Monthly Archives: April 2009

Workplace Harassment. Ministry of Labour steps into the battle.

Ministry initiative to stem workplace violence a step in the right direction
OPSEU has welcomed the announcement by the Minister of Labour that
amendments will be made to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to help protect employees from workplace violence and harassment. “After years of lobbying and all-out campaigning by OPSEU and other unions, the changes announced by Minister of Labour Peter Fonseca are like a gust of fresh wind blowing through the workplaces of Ontario,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.
“We warmly welcome the government’s initiative on this critical health and safety issue and we can only hope that the changes will be locked into place with the required resources and enforcement muscle.” The proposed legislation to the OHSA would, if passed:
-Require employers to develop a framework that would include policies and programs to help prevent workplace violence and harassment
-Require employers to take reasonable precautions to protect an employee from domestic violence in the workplace
-Allow workers to remove themselves from harmful situations if they have reason to believe that they are at risk of imminent danger due to workplace violence
In his announcement, Fonseca also promised the government would appoint two Healthy Work Environment Champions whose task it will be to “build a culture of workplace safety in health care settings across the province.”Thomas said it is clear the government could no longer hold back on the changes in the face of years of campaigning by OPSEU and other unions, as well as the strong recommendations from the 2007 coroner’s jury following the tragic workplace murder of nurse Lori Dupont. “When I read the announcement it is clear the Ministry has been paying close attention to many of the arguments we have been raising over and over again for years. We are particularly pleased that the definition of workplace violence has been expanded to include harassment, as well as the spread of domestic violence into workplaces – issues that we have been fighting in support of for years.” Thomas also paid tribute to NDP leader Andrea Horwath whose private member’s Bill – tabled in 2007 – mirrors the Ministry’s proposed legislation. In October 2008, OPSEU, in response to a call for consultation by the Ministry, released a position paper on workplace violence. In it, OPSEU put forward several recommendations which appear to be addressed by today’s announcement.

Member on Member Harassment(What do you do?)

1-800-268-7376 Ext. 8789

1.Tell the member that the action is unwelcome and to stop.
2.Notify your Local President or Highest Ranking Officer of the incident (if not involved with the incident).
3.Write down name(s) of respondent(s); date, time, place of occurrence and a short synopsis of incident and any actions taken by yourself.
4.If behaviour/actions continue, move to step two.
1.Call OPSEU’s 1-800 Line. Leave a voice mail containing the following information:
i)Your name,date & time called, work location,local number and a short synopsis of incident(s),including name(s) of respondent(s).
ii)Leave a contact number where you can be reached, including any cell phone numbers.
2.A person from OPSEU’s Head Office will gather the information in the voice mail left and contact your Local President/Highest Ranking Officer (if not involved with the complaint), Regional Representative and the Equity Unit.
3.Someone will be in contact with you within 5 business days to discuss your complaint and resolution.
NOTE: To protect the interests of the Complainant and the Respondent, CONFIDENTIALITY will be maintained throughout the process, subject to the requirements of a fair investigation and resolution process, or as otherwise required by law.


Information by Ministry: Correctional Services

How the Program Started

Systemic Change work arises out of two key legal cases in which the Ministry of Community, Safety and Correctional Services was found to be in violation of our members legal rights. Systemic remedies were ordered to address sexism (GSB O’Brien decisions) and discrimination against Aboriginal and racialized people (OHRT McKinnon decisions) in the workplace. In order to implement, enforce and build on these systemic remedies, OPSEU has engaged with the Ministry in a joint committee; as of November 2005 the long standing Systemic Change committee was reworked to integrate anti-sexism and anti-racism initiatives in the Systemic and Anti-Racism Organizational Change (SAROC) Steering Committee.

SAROC Objectives

The main objectives of the Systemic and Anti-Racism Organizational Change (SAROC) Program are:

  • To remove barriers to equal opportunity for all Ministry Employees in hiring and promotion.

  • To support and encourage full participation of all employees in the workplace.

  • To reflect a more proportional representation of woman, racialized and Aboriginal Peoples in Correctional Officer and supervisory positions.

  • To implement a framework for resolution of accommodation issues with respect to Family Status.

  • To ensure accountability of both management and staff for a workplace free from discrimination and harassment.

  • To ensure WDHP complaints are effectively communicated with the senior administrators of both the Ministry and OPSEU.

  • To implement the recommendations of the updated Employment Systems Review (ESR) and the audit of the SAROC Program.

  • To implement a jointly developed Mediation Program, including internal selected Mediators.

  • To develop an ongoing process for review, evaluation, adjustment and communication for the SAROC Program.


As part of the ongoing process a Pilot Project has been initiated in nine facilities across the province. These pilot projects have been set up as a precursor to a full roll out of the SAROC initiatives in both facilities and probation and parole offices. The local SAROCs are providing valuable information on how to move forward with this important work and helping to streamline the process. OPSEU is always looking for constructive feedback on improving communications, education and critical review.

Update 2008 / 2009

OPSEU is committed to the SAROC Initiatives and will be providing updates on a regular basis.

