Nova Institution, the new Smartpods Pulse assembly and testing site


Tucked away at Nova Institution in Truro, Nova Scotia offenders are hard at work at the new Pulse assembly and testing site. This site is operated by CORCAN as part of the offender employment and employability program.

You may be asking yourself, “What is a Pulse”? The Smartpods Pulse transforms an electric sit-stand desk into a “smart” desk. It injects movement into your everyday working lives, which is proven to greatly improve productivity and work quality and promotes overall health. Essentially, the Pulse gives your desk a brain!   

Deanna Kearley, Pulse assembly site instructor at Nova Institution, oversees the assembly, testing and packaging site where women offenders put together the tablet-like electronic device that will eventually be connected to electric desks. Deanna says although the site is relatively new, the offenders have caught on quick to the job.

“We took the manual that was given to us by Smartpods and we totally revamped it based on new and easier ways to do things. I just sent a copy off to the regional manager and it is actually going to the CEO. They wanted our revamped copy!”

Smartpods is a private company in New Brunswick that partnered with CORCAN in 2016 through an Innovation Canada project to develop a desk with a built-in tablet. CORCAN manufactures these at Warkworth Institution. This Smartpods technology with a standalone tablet can be connected to any electric sit-stand desk. Smartpods and CORCAN expanded their partnership to open the new site at Nova Institution where offenders are now learning electronic assembly and testing of their new product.   

Claude Chavarie, Project Officer for the employment and employability program in the Atlantic Region, echoes Deanna’s enthusiasm.

“The goal was to assemble 150 [Smartpods] a month. Then, once the offenders got going with putting them together and taking them apart and doing all this practice, well last week we only had 4 days and they completed 60. So we are anticipating to be able to assemble between 250 and 300 a month.”

The Pulse assembly site gives offenders at Nova valuable skills that will be transferable upon release.

“Smart” office furniture is part of the innovative workplace trend that focuses on health and productivity. However, a sit-stand desk is only effective if you remember to use it! The Pulse gets you moving, allowing the user (or users for collaborative workspaces) to program their profile so the desk rises and lowers automatically. These features increases users’ chances of altering their lifestyle and preventing any future injuries associated to prolonged sitting. 

CORCAN has embraced this emerging market, and is giving offenders the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in new fields. Claude says the offenders are excited to be able to work on this kind of innovative technological project.

“If we look back 20 or 25 years ago, this kind of stuff was not even thought of; and now they are actually working on this kind of technology.”

Back at her site, in addition to the actual electronic assembly and testing skills, Deanna promotes a positive workspace by teaching offenders soft skills such as the importance of punctuality, teamwork, attention to detail, and professionalism. All skills gained through this work experience will be transferrable upon release.

As Deanna puts it: “In here is just a positive place, a “safe place” is what I call it.”

To find out about Smartpods and the Pulse, visit CORCAN’s online catalogue, at or Smartpods website at

To learn more about the CORCAN Employment and employability program visit the Correctional Service of Canada website.

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