Monthly Archives: May 2010

Community Corrections update June 2010

PPO3 Grievance: In 2009 Vice-Chair Herlich agreed with our position on the PPO3 issue and ordered the employer to negotiate settlement with the union. The employer instead asked for a judicial review of the decision. The hearing was held on April 23rd, 2010. The arguments are being weighed and we will report on the outcome as soon as we receive word.

Ministry File Review Committee (Grievance pilot project) Appendix 41 in our collective agreement provided for the development of a pilot project creating six Ministry File Review Committees (MFRCs). These committees have the purpose of reviewing grievances that have been referred to the GSB. The committee is comprised of three union and three management representatives who attempt to find effective and expeditious resolutions at the Ministry level. For lack of better explanation, the MFRC can be considered a “Stage 2.5” in the grievance procedure. The committee has been meeting since January and progress has been rather slow as the parties work out the process. We are hopeful that better results will start to percolate from this committee in the near future.

Accommodations in P&P: People with injury, illness or disabilities have been experiencing difficulties trying to get an appropriate accommodation from the employer. Those with accommodations find issues where their accommodations are being challenged by the employer. A working group has commenced with the objective to review accommodation practices in Community Corrections and develop some guidelines on how the employer can best meet their duty to accommodate employees in P&P offices.

Staffing, Hiring & Lateral Transfers: The economic climate has lead to drastic measures by the employer especially in the area of staffing. MGS has ordered a zero per cent increase in FTEs for all Ministries. That has repercussions in our offices when short term unexpected leaves or recurring short term leaves happen. The employer has been reluctant to backfill any of these leaves. To approve the backfill for leaves, a compelling business case must be submitted by your area managers. That includes detailing all of the circumstances of the office, IE how many staff are new and require training (these leaves create office pressures), how many are on accommodation, are there higher than average PSR demands, what demands create pressures and what impact failing to replace staff will cause. In the cases where backfill has been denied, the AMs have likely done poor business cases that basically just stated the details of the leave and the request for staff. When you are aware of a potential leave or backfill situation, stewards or staff should be approaching the area manager to discuss the office dynamics that should be included in the business case. The issue of developing a fair and equitable practice around the use of lateral transfers continues to be at the MERC table. The employer is having difficulty agreeing to this because it will limit the managers’ ability to control who they get in their office. It is clearly a discriminatory practice that erodes fair opportunities for many employees.

Workload: The Workload Subcommittee is still piloting the Workload Analysis Tool (WAT) in eight offices across the province. We have received useful feedback. A common concern was the accuracy of weighting for intensive supervision cases as well as domestic and sexual offences cases. The committee will be encouraging participation in an upcoming time study for these special cases so that we can verify weightings and have a more accurate tool for the provincial rollout. The Best Practices Document for Workload Distribution has been out for almost two years. Workload should be a standing item at all staff meetings and it should be discussed in a fulsome manner. That includes the sharing of workload statistics and any other information that would impact workload in a given office. Any workload issues that cannot be resolved at a local level should be referred to your Regional ERC teams for discussion at the regional level. If they continue to be unresolved they can then be referred to the MERC table as per the collective agreement. Workload concerns continue to be a high level problem in our offices. The ever-increasing demands on officers and support staff are never complemented with additional staff. There are ongoing changes to policy and practices that threaten to further increase the duties and responsibilities of our positions. In the absence of additional resources, the employer must revisit our policies and procedures to find efficiencies that will allow staff to reasonably manage workload.

Duty Assignments & Specialized Roles: The Best Practices document for rotation of duty assignments and specialized roles was released to the field in August of 2009. By this time every office should have tabled this issue at their staff meetings and started the process of equitable assignment of these opportunities


ASMPP The employer committed to rewrite their policies subsequent to the issuance of Vice-Chair Keller’s Award that was handed down on February 5, 2010. What we have seen is a softening of their position, however they have not gone far enough and we will be returning in front of Vice-Chair Keller in the near future for firm direction from the Board. Specifically, the employer continues to waffle on clear direction to the field to not include absences that stem from a bona fide disability under the Ontario Human Rights Code. That would also include WSIB absences. We have already moved the employer back a fair distance and we remain confident that at the end of the day, our position will prevail.


JASIC (Joint Attendance Strategy and Implementation Committee) The list below is the number of members who are at the various attendance levels as reported recently to the JASIC Committee. Many of the members who are included in these figures have NOT been reviewed by the Attendance Support Management Office (ASMO). In many instances, once ASMO reviews a case that member is moved down one or two levels.

Institutions

Level 1           1,286

Level 2           214

Level 3           30

Level 4           11

Community

Level 1           110

Level 2           6

Level 3           0

Level 4           0

The committee continues to press that management and union look at positive ways to address issues that create high sick time in our division.

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Bill 168 …….Soon to be in a workplace near you.

