The demonstrators, who represented correctional officers from 49 federal penitentiaries, displayed a banner outside the Prime Minister’s offices to express their fed up with Ottawa’s refusal to grant them this bonus.
While health personnel and several trades affected by the pandemic have been entitled to this kind of bonus, correctional officers say they are forgotten by the government and claim to be heavily affected by the pandemic and the health measures it imposed in prisons.
In Canada, essential workers who have had to deal with the virus have rightly received a risk premium, explains Frédérick Lebeau, president of the Quebec region of the Syndicat des agents correctionnels du Canada-CSN.
Provincial correctional officers in Ontario, British Columbia and other provinces receive the premium. Members of the Canadian Armed Forces received an allowance when they had to work in long-term care homes. What about us? Nothing, underlines Mr. Lebeau.
According to the union leader, nearly 500 federal correctional officers have contracted COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, which makes this profession
most affected among federal employees, he says.
The irony, he adds, is that many of the bonuses that are paid [à des agents correctionnels] by the provinces are subsidized by the federal government to help them fight the pandemic.
The Union, which represents 7,500 correctional officers in penitentiaries across the country, urges Ottawa to negotiate to resolve this issue as soon as possible.
For its part, the Correctional Service of Canada announced last week that nearly 75% of inmates under its care had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine – a vaccination coverage higher than that observed in the general population of country.
According to the Correctional Service, 9,613 prisoners had by this time received at least one dose of Moderna’s vaccine and 1,266 of them had received their second and last dose.