OTTAWA — The union for federal correctional officers says four prisons in Quebec are "very close" to experiencing staff shortages, as more workers test positive for COVID-19.
Mario Guilmette, Quebec region vice-president of the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, has said Correctional Service Canada is working on a protocol to be used if the province's federal prisons hit staffing shortages.
The protocol would mean workers who are considered close contacts of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 may be asked to come back to work after isolating for eight days instead of 10.
Correctional Service spokeswoman Marie Pier Lecuyer says 322 staff across Canada had tested positive for the coronavirus as of yesterday, up from 248 workers on Dec. 31.
The service says in a statement today that the Federal Training Centre, a multi-level security institution in Quebec, is reporting an outbreak of COVID-19 with 19 staff and 14 inmates infected.
The union says the four Quebec prisons at risk of staff shortages are La Macaza Institution, Donnacona Institution, Joliette Institution for Women and the Regional Reception Centre.
Lecuyer says staffing levels at institutions in the Quebec region are currently "adequate" to ensure safe operations.
Correctional Services has not brought any staff who tested positive back to work until they are fully recovered, but has a protocol in place to return staff to the workplace if needed to maintain "critical public safety services," says Lecuyer.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 6, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
The Canadian Press