WWW.OPSEU.ORG has a guide to Bill 168 regarding Workplace violance and harassment.

The entire article can be found here but we’ve include the first part of the article here – which may be of the most interest to our members at Local 302

Overview of Bill 168

Workplace violence and workplace harassment are now recognized in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA or the Act). Download .pdf or read on-line.

The amendments become law June 15, 2010.

New Definitions in Occupational Health and Safety Act

workplace harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; workplace violence  means,

(a)        the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker,

(b)       an attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker,

(c)       a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.

Employer Obligations

Employers must

Prepare policies to address workplace violence and workplace harassment
Perform an assessment of the risks of workplace violence to workers and provide the results of the assessment to the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) or Health and Safety representative
Develop and maintain a workplace violence program
Provide information and instruction to workers on the content of the workplace violence and the workplace harassment policies and programs
Both policies must be reviewed at least annually. The employer is required to reassess the risks of violence “as often as is necessary” to ensure the policy and program continue to protect workers.

The workplace violence program must contain:

Measures and procedures to control risks identified in the risk assessment
Measures and procedures for summoning assistance when workplace violence occurs or is likely to occur
Measures and procedures for reporting workplace violence
Set out how the employer will investigate and deal with incidents or complaints of workplace violence
The workplace harassment program must contain:

Measures and procedures for workers to report incidents of workplace harassment
Set out how the employer will investigate and deal with incidents and complaints
Domestic violence

The new legislation requires employers to put measures in place to protect a worker from domestic violence that may enter the workplace. If an employer becomes aware of the threat of domestic violence, he/she will be expected to develop a safety plan to protect the worker(s) at risk. The safety plan might include things such as increased security measures, alternate work arrangements and/or an emergency communications plan.

Following is the new section of the Act:

s.32.0.4 If an employer becomes aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, that domestic violence that would likely expose a worker to physical injury may occur in the workplace, the employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.

Provision of information

The amendments identify the employer’s obligation to warn workers about the threat of violence from individuals (”violence from a person”). This includes violence from any person that the worker can be expected to encounter in the course of their work – patients, doctors, families, clients, customers, residents, inmates, and other workers – if there is a risk that the worker will be exposed to physical injury.  Employers and supervisors must also not disclose more information than is reasonably necessary for the protection of a worker from physical injury.

This implies some sort of flagging system so that all workers who need to know about the hazard learn about it in advance. Note that duties under OHSA trump those of other legislation (See OHSA s.2(2): “Despite anything in any general or special Act, the provisions of this Act and the regulations prevail.”). The employer cannot refuse to communicate information about the hazard of violence by hiding behind privacy legislation.

Following is the new section of the Act:

s.32.0.5(3) An employer’s duty to provide information to a worker under clause 25(2)(a) and a supervisor’s duty to advise a worker under clause 27(2)(a) include the duty to provide information, including personal information, related to a risk of workplace violence from a person with a history of violent behaviour if,

(a)   the worker can be expected to encounter that person in the course of his or her work; and

(b)   the risk of workplace violence is likely to expose the worker to physical injury.

s.32.0.5(4) No employer or supervisor shall disclose more personal information in the circumstances described in subsection (3) than is reasonably necessary to protect the worker from physical injury.

Work refusals

Workers now clearly have the right to refuse work if they have reason to believe workplace violence is likely to endanger them. The limited right to refuse for certain workers described in OHSA s.43(2), continues. There is no right to refuse because of harassment, unless you believe the harassment is likely to become physical violence.

What Bill 168 Does Not Do

It does not indicate how Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspectors might respond to dangerous situations such as working alone in workplaces such as a group home or a liquor store, travelling late at night, or travelling alone to isolated areas, how risk assessments are to be performed or whether MOL inspectors will review risk assessments for quality.
It does not specifically address staffing levels or staff qualifications which may be a source of danger.
Only employers covered by the Regulation for Health Care and Residential Facilities are specifically obliged to consult with JHSCs or Health and Safety reps while developing policies, procedures and measures and while developing health and safety training under the amendments. While consultation is not specifically required in other regulations (such as the Regulation for Industrial Establishments), JHSCs and Health and Safety representatives should insist that employers consult with them throughout the process of developing the workplace violence program.
It does not describe how training on the policies and programs is to be done; nor does it indicate how frequently it should be offered or reassessed.
MOL inspectors will not be able to take much action around workplace harassment, other than to review whether an employer has developed a policy, a procedure for workers to report incidents of harassment, and a procedure for employers to investigate and deal with reports. Although inspectors will not investigate specific complaints of harassment, they can write orders if employers have not complied with the legislation. Workers can utilize their JHSCs, health and safety representatives, local union representatives, and local union processes such as labour management committees and grievances to ensure that workplace harassment protection meets legal requirements and adequately protects workers.