CSC’s executive cadre attended the Executive Strategic Leadership Symposium (ESLS) from Monday, February 22 to Wednesday, February 24 in Ottawa. It was a three-day learning and professional development event aimed at preparing them to meet current and future challenges.
The event kicked off with Commissioner Head’s opening remarks, in which he discussed some of key issues and challenges facing the organization as well as the role of executives in ensuring strong operational leadership at all levels of the organization. Following his remarks, those in attendance spent the rest of the day participating in and listening to panel discussions about two important issues: Offender Mental Health and Reintegration. Following the discussions they took part in breakout sessions to talk about what they had heard and to share their perspectives on the issues. They then reported back to the rest of the groups with their key points.
The first day concluded with remarks by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, who took the opportunity to thank those in attendance for the work they do in helping offenders to become law-abiding citizens.
“I very much appreciate everything you do to make a real difference in the lives of CSC’s frontline staff and in the lives of the 23,000 offenders who are under your responsibility. You face challenging situations every day – situations that have immediate implications on the safety of your staff and the well-being of the men and women entrusted to your care.”
Minister Goodale also spoke about the Government of Canada’s priorities with respect to corrections going forward. The overrepresentation of Indigenous offenders, particularly female offenders, as well as the number of offenders who self-identify as having mental health issues were two issues that he chose to highlight. He concluded by encouraging everyone in attendance to “be the change they want to see” at CSC.
The second day began with the Commissioner’s address on leadership and what it means to be an effective leader in the 21st century. He talked about the importance of middle managers and encouraged senior managers to support them and empower them. He spoke about the importance of results and of maintaining accurate, timely, and precise information for the purposes of results measurement. And he also stressed that the mental resilience and mental health of CSC staff will continue to be a priority going forward.
Over the course of the following day and a half, attendees had the opportunity to participate in panel discussions and breakout sessions about key topics such as Population Management and Indigenous Offenders. They also received updates on upcoming correctional research, the Structured Assessment and Intervention Framework (SAIF), and current pilot projects. A tradeshow was also held where employees presented and displayed key projects and initiatives happening at CSC including POPedia, Electronic Monitoring, and the Correctional Training Academy.
Overall, the event was a valuable opportunity for CSC’s executives from across the country to interact with one another, discuss common challenges and successes, and work together to plan for CSC’s future.