TORONTO - The Ontario Public Service Employees
Union (OPSEU) is asking for a review of legal representation for
correctional officers being investigated by the Correctional
Investigation and Security Unit (CISU).
Under the current legislation, Correctional
Officers who are involved in violent and threatening situations
which have resulted in bodily injury are compelled to make a
statement to CISU investigators without the right to legal counsel.
This is a right that every person in Ontario, including police
officers, is afforded.
“Anyone who has faced such an ordeal needs
assistance and is entitled to support,” says Dan Sidsworth,
Provincial Chair of OPSEU’s Corrections Division. “Correctional
officers protect the public and keep the peace inside the province’s
prisons, which can inherently be dangerous workplaces. That said,
situations where someone is hurt or dies do not happen often. But
when they do, it is traumatic for all involved, including
Sidsworth says that his members acknowledge and
respect the role of the CISU, but must be allowed the same legal
rights as every other person in Ontario.
“The CISU must have all the resources necessary
to execute an effective and timely investigation, but must not be
allowed to do so by stripping away basic legal rights,” says
Sidsworth. “Our members must have the right to legal representation,
and that support is particularly crucial for them during
extraordinary and traumatic circumstances.”