Message from the
It is my pleasure
to welcome all Health Professional Division members of OPSEU to the
re-launch of our newsletter MedLine. Your executive has made a
commitment to resume regular publishing of the newsletter so that we are
able to keep everyone up-to-date on developments and issues which affect
all of us in the workplace. We encourage feed-back, so if you have story
ideas or wish to comment on anything you read in MedLine, please don’t
hesitate to contact our communications coordinator, Hervé Cavanagh, or
any other member of the HPD executive.
There have been
several changes on our executive committee following last November’s BPS
conference. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those members
who sat on the previous executive for their dedication and commitment on
behalf of the membership, as well as to those who sat on our negotiating
team during the previous round of bargaining in 2008-09. It’s always
worth remembering that participation on OPSEU and HPD committees is a
volunteer commitment and one that demands an incredible amount of time
and energy. It is because of the efforts of these dedicated individuals
that our Division remains one of OPSEU’s strongest and one that is
dedicated to improving our workplace conditions.
After meeting in
late January, and again on April 15-16, it is clear we have plenty of
work cut-out for ourselves in the forthcoming year. As many of you know
we are heading into another round of bargaining and that means getting
our demands and priorities clear. We have already started to receive
results from our demand-setting survey, and we will review those
findings at our pre-bargaining conference in Toronto on May 5. Over the
course of the summer and early autumn we will engage in local demand
setting and I encourage everyone to participate in this process. Our
final demand setting meeting is scheduled for Nov. 19-20 at which time
we will also elect a bargaining team to take us into the next round of
negotiations in early 2011.
Regular issues of
MedLine will be published in the months ahead to keep you informed about
news and developments in our health professional division. In the
meantime I thank everyone for your ongoing support.
Health Professional Division
Regulation of Pharmacy Technicians
As of Jan. 1 2010,
pharmacy technicians will be regulated by the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP).
The registration regulation requires that all pharmacy technicians who are
currently in the profession and who are required to pursue OCP registration by
their hospitals must complete the approved Bridging Education Program. To be
eligible for the Bridging Education Program the pharmacy technicians must have
first completed the OCP certification exam of the Pharmacy Examining Board of
Canada (PEBC) evaluation exam.
Our members in this
profession have until Jan. 1, 2015, to complete the Bridging Education Program,
which consists of the successful completion of four courses and an exam.
However, there is a mechanism called the Prior Learning Assessment available to
individuals who wish to demonstrate they already have the knowledge and skills
that will be taught and evaluated in three of the four courses.
Information about the
regulation of pharmacy technicians can be found on the College website at:
What this means is that
our members have a few years yet to meet this process. However, we are concerned
that many technicians may not have sufficient access to the limited resources
available. Some hospitals have been proactive and have helped pay for the
certification costs, such as the course fees and examine fees,while others have
taken no action on the issue yet.
Another concern of ours is
that we don't know what hospitals are prepared to do with those who have been
unable to achieve the certification in the prescribed time period. HPD is
hoping to meet with the OHA and attempt to clarify these issues.
Health and Safety
From the health and safety
file, Brendan Kilcline reported at our January meeting that the OHA and joint
health and safety committee continues to move forward with the workplace
violence assessments done in conjunction with the Ontario Safety Association for
Community and Healthcare (OSACH). We hope this will be completed by June and
have the recommendations instituted in most hospitals.
Slips, trips and falls
represent a large proportion of missed days of work. This may suggest that the
infrastructures in and around our hospitals need repairs or modifications. It’s
another cost feature that hospitals need to address. Unfortunately, the failure
of successive provincial governments to adequately fund our hospitals over the
years might explain why these overdue safety measures have not been getting the
attention they sorely deserve.
The ergonomics in our
laboratories are also finally being reassessed. New equipment coming into
hospitals are installed by outside companies which, too often, seem more
interested in plumbing and electricity needs than in the ergonomic needs of our
The Review of Hazardous
Chemicals committee continues to make recommendations on exposure limits. The
presence of chemicals in our working places is high and needs to be reduced.
While we push to have some reductions on formaldehyde levels, the hospitals and
the pulp and paper industry which use this toxic chemical are lobbying to leave
this unchanged. Many of us handle harmful products on a daily basis and getting
this risk to a lower level can only improve the health and safety of all.
Finally, the Ministry of
Health is looking at the guidelines concerning H1N1. This strain may very well
become a form of the seasonal flu and last autumn we saw the devastating effects
of this particular illness. The concern was raised that some hospital assessment
centers were operated by security staff and volunteers, who have no medical
knowledge and who do not report directly to the hospital. This raises the
question: ‘Is Ontario prepared for the next pandemic?’
The economy is changing –
not always for the better – and that means our pensions will also face some
OPSEU vice president and
treasurer, Patty Rout, updated the HPD executive on the current pension climate,
the importance of trustee representation on the Hospitals of Ontario Pension
Plan and encouraged our involvement.
More and more retirees are
returning to the workforce in a casual or part-time capacity. We see these
practices as being another way for the hospitals to erode our bargaining units
by avoiding responsibility for creating much-needed full-time jobs while at the
same time allowing them to ignore the looming shortages in many of our
We encourage everyone to
visit the OPSEU website to learn more about pensions.
these 2010 dates!
5................Pre-bargaining conference in Toronto
convention in Toronto
October 1.........Deadline to send local demands to
November 19-20 Province-wide demand set meeting
in! Diablogue is here!
As most of you know by
now, OPSEU has introduced a new communication for health care workers and others
who believe in the public delivery of health and medical services
‘Diablogue’ has now
replaced the former hard copy and online newsletter, ‘Dialogue.’ This change
comes with some improved advantages.
First, OPSEU will be able
to count how many visits are made to this site which, previously, was very
difficult to calculate with Dialogue.
Second, Diablogue is more
timely. Information can be released as it becomes known, rather than wait to
collect enough stories before publishing a traditional newsletter. This
eliminates scheduled releases or other deadline pressures.
Finally, Diablogue is
interactive. Share your thoughts and comments whenever you like. Try it!
Diablogue is quick to read, informative and easy to access. Subscribe today!
Our best weapon is knowledge!
L348 – Lakeridge Health Corp.
L106 – London Health Sciences Centre
L662 – North Bay General Hospital
L566 – Toronto East General
Education & Communications
L466 – Perth & Smith Falls District Hospital
Health & Safety
L444 – Kingston General Hospital
L464 – Ottawa Hospital
L715 – Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences
Chair – Central Negotiating Team/1st
L656 – Hôpital Régional de Sudbury Regional
Authorized for distribution by
Warren (Smokey) Thomas