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Handling of COVID-19 cases at Mission Institution 'denounced' by staff union

Last Updated Nov 19, 2020 at 4:59 pm PDT

Mission Institution sign. (CityNews photo)

Two correctional officers have tested positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution

The union representing officers is demanding professional cleaners be brought in, better handling of complaints

A spring outbreak of COVID-19 spread to 120 prisoners, killing one

ABBOTSFORD (NEWS 1130) — Two correctional officers have tested positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution, and the union is blasting management for its handling of this outbreak and demanding immediate action.

The Union of Canadian Correctional Officers “denounces” the decision not to hire an outside firm to immediately deep clean the facility in which a spring outbreak spread to 120 prisoners, and killed one.

“There are currently two employees who have COVID-19. This leads to several tracing investigations and therefore the preventive isolation of several staff members,” writes Derek Chin, president of the pacific region for the union in a release.

“Mission experienced the largest outbreak of any penitentiary in the country this spring. We cannot understand why management will not take every precaution possible to prevent a further outbreak. Hiring a professional firm, like they did in spring, is one of them.”

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The union is also slamming the employer and the feds for rushed and “rigged” investigations into COVID-19-related safety complaints.

“If it was not for the union’s pressure, results of the investigation would have never been shared. We are appalled that [Emplyment and Social Development Canada] rendered its decision on such a vital subject in less than 3 hours after hearing from officers,” Chin continues.

“No one wants to relive the nightmare of last spring. The employer must be serious this time around in its management of the crisis given the significant increase of community transmission of COVID-19 experienced in the Fraser Valley.”

According to the Correctional Service of Canada, no prisoners have tested positive.