What makes CSC employees happy at work?


Every year since 2013, the United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness on March 20th. Given how much time we spend on the job, it’s crucial to find ways to stay positive in the workplace despite the challenges we face. To mark this day, we asked Correctional Service of Canada employees what makes them happy at work. Here’s what they said brightens their workdays:

“Coming in everyday to work with vibrant, caring coworkers. I’ve always firmly believed that the key to having a happy professional life isn’t the work that you do but the people you work with.”
Louis-Philippe Gauthier
Administrative Officer for the Deputy Commissioner for Women
Women Offender Sector, National Headquarters

“I love team building exercises, but the greatest team building exercises at work are: Lunch with co-workers, spending an hour away from your desks to talk about each other (not work) and learn about each other’s backgrounds, likes, dislikes and sharing laughs, dreams etc; Coffee with co-workers, spending ten minutes away from your desk to take a quick breather.”
Kevin King
Database Analyst - AutoCAD Technician
Technical Services and Facilities Branch, National Headquarters

“Working within a cumbersome, bureaucratic machine, it is more easy for me to list the things that make me frustrated, discouraged, angry, confused, and disappointed at work. Primarily, the reason I stay is because of the things that make me happy at work.

“It’s the support and care that fellow employees show to each other when there is a tragedy, illness or death within a CSC employee’s family.  In those moments, we join together so the affected person(s) feel our love and concern.  I have seen many, many of these examples.
“It’s the very rare occasion when one of the inmates approaches me and tells me that the help I gave, the suggestion I made, the referral I facilitated, the individual I connected them with, has made all the difference in their life and they are on the way to wholeness (and hopefully rehabilitation into society).  When I see a former inmate in the community interacting in a positive way with a friend, spouse, child, employer – or if that person should recognize me and approach me to tell me how well they are doing on the outside.
“These are the things that help me to focus on the fact that we DO work for an employer who, at it’s core, believes that we can each assist in changing minds, hearts and the trajectory path of offenders. At the same time, we do our part in keeping communities safe by engaging positively in the incarcerated and released inmates.  When I pause to consider the things that make me happy in my job, it keeps me working within the CSC family, and not for the bureaucracy.
Dianne Carson
Full Time Registered Nurse
Mountain Institution, Pacific Region

“Despite cut backs, constant changes, compliance pressures, and all the stress related angst of my job I have one constant source of happiness: my colleagues!  I work with an amazing group of people.  It’s a work family that I trust, I have so much affections for, and lift me up on hard days. We laugh, we share heart felt burdens, we rally together to be strong and supportive and accomplish so much.  We are more than just a team, we are family.  I value each one of them greatly and daily include them in my prayers.
We are truly blessed and I’m grateful every day for each one of my colleagues.”
Jenna Pitt
Registrar and Training Coordinator
Correctional Learning and Development Centre, Pacific Region

"As a supervisor, what makes me happy at work is seeing my employees work with a smile and help each other day-to-day without any judgment whatsoever, despite a very difficult HR work environment. It’s also about having the support of senior management to ensure the well‑being of my employees who carry out varied tasks, many of which are challenging.”
Annie Caissy
Team Leader
HR Service Centre/Classification, Resourcing and Operations, Quebec Region

“Happiness is a group of great coworkers. At my workplace, we laugh together, support one another, and celebrate even the smallest victories. My coworkers make the toughest days much brighter and I am so thankful for them.”
Jill Bonnell
Parole Officer
Joyceville Assessment Unit, Ontario Region

"Over the past 12 years, many things have made me happy at work: An extraordinary, committed and dedicated team; diverse challenges; the sense of accomplishment in achieving goals; an organization that I find more and more human. And these are just some examples. I consider myself lucky to be able to evolve in a dynamic environment, to get out of my comfort zone every day and to work on projects that are close to my heart.”
Annie Létourneau
Parole Officer Supervisor
Québec East/West District, Quebec Region

"I am very pleased that CSC has taken the initiative to address bullying and workplace violence. Many things have changed in my workplace since this shift, among my colleagues and in terms of general culture. It is not perfect yet, but there is a big improvement. These changes have also equipped our employers with tools to cope with situations that pollute the workplace.”
Mental Health Nurse
Cowansville Institution, Quebec region

"For me, happiness at work is about evolving together in a healthy unit and positive work environment where you feel free to think and act without judgment or fear of negative comments. Given the onerous environment in which we operate, working in a unit lead by supervisors/managers who are sympathetic to their employees, concerned with their well-being and, above all, convey that they trust them plays a huge role in ensuring our happiness at work. I also realized how I could affect my own happiness at work by having a direct impact on my environment - simple gestures like being involved in my unit’s social committee, being concerned about the well-being of my work environment and my colleagues. Their positive response to organized activities brightens my day every day. In short, happiness comes from within and it is up to us to have the impact that we want to have on our surroundings. "
Catherine Tremblay
Parole officer, Liaison Officer Community Residential Facility Madeleine-Carmel
Quebec Region

“What makes me happy at work? Seeing people smile. Smiling is contagious!”
Marie-Chantale Parent
Primary Worker
Joliette Institution, Quebec Region

