Corrections staff members always deserve our praise and thanks for the vital yet difficult jobs they do, and they are especially deserving this year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week is both Correctional Services Staff Recognition Week and Probation Officers Week, a time to recognize all of the staff working in adult corrections and youth justice.
On Thursday, May 7, video messages on the Ministry’s intranet site will honour the annual Ceremony of Remembrance in recognition of the Ontario correctional workers who have died in the line of duty.
We have both worked in institutional settings, and we know first-hand the challenges and dangers these staff members face. And so, on behalf of OPSEU’s Executive Board and all of our 165,000 members, we’d like to say: Thank You.
Thank you for putting your lives and your mental health on the line in institutions that are overcrowded, under-maintained, and this year, menaced by the threat and challenges of the pandemic.
Thankfully, your hard work and dedication to safety has meant that the pandemic has been largely kept at bay at most of Ontario’s institutions – you have successfully demanded the strongest safety measures of any correctional facilities across the country.
We wish the staff at the Ontario Correctional Institution in Brampton speedy recoveries from their positive COVID-19 tests.
We also wish the best to the Probation and Parole worker in Elliot Lake who was witness to a tragic incident of gun violence in the workplace last month.
It was a sobering reminder that the dangers faced by corrections staff do not stop at the walls of our institutions and facilities.
Like those working inside our jails, our Probation, and Probation and Parole staff risk their lives and well-beings every day in order to keep our communities safe and secure.
The Crisis in Corrections has been happening for years, and it continues to this day.
As the government pledges over and over to protect frontline workers, we pledge to continue to push for increased staff, improved training, and new infrastructure that is so vital to the health and safety of our members working in corrections, probation, and parole.
You deserve nothing less.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas
OPSEU First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida