It’s Correctional Services Staff Recognition Week, and we feel privileged to lead a union that represents thousands of these dedicated professionals.
OPSEU/SEFPO members include correctional officers, probation and parole officers, Nurses and Social workers, recreation and administrative staff. They put their lives at risk every day to keep Ontarians safe.
We were honoured to attend the Correctional Services Ceremony of Remembrance on Tuesday at the Ontario legislature, a tribute to Corrections workers who have died on the job.
Our members care deeply about their communities, and it does not stop at the end of the workday. OPSEU/SEFPO’s members created a Corrections Cares campaign recently, where they have raised money and collected food for community support groups.
OPSEU/SEFPO has for years warned of a crisis in the Corrections system. Understaffing and crumbling infrastructure have put the health and safety of both inmates and staff at risk.
In addition to the day-to-day challenges of working in Corrections, our members have had to contend with COVID-19. Some of our members have contracted COVID more than once during the pandemic.
Thanks to our union’s efforts, progress has been made, but so much more remains to be done. Most institutions continue to house far more inmates than they were ever designed to hold. The proportion of Correctional Officers to offender population continues to pose serious risks, leading to overwork, stress and burnout. Probation and Parole are constantly having to juggle higher caseloads with inadequate staff.
As the Correctional Bargaining Unit is in the midst of negotiating a new collective agreement, we again demand that the government repeal Bill 124. Corrections is an inherently hazardous occupation. Working conditions are among the worst imaginable. If we wish to attract and retain correctional workers, they must be paid commensurately with the exceptional risks they take every single day on the job.
OPSEU/SEFPO will back its Corrections members at every step of the way with every possible professional and financial support. We are determined to ensure get the kind of contract that properly reflects their professionalism, integrity and contributions.
During Correctional Services Staff Recognition Week, OPSEU/SEFPO joins every Ontarian in thanking Corrections workers for their courageous and selfless work to keep us safe.
JP Hornick, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Laurie Nancekivell, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer