Hospital Professionals Division


The Hospital  Professionals Division Newsletter

April 2010

Message from the Chair

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.

Sara Labelle
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 members.   


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 changes.

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 professions. 

We encourage everyone to visit the OPSEU website to learn more about pensions.

Mark these 2010 dates!

May 5................Pre-bargaining conference in Toronto

May 6-8............OPSEU convention in Toronto

October 1.........Deadline to send local demands to central

November 19-20  Province-wide demand set meeting Toronto

Sign 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! 

Visit Diablogue at:


Sara Labelle


L348 – Lakeridge Health Corp.

Sandi Blancher




L106 – London Health Sciences Centre

Peggy Burke


L662 – North Bay General Hospital

Pat McNamara


L566 – Toronto East General

Hervé Cavanagh

Education & Communications

L466 – Perth & Smith Falls District Hospital

Brendan Kilcline

Health & Safety

L444 – Kingston General Hospital

Susan Head

Job Security

L464 – Ottawa Hospital

Robert Sellner

Public Policy

L715 – Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Yves Shank

Chair – Central Negotiating Team/1st Alternate

L656 – Hôpital Régional de Sudbury Regional Hospital Corporation

Authorized for distribution by
Warren (Smokey) Thomas

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Safe Sharps Campaign

HCDC End Workplace Violence Campaign

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