Health Services (HS)
Health Services bilateral meetings were held on January 15th, April 10th, November 12th and
The main topics were:
Prison Needle Exchange Program (PNEP) / Overdose Prevention Sites (OPS)
Since June 2018, CSC has implemented PNEP in 9 institutions in different regions. We have informed CSC of our concerns regarding the too rapid implementation and lack of proper consultation on staff health and safety. Following visits to various establishments in different regions, we also raised the issues for our members in connection with training, the important role of our professionals in harm reduction, and safety issues.
OPS is added to the PNEP. This initiative, proposed by the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers (UCCO), and was implemented as a pilot project at Drumheller Institution. We participated in the initial meeting where several questions were raised in relation to the role of our NU members in this process. In recent months, CSC has decided to implement a second site at Springhill Institution without even sharing the results of the pilot project with the unions. Again, the lack of training for staff remains an important issue in addition to accountability in the event of an accident / incident, which is always questioned.
To date, we are unable to explain the decision-making process behind the decision to implement PNEP or OPS in institutions. Everything seems random and without a precise plan.
Bill C-83: An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and another Act
Last June, Parliament legislated and introduced Bill C-83 which represents an unprecedented impact on CSC. For members, this law emphasizes the need to involve our health care professionals in the decision-making process regarding the management of offenders. The legislative change led to a change in the healthcare organization, including plans to add more than 420 new staff members, more than half of whom are expected to be new members of PIPSC. This addition of personnel should be implemented within the next 5 years.
On November 30, 2019, structured intervention units (SIU) were implemented at CSC in 15 institutions across Canada. Some of the challenges encountered in setting up SIUs arise from the fact that in some institutions, the lack of organizational leadership meant that information was not communicated in a timely and consistent manner across the board at different sites. Also, it appears that policy makers lack knowledge about the reality of our workplace. These factors contribute to the increased potential for hazardous situations for personnel therefore, result in overwork for our health care professionals.
However, the discussions on the interpretation of the law on segregation has been amended in order to increase interpersonal interactions between detainees and staff on these units. This change obliges our health services professionals to modify their interventions by including mental health examinations at regular intervals while this impacts on are workload. This law also poses a risk to the safety of personnel since it is required that interactions take place with open doors and promotes meetings with health professionals without the use of barriers to preserve their safety.
Finally, the process of initial assessment of mental health needs from the start of the new sentences has been modified, implying a significant increase in the workload for the targeted teams.
Your regional and national consultation teams remain actively involved in the clinical, security and organizational issues inherent in major changes in the organization under Bill C-83.
We continue to stay informed about policy changes. We comment constructively on the changes, emphasizing the importance of respecting the rights and needs of members.
Legal support and compensation
Following situations where article 21 of the SH group agreement was not respected, we initiated discussions with the office of the Assistant Commissioner for Health Services (ACHS). She commissioned an analysis of insurance from Ontario occupational groups to compare with the coverage of the Treasury Board Secretariat. According to their analysis, the supports prove to be equivalent. We have some reservations and are awaiting verification from our legal counsel in connection with this analysis and are considering the possibility of extending such analyzes to other regions. Members are currently advised to take the insurance offered by their professional order or association.
Deprofessionalization is an important issue for PIPSC. At CSC, we live in several situations where, due to recruitment and retention challenges such as for psychologists, social workers and nurses. The tasks usually assigned to these professionals are performed by other employees who do not respond to any professional order or who are not members of PIPSC, which increases the supervision and work of our professionals. In the process of hiring new health workers, we remain alert to CSC's choices to hire unlicensed people to do the work of our members.