Test more correctional officers to ease burden in federal prisons, union says
OTTAWA -- The national president of a union representing federal prison workers says widespread testing of correctional officers for COVID-19 would help ease the strain on staffing levels.
Jeff Wilkins of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers is telling a House of Commons committee that broader testing would identify employees who do not have the virus, ensuring they can continue to work.
Wilkins says correctional officers have been sent home for 14 days after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.
In turn, he says, that has increased the burden for remaining staff who must work longer hours.
Tom Stamatakis, president of the Canadian Police Association, is expressing concern about a federal call for the prison service and parole board to consider releasing some inmates to prevent the spread of COVID-19 behind bars.
He says releasing offenders at a time when police resources are already stretched thin could place an additional burden on forces.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2020.