Disabled adults, inmates help craft millions of poppies for Remembrance Day
Royal Canadian Legion has sold 19 million poppies so far this year
Disabled adults in Ottawa and prison inmates in the Prairies assembled more than four million of the poppy pins Canadians are buying in record numbers this year as Remembrance Day approaches.
In Ottawa, a committed workforce at a non-profit organization for adults with disabilities spent much of the past eight months assembling two million of the red flowers, black centres and pins that go into a Remembrance Day poppy.
The non-profit group, called Y's Owl Maclure Co-operative Centre, secured the contract for poppy assembly in March and started assembling them then.
They'll start up again on next year's crop of poppies at the end of this month.
2.4M poppies assembled by inmates
Another 2.4 million poppies were assembled by inmates at 10 federal prisons in the Prairies.
CORCAN, a rehabilitation program that does skills training, had an agreement to set up poppy assembly shops in 10 federal prisons in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Asked about potential security concerns, Correctional Service of Canada spokeswoman Sara Parkes said the inmates are carefully screened for suitability and are under supervision while assembling the poppies.
"Gaining employment skills while incarcerated provides an offender with a marketable skill set upon release, increasing opportunities to support a safe re-integration into communities," Parkes said.
"Employment training helps offenders learn the skills they need to enter the labour market. These include communication skills, teamwork skills, personal skills — dependability, time management, organizational — as well as the technical skills that come with certified and on-the-job training."
Prisoners will soon begin working on poppies for the 2015 campaign.