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Update on Work Strikes in Canadian Federal Prisons

December 10, 2013

Prisoners have gone on work strikes at federal prisons in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. They are striking against the Offender Accountability Initiative, which includes, amongst other things, drastic pay cuts.

Prisoner Peter Collins wrote an injunction for the “Offender Accountability Initiative,” which was to have been sent out on September 26, 2013 from Bath Prison. The staff at Bath Prison said they did not have any Express Post envelopes, so it ended up not being sent out until October 2, 2013. However, Peter does not know if it really has left the prison. It should be noted that Peter’s mail (even his legal mail) has been “lost” numerous times over his incarceration and even as recently as this year.

Additionally, the vice chairman of the Inmate Committee, Tuffy Chiang, and peer counselor Mason Jenkins were both transferred out of Bath Prison to Collins Bay Prison. The prison administration at Bath Prison has accused the two men of intimidating prisoners to participate in the work strike. This is false. The two men went around the prison speaking to prisoners stating that if there are men inside who want to work, let them. They reiterated on numerous occasions that this work strike is to be a peaceful protest, which it is. They wrote up a notice to the staff, which was given to a CSC staff person, that CSC would be responsible for cleaning the tables in the dining room, not the prisoners. The staff member who received this notice got angry. It was shortly after this that the two men were shipped out to Collins Bay.

According to an article in the CBC dated October 3: “Inmates were off the job in Ontario at Bath, Collins Bay, Fenbrook and Warkworth Institutions. Today, inmates at the Atlantic Institution, Donnacona Institution in Quebec and at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert, also stayed away from work.” CFF (Centre federal de formation/FTC Federal Training Centre), a now multi-level prison, was the federal prison that was on strike in Laval, Quebec. This was confirmed by a volunteer in Quebec, but not mentioned in the CBC article.

Updates will come as soon as prisoners’ rights activists are made aware of them. What can you do?

Send out solidarity messages to Tuffy and Mason. How? Calls from Home, part of Kingston’s
CPR (Canadian Prison Radio), has a toll-free message line where you can leave a short message of solidarity for Tuffy and Mason and all the men in the region who are on work strike. The number is: 1-800.440.5219. To leave messages for the men at CFF/FTC in Laval, leave messages on CKUT’s listener comment line at: 514.448.4041 ext. 2547. We hope to find a way to send messages of solidarity to prisoners in the Saskatchewan and New Brunswick regions soon.

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