Supporting Frontline Staff in Adult Correctional ServicesPublished on September 19, 2019
TORONTO — Ontario's government is engaging with frontline correctional officers on ways to keep them safe on the job. The safety and security of frontline staff is the government's highest priority.
Parliamentary Assistant Belinda Karahalios met with frontline correctional officers, including healthcare staff, today at Toronto South Detention Centre. Karahalios was joined by Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Christine Hogarth, MPP for Etobicoke—Lakeshore and Natalie Kusendova, MPP for Mississauga Centre, to hear about the unique challenges corrections staff face, and to provide an update on the government's work to improve Ontario's correctional system. Staff feedback will directly inform the government's plans to better support frontline officers at institutions across the province and explore ways health care delivery can be improved within adult correctional facilities.
"Our government is listening to frontline staff to better understand their experiences and the challenges they face in their day-to-day work," said Karahalios. "Not only are we working to improve conditions and make their jobs safer, we are also focusing on how to enhance services for inmates, including those with mental health and addictions issues, to better support our staff."
The session is part of the government's efforts to modernize Ontario's justice sector and create a system that is more efficient, sustainable and empowers frontline staff. Additional sessions are being conducted at facilities across the province.
"Our frontline health care correctional employees do a difficult but vital job, under very challenging conditions," said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. "For their service and contributions, we not only thank them, but commit to giving them the additional tools they need to support those in our custody."
Recent government action to support correctional staff includes:
- Better health and wellness supports for correctional officers
- Hiring 65 new correctional officer graduates and 21 new probation and parole officers to increase public safety and help improve our correctional system
- Improving safety and increasing security by adding capacity to the Institutional Crisis Intervention Teams (ICIT) in the province's Northern adult correctional institutions
- Committing to build a new, modern correctional complex in Thunder Bay
- Expanding the female unit at Monteith Correctional Complex
- Having a dedicated canine unit at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre
- Increasing safety at the Kenora Jail by upgrading infrastructure and strengthening partnerships between corrections staff and police services