resulted in bodily injury are compelled to make a statement to CISU investigators without the right to legal counsel. This is a right that every person in Ontario, including police officers, is afforded.
“Anyone who has faced such an ordeal needs assistance and is entitled to support,” says Dan Sidsworth, Provincial Chair of OPSEU’s Corrections Division. “Correctional officers protect the public and keep the peace inside the province’s prisons, which can inherently be dangerous workplaces. That said, situations where someone is hurt or dies do not happen often. But when they do, it is traumatic for all involved, including correctional officers.”
Sidsworth says that his members acknowledge and respect the role of the CISU, but must be allowed the same legal rights as every other person in Ontario.
“The CISU must have all the resources necessary to execute an effective and timely investigation, but must not be allowed to do so by stripping away basic legal rights,” says Sidsworth. “Our members must have the right to legal representation, and that support is particularly crucial for them during extraordinary and traumatic circumstances.”
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