Ontario COVID-19 Response Means Operational Change at Correctional Facilities

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Thunder Bay District Jail shot at night. January 23 2020
Thunder Bay District Jail shot at night. January 23 2020

THUNDER BAY — Action on COVID-19 – Novel Coronavirus in Ontario continues. Schools are being shutdown, large gatherings cancelled, and now visits to correctional facilities are being cancelled.

In Thunder Bay for the past week, visits to the Thunder Bay District Jail have been cancelled.

On Friday, March 13, 2020, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General, issued the following statement regarding operational changes to Ontario’s adult correctional facilities as a precautionary response to COVID-19:

“The health and well-being of Ontarians is our government’s number one priority. Since we first learned of COVID-19, Ontario has been taking decisive action to contain the virus and protect all Ontarians.

Out of an abundance of caution, the province is taking decisive action to protect the health and safety of our correctional services staff and those in our custody. To reduce the possible transmission of COVID-19 in our correctional facilities, effective March 13, 2020, and until further notice, intermittent inmates who serve time on the weekends will be required to attend their reporting facility, where they will be given a temporary absence from custody and permitted to return home. Intermittent inmates have already been deemed low-risk by the courts and remain in the community Monday to Friday to live and work.

Visits Suspended Until Further Notice

In addition, we are temporarily suspending personal visits within our adult correctional facilities across the province. This suspension will come into effect on March 14, 2020, and remain until further notice. Professional visits including legal counsel will continue.

These measures are necessary to reduce any potential transmission of COVID-19. We are taking immediate action to ensure the safety of both our staff and those in our custody. We all need to stay vigilant and do our part to ensure the health and well-being of all Ontarians.”

Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

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