Corrections Officers rally in Abbotsford on Friday.

Corrections officers ‘get loud’

The Union of Canadian Corrections Officers held a rally to bring public awareness to the issues they face.

The Union of Canadian Corrections Officers held a rally to bring public awareness to the issues they face with Canada’s changing laws on Friday at noon, at the Pacific Region headquarters on Gladys Avenue.

“We have to let Canadians know about the difficulties we face,” UCCO national president Pierre Mallette told a crowd of about 60 members.

He was standing in front of a bus that had taken him across Canada, after he began a nationwide tour at Nova Institution in Nova Scotia five weeks earlier. “Our security is yours too,” was painted on the bus, and that is the general message the union wanted to give the public.

The Corrections Officers had marched in front of the regional administrative building blowing horns and waving union banners.

Pacific Region president Gord Robertson explained Corrections staff are becoming impatient with a federal government that is passing new laws designed to get tough on crime, while at the same time closing institutions – two in Ontario and one in Quebec.

“They’re reducing beds but increasing the number of inmates,” he said.

He said the public also needs to be aware that Corrections officers face increasingly complex and dangerous situations in prisons, with more inmates having gang affiliations. A Chilliwack officer recently had her face slashed by an inmate with a homemade knife while working at Kent in Agassiz. The attack severed an artery, and caused a life-threatening injury.

“That’s a real example of what we’re facing,” said Robertson.

He said Corrections officers are a hidden branch of law enforcement, and need to remind the public and the government that “we are here.”

The UCCO has been negotiating a new collective agreement for two and a half years. He said health and safety, shift scheduling and salary are among the issues.

He called Abbotsford a “Corrections town,” and noted that of the 1,150 union members in the Pacific Region, 460 work in Abbotsford. There is Fraser Valley Institution for Women, Pacific Institution and Matsqui Institution. Many employees employees of Ferndale and Mission Institution, and Kent in Agassiz also live in the community.

He believed the rally was a success.

“It makes them aware that we’re here, and that if we have to, we’ll get loud.”

Just Posted

Family, friends of Mission murder victim hold protest rally

Group wants convicted murderer Walter Ramsay sent back to a maximum security facility

City cracking down on builder bait-and-switch

Abbotsford upping deposit required from builders of single-family houses

Vancouver Giants earn a weekend sweep against Everett

Langley-based hockey team plays its next game is at home on Friday, Sept. 28, against Seattle.

Krista Cardinal announces bid for Abbotsford school board

Cardinal points to Fraser Health experience listening to and assisting with patient, doctor needs

Abbotsford company among 500 fastest growing in Canada

Valley Carriers keeps spot on Growth 500 list, but drops from 398 last year to 408 this year

Environment Canada confirms Ottawa area hit by two tornadoes Friday

At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out

Whitecaps see playoff dreams fade after 2-1 loss to FC Dallas

Goal in 87th minute seals Vancouver’s fate

Porsche impounded for going 138 km/hr in 90 zone during charity rally

West Vancouver Police said wet roads and heavy rain made it extra dangerous

B.C. students send books to displaced students of Hornby Island school fire

Maple Ridge elementary school teacher says students learned about acts of kindness

Phase 2 of $1.35B Royal Columbian upgrades won’t be a public-private partnership

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says it will be a design-build

Trump drains oxygen from Trudeau foreign policy with PM, Freeland bound for UN

A lot has changed since the Liberals came to power in Canada in 2015

B.C. man fined $15,000, barred from trading securities for fraud

Larry Keith Davis used money from an investor to pay personal bills

Emergency crews investigate small sulphuric acid spill in Kootenays

IRM states a small volume of less than one cup and three dime-sized drips were leaked from carrier

Most Read