Union, public safety minister push for action at ‘toxic’ Edmonton prison – Edmonton

Canada’s public safety minister has ordered the federal corrections service to prepare a report on what it’s doing to prevent harassment by and of employees — a move that comes as one union is lambasting the response to high-profile harassment issues at Edmonton’s maximum-security prison.

In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for Ralph Goodale said that his office wrote directly to the commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to make the request.

“Minister Goodale asked Commissioner [Don] Head to prepare a report on the actions CSC has taken to date to ensure its workplace is free from harassment and sexual violence, its plans moving forward and what challenges it faces in driving progress,” Scott Bardsley wrote.

It comes after CBC News uncovered explosive allegations that lengthy and sexually explicit conversations on work phones were allegedly the reason why prison guards at the Edmonton Institution missed several calls for help from inmates.

More recently, CBC News obtained a scathing report outlining a dysfunctional workplace culture within the facility. The report — prepared by independent consulting firm TLS Enterprises — described toxicity and harassment so rampant that they compared to the 1950s sci-fi movie The Blob.

The report also identifies, but does not name, five or six correctional officers who appear to have seized control of the Edmonton Institution, and abuse their power to stay on top.

‘There is a lot of fear’

The report made 40 recommendations for change, including training new employees at a different institution for their first six weeks, and designating a “respected person” at the prison to whom workers could take harassment complaints.

CSC says it supports the recommendations and has struck a committee to put them into action. But the union representing more than 100 facility employees is crying foul.

“Having management try to fix a problem that they have ignored for decades is not the solution,”…

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