"What makes me happy at work is the fact that I only have a few shifts left to work to reach 30 years of service! I officially retire on April 25, 2018. That's what makes me happiest. I sincerely believe that I leave with the feeling of having done my duty. For more than 20 years, I held positions in intervention groups and intervened directly in 13 hostage-takings, most of them in Port-Cartier between 1988 and 1992. I think I did more than my part. I truly leave with peace of mind."
Bernard Desrosiers
Correctional Manager
Cowansville Institution, Quebec Region

“As a timekeeper here at Joyceville Institution, helping casual employees being paid makes me very happy as Phoenix is complicated for them. Always happy to come to work because I feel appreciated.”
Jacynthe Héroux
Assistant Warden Management Services Assistant
Joyceville Institution Medium Unit, Ontario Region

“This job makes me happy because of the helpful and positive team dynamic. Especially for someone who doesn’t have much experience, it’s a great learning environment. Everyone has each other’s back! I truly feel like I’m part of a team!”
Erica Principe
Junior communications officer
Communications and Engagement, National Headquarters

“When I see someone do a happy dance, happened like maybe 4 times in 5 years. When I hear people laugh. Also, when I see people do random acts of kindness for people in need.”
Charmaine Soosay
Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Director & Manager Operations
Pê Sâkâstêw Centre

“Having dialog with my director and feeling valued and heard.”
Larry Tyrrell
Manager, Production Allocation
CORCAN, Ontario Region

"I have 18 years of experience at CSC and have always worked in a maximum security institution. For the past seven months, I have been working in the community at Community Correctional Centre Marcel-Caron as a correctional program officer. I see more and more that my life has changed with my new position for several reasons: I have a great relationship with my manager and my colleagues. This relationship is based on respect and trust. This privileged relationship with my superiors allows me to be independent and to have an exceptional quality of life at work. I feel that this independence provides me with a sense of worth and self-esteem at work and in my life. This happiness in my work allows me to perform, to push myself to innovate and to get involved in several projects despite the challenges of my job."
Mohamed Ait Lahcen, LL.B, LL.L, M.Ed.
Correctional Program Officer
Québec East/West District, Quebec Region

“We just held a graduation ceremony for our offenders who completed their High School Diplomas or grade 12 Equivalency Diplomas. Seeing the pride in their faces makes me “happy at work” and reminds me of why we do what we do. Through perseverance and hard work (teachers & students), these gentlemen have taken a significant step towards positive change in their lives.”
Jo-Anne Baird
Correctional Educator
Drumheller Institution, Prairie Region

“Teamwork, collaboration, positive interpersonal relationships, productivity, creative thinking, innovation, achieving independent and team objectives.”
Meredy Mielke
A/ Deputy Warden
Drumheller Institution, Prairie Region

“When I make a difference in helping a peer through a rough spot (CISM/EAP). When I feel that what we do either as an Institutional Parole Officer or CISM/EAP has real value and that such is appreciated and recognized. When there is a situation in which there is a multi-disciplinary approach with like minded individuals towards a common goal that concludes successfully.”
John Bredin
A/Regional Critical incident stress management (CISM)/Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Manager
Regional CISM Trainer
Beaver Creek Medium Institution, Ontario Region

“What makes me happy? Well it is the people I work with especially one person. This person is at work everyday, he is the first to lend a hand, to say good morning. His office is always open if you need to talk. He is always smiling and is full of positive energy. He encourages myself and others to remain positive and to be more inclusive.”
Correctional Manager
Drumheller Institution, Prairie Region

“Experiencing happiness in the work place is something to appreciate and be thankful for. My happiness begins with my attitude but stays with me day in and day out because I am fortunate to have the two best bosses in the universe as well as an awesome office co-worker. I am HAPPY to spend every day in a positive, productive environment.”

Marsha Bredeson

Administrative Assistant to Assistant Warden Operations

Bowden Institution, Prairie Region


“Surrounding myself with a team that supports, listens, laughs and takes the time to breathe while working hard everyday, that’s what makes me happy!”

Michele Kowbel

Regional Chief of Administration & Information Management

Regional Headquarters, Prairie Region


“I feel happy when a Parolee I have assisted follows the 7 Grandfather Teachings, and chooses to turn their life around in a very positive direction; which leads them to a lifetime of Happiness for themselves and their precious family!”

Karen Schofield

Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer

Saskatoon Parole Office, Prairie region


“I am usually a happy person by nature, and I am so grateful to be living in this country called Canada, where we are free to celebrate our differences and similarities as one people. This make me So HAPPY.”

Philip Ignacio

Chief Facilities Maintenance

Edmonton Institution for Women, Prairie region

Date modified:



Happiness in CSC is to have been able to observed since 1988 our organisation progression and improvement in so many fields. Of course sometime disturbing and creating a challenge for adaptation and adjustment. Its having experienced in other Countries how we are respected, looked upon and taken as a role model. And overall, its working with a diverse group of colleagues on a daily basis and discovering what engagement and respect is all about. Be proud, Be aware of your surrounding and overall be safe !

I have been working in 8 different Institutions in 3 different Provinces. Lots of culture and ways to see life.

Guy Paul Poulin
Correctional Manager Atlantic Institution 23100
New Brunswick Region


Thank you Jo-Anne, for sharing your message about the graduation ceremony - this makes me happy!