Six members of the Northwest Territories’ corrections service have received medals recognizing decades of work in the field.
Three Yellowknife-based members of staff and three in Hay River were recognized by the Governor General of Canada earlier this year, and were given their medals by NWT Commissioner Margaret Thom this week.
Exemplary service medals are given to corrections staff nominated for their “distinguished service.”
To be eligible, they must have a minimum of 10 years’ service dealing directly with inmates and at least 20 years’ service in corrections as a whole.
Yellowknife recipients are Blair VanMetre, Greg Paul, and Darrel Ouellette.
Hay River recipients are David Sanguez, Kenneth Bradley Boyer, and Robert W Haley, whose medal – awarded to Haley in 2017 – is now adorned with a bar recognizing an additional decade of service, according to the Governor General’s website.
Exemplary service medals can be earned by police, fire, coast guard, emergency medical, and peace officers alongside corrections officials.
The corrections medal, hanging from a gold and green ribbon, depicts a maple leaf with a crossed torch and key at its centre.
In a news release, the NWT government called the medals a “tangible expression of national gratitude” for the recipients’ work.
“Today’s corrections professionals are involved with inmates from the moment they enter a corrections facility or receive their probation orders,” said Louis Sebert, the NWT’s justice minister, in a statement.
“They are in the optimal position to directly influence and positively support offenders as they prepare to rejoin our communities.
“Each of these medal winners has demonstrated leadership and dedication. We have good reason to be proud of the professional staff in our corrections service.”
News of medals for staff will come as a welcome change for a service recently in the headlines following the departure of employees.
In February, two staff at Yellowknife’s North Slave Correctional Complex were reported to have left their positions following a Department of Justice investigation into an inmate’s allegations of sexual assault at the jail.
The employees involved were not identified by the department.