Brian Dunham on the “Workload Analysis Tool”


by Brian Dunham There is a workload committee that is supposed to be looking into workload. I am on that committee, as are other dedicated union members. The workload analysis tool is ready to roll, has been for some time, but direction to go live with it does not come from the committee, but from management. I honestly believe the tool will make a huge difference in balancing workload within an office or cost centre, and will indicate provincially where the greatest pressures exist. There are logical implications from that, but you still need an employer willing to do the right thing and bring in additional resources (actual bodies!) to do the work. I do not believe this employer is ready to do this now. The result is that individual officers need to prioritize their work, and do what they are capable of within the time given. If some tasks do not get completed, perhaps standards need to be relaxed until workload and resources are more appropriately matched. If we work all-out, we will burn out. I am not willing to sacrifice my health and well-being for a ministry, or government, that has clearly demonstrated how little it actually values me and my work…

Ontario Corrections MERC has a home.

merc_logo2The new web site for the Adult & Youth Corrections MERC

Movement on the CTO (Compensating Time Off)

Letter From David Logan To OPSEU – CTO Issue

April 9, 2009

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Ontario Public Service Employees Union
100 Lesmill Road
North York, Ontario
M3B 3P8
Dear Smokey:
During the most recent round of collective bargaining with OPSEU Correctional Bargaining Unit, the Employer provided notice to discontinue the receipt of compensating leave in lieu of overtime pay under COR8.5. This notice was provided to both the Correctional Bargaining Unit Team and yourself in a letter dates February 28th, 2009, As you are aware, this issue has garnered significant attention and the OPSEU Correctional Bargaining Unit continues to express concerns regarding the notice that was provided.
In light of the concerns raised by the Correctional Bargaining Unit, I believe it would be prudent for us to meet to discuss the issue, and to invite representatives from ERD, MCSCS/MCYS and the Correctional Bargaining Unit to be present at this meeting.
Please contact Matt Siple at (416) 325-1534 or to arrange this meeting at your earliest convenience.
David Logan,
Assistant Deputy Minister, Employee Relations Division, HR Ontario, Ministry of Government Services.
Update: This meeting is taking place on April 15, 2009.
Tagged , ,

Sign of the Times

respectWhy is there a sudden interest in the time keeping of Probation Officers across the province? Managers are reviewing the door alarm activation times and cross checking it against compressed schedules. These are not isolate incidents, it appears that someone on Grosvenor has started to encourage our Managers to pay attention to when we arrive at and leave work .

I am not one to spread alarm but it wouldn’t hurt people to be a little more careful with their hours, at least until we know what their game is.

Healthcare Rally across the Province



Cross Province Protests to Stop the Cuts to Our Hospitals!

Communities facing major hospital cuts or closures of entire hospitals will be holding protests at the nearest McGuinty government MPP office.
Cuts mean lost capacity, longer waits, worse overcrowding, travelling further, higher infection rates, paying out-of-pocket.

Did you know?
Ontario’s hospitals receive $1.6 billion less funding than hospitals in other provinces.(souce: Ontario Hospital Association)
We have the shortest stays in hospital — patients are pushed out quicker than in other provinces. We have lower staffing levels and do more in outpatient procedures. Ontario’s hospitals are the most efficient and cost effective in Canada
(source: Canadian Institute for Health Information; HayGroup Report)
Our hospitals have been shrinking as a percentage of health care spending for more than 20 years.
(source: Ministry of Health Financial Statements)

McGuinty’s planned cuts are just too deep. They are risking the health of our communities and residents.
Threatened entire hospital or emergency department closures at: Wallaceburg, Hamilton, Petrolia, Port Colborne, Fort Erie, St. Joseph’s Island, Durham.
Significant cuts to needed services and programs and/or mass layoffs at: Quinte, Sarnia, Strathroy, Leamington, Hamilton, Kingston, Cornwall, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Ajax, Kenora Ottawa, Durham, Niagara, Mount Forest, Harriston, Kincardine, and others.
Join us to tell McGuinty to stop the hospital cuts
All events are on Saturday April 18


Rally at 11 am at:
MPP Jim Brownell’s office
20 Montreal Rd., Cornwall
for information contact: Diane at 613-936-0980

Residents from Picton and Belleville will be rallying at 12 o’clock noon:
MPP Leona Dombrowsky’s office
81 Millennium Parkway, Unit 3, Belleville
for information contact Barb at 613-476-4097

Rally at 11 am at:
MPP John Gerretsen’s office
303 Bagot Street at the LaSalle Mews
for information contact Ross at 613-374-5258


Kitchener will be joining Guelph to rally at 2 pm at:
MPP Liz Sandals’ office
173 Woolwich St., Guelph
for information contact Magee at 519-767-0084
for information on Kitchener contact Orville at 519-893-3974

Rally at 11 am (NOT 12 NOON)
MPP Sophia Aggelonitis’ office
952 Concession St.
for information contact Nancy at 905-385-1933

Residents from Fort Erie, Welland and Port Colborne are invited
to join St. Catharines residents to rally at 12 o’clock noon at:
MPP Jim Bradley’s office
2 Secord Drive, St. Catharines
for information contact Sue at 905-932-1646


Rally at 12 o’clock noon at:
MPP Rick Bartolucci’s office
100 Elm St., Sudbury
for information contact Anne Marie at 705-698-7655


Sarnia/Petrolia/Lambton County and Strathroy
Rally at 12 o’clock noon at:
MPP Maria Van Bommel’s office in Strathroy
71C Front St. West, Strathroy
Supporters in Sarnia and Petrolia will be travelling into Strathroy
Strathroy contact Kathryn at 519-245-9221 or from April 17 Joyce at 519-245-3633
Petrolia contact Helen at 519-882-0357
Sarnia contact Arlene at 519-542-1895

Rally at 12 o’clock noon at:
MPP Maria Van Bommel’s office in Wallaceburg
208 Margaret Ave., Wallaceburg
contact Shirley at 519-677-4474

Rally at 2:30 pm at:
MPP Pat Hoy’s office in Chatham
111 Heritage Rd., Chatham
contact Todd at 519-326-0752

If your community is not on this list and/or if you would like to help organize a protest at your nearest McGuinty government MPP’s office, please contact us at 416-441-2502 or email