The province is adding 96 new correctional officers to institutions across the province, including Penetanguishene’s Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC).
“We’ll be getting four of these graduates,” Richard Dionne, president of CNCC OPSEU local 369, told MidlandToday.
“Unfortunately, it doesn't change our full-time staffing complement. These four will help but (are) a far cry to resolve our staffing issues.”
Dionne said he couldn’t disclose specifically current staffing levels or inmate totals at the Fuller Avenue institution.
However, in June, when the jail received five new correctional officers falling under the ‘casual staff’ terminology, Dionne noted it employed 252 full-time officers, and about 90 fixed-term officers.
The jail has an operational capacity of 836 beds.
The new recruits announced Friday have successfully completed the Corrections Foundational Training program, which took place virtually and in-person over eight weeks.
According to the province, recruits were trained in a number of areas to ensure they have the tools needed to do their jobs safely and effectively, including enhanced communication skills, de-escalation skills, anti-Black racism and Indigenous cultural training and inmate management techniques.
All totalled, correctional officer graduates will be assigned to 15 different institutions across Ontario near their home regions.
Besides the 19 graduates heading to the province’s Western Region, which includes CNCC, 15 will support the Eastern Region, eight will head to the Northern Region, 34 will work in the Toronto Region and 20 will support the Central Region.
“Correctional officers are critical partners in Ontario’s justice system,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in a release.
“The comprehensive training these professionals have received will ensure communities across the province are supported and protected. I would like to commend the graduates for their hard work and commitment to public service.”
Earlier this year, CNCC received two ion scanners as part of a provincial effort to combat contraband entering facilities, enhance security and improve staff and inmate safety.
The province said it has invested more than $500 million over five years to transform adult correctional services and improve public safety.
“To support this commitment, the province provided recent graduates with compensation while undergoing training to help remove barriers to employment,” the release noted.