Monthly Archives: February 2011

Walk the Talk on Mental Health ::::::::::Postcard Campaign

Walk the Talk on Mental Health – Postcard Campaign

Fill out your postcard and return it to your nearest OPSEU regional office by March 3. 

This week postcards are being distributed to OPSEU’s regional offices. The postcards ask Dalton McGuinty to “walk the talk” on mental health.

The Ontario government has spent the last two-and-a-half years developing their 10-year strategy for improving mental health. This has been against a backdrop of fiscal restraint that has resulted in cuts to front line jobs caring for Ontarians with mental illness.

Instead of making every door the right door, front line workers are telling us that the doors are simply closing. Their ability to provide real care, comfort and assistance to adults, youth and children with mental illness has been seriously jeopardized.

The postcard contrasts the $2.4 billion the government is spending on corporate tax cuts with the shortages faced by Ontarians with mental illness. It asks the premier to “walk your talk and keep your promise to Ontarians with mental illness.”

OPSEU Locals are being asked to pick up the cards they need from their regional office and return them to these offices by March 3rd. The postcards will then be sent to Toronto for a press conference and presentation on March 8th.

Ontario spends far less on mental health than most comparable international jurisdictions.

Recently layoffs have taken place at Toronto’s Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, and Regional Mental Health Centre – London and St. Thomas. Services have also been transferred out of North Bay and Brockville. The Salvation Army recently announced it was closing down its transition program in the west end of Toronto, although the decision has been placed on hold until the SA can appear before the Local Health Integration Network.

A recent Toronto Star story highlighted how CAMH’s schizophrenic unit was transferring to a building with a long history of criminal activity. One CAMH client described the building as infested with bed bugs.

Health Minister Deb Matthews has committed to releasing the final 10-year plan for mental health this spring.

Join the Campaign

OPSEU has launched a campaign talking about corporate tax cuts and we need your help.

Back in the fall, you participated in the union’s Stop the Wage Freeze/Invest in Ontario campaign. You calculated how much Dalton McGuinty’s wage freeze will cost you and e-mailed the percentage loss to your MPP. You said that taking money from your pocket and donating it to wealthy corporations in the form of tax cuts won’t help create jobs or pay down the deficit. You told the government to invest in the public services and infrastructure projects that make Ontario stronger.

Our new campaign People for Corporate Tax Cuts uses humour to make the point that Ontario can’t afford corporate tax cuts. We’ve made quite a splash with our website, Facebook page, online ads and advertising in nine targeted ridings across Ontario.

Please help us get the word out to OPSEU members, their friends and families. We need them to:

Visit the website Download the posters. Enter the contest to win $500.  Share the videos.

“Like” our Facebook page, share it with their Facebook friends, join the discussions and stay up-to-date with what’s going on.
Follow our Twitter feed and Tweet about the campaign.

If you can, please print the attached posters and display them on your union bulletin boards. Alternatively, we can send you printed copies. Let us know how many you want and where to send them.

Our campaign has been widely reported on TV and radio news and discussed on current event shows. It’s been in newspapers around the province and praised on hundreds of blogs.

We’ve helped build and shape the debate about corporate tax cuts. We need to keep the momentum going.

12th Annual International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Day

28 February 2011

This year workers are going to Queen’s Park to ask the government of Ontario a very important question, “What is the government doing to reduce the Number 1 injury in Ontario?”

The fact that workers are working and living in pain every day in Ontario is outrageous considering that these injuries are 100 per cent preventable. Workers all over this province experience tingling, numbness, heaviness, coldness, aches and pains from work that interfere with not only their ability to earn a living, but also impair their personal life. Left untreated, RSIs can lead to permanent crippling disability.  Ontario’s prevention and compensation system must address musculo-skeletal (MSD) injuries –the main cause of lost-time claims in Ontario.

Do you know:

  • That sufferers of RSI are the biggest users of OHIP in Ontario?  This represents a massive transfer of financial responsibility from employers to the public health care system.  And this contradicts Meredith’s vision of a compensation system paid for by employers that provides fair and just compensation for workers injured at work.
  • That even though the stats may show lower lost time claims, injury claim rates have not decreased! Workers are working in pain participating in Return-to-Work programs (RTW) and accommodated work.
  • That many people suffering from these injuries are unable to return to work, have lost their jobs and are now suffering in poverty?
  • That technology means that the work-day now never ends. RSI rates will continue to rise caused by increased use of smart phones, tablets, laptops, and other mobile technologies
  • That research in the US has shown that for every dollar invested in an ergonomics intervention strategy (e.g. RSI prevention), in an office environment, there is a return of $17.80. (Source: Buckle 1999)