Issue #2 Winter 2010
HPD meets to set contract demands
More than 100 delegates and observers from participating and
non-participating units attended our demand setting meeting in Toronto on Nov.
19-20. The purpose of the meeting was to put into place a set of contract
demands in advance of contract negotiations that will get underway in early
2011. Through extensive debate and discussion, it was clear that our members
are in no mood to accept a two-year wage freeze, especially at a time when the
McGuinty government is handing out corporate tax cuts to the tune of $2.4
HPD 2011 Bargaining Team Members
Sandi Blancher – Chair –
Sara Labelle – Local 348
Yves Shank – Local 659
Betty Palmieri – Local 206
Hervé Cavanagh – Local 466
John Francis – Local 346
Arnold Kwok – Local 575
Rob Field – Senior Negotiator
Michelle Dawson-Haber – Senior Researcher
OPSEU members at Windsor Regional Hospital were
awarded wage increases and other improvements in an arbitration decision Oct.
Workers at the hospital will receive a 2.5 to 3.5
per cent increase. In addition, the award sided with the union on meal vouchers,
vacation, prescription fees, vision care, shift premiums, standby and call-in
The hospital argued that the arbitration panel
should not award any increases due to the Public Sector Compensation Restraint
to Protect Public Services Act.
The arbitration panel rejected the hospital’s
argument. The ruling stated that other arbitrators had already made awards for
wage increases since the introduction of the wage restraint legislation. In the
recent SEIU Sunnybrook decision, the arbitration board took the position that
there was no legal basis for the kind of arguments Windsor Regional Hospital was
In November, at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern
Ontario in Ottawa, an arbitrator ignored the province’s wage and benefit
constraint guidelines and awarded OPSEU members 2.5 per cent wage increases per
year, and there were no cuts to their benefits. The arbitrator used the same
reasoning as was used in the Windsor decision, stating that the government’s
decree on wage and benefit constraints was not legally binding.
Bill 179 – Regulated Health Professions Law Statute Amendment
Bill 179 amends 26 health related statutes
including the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA). This bill received
Royal Assent on December 15, 2009. Although the bill has passed, the legislative
changes and related regulations will happen over the next two years, with full
implementation expected in 2012.
There are a number of aspects to this Bill that are
of interest to regulated health professionals. There are expanded scopes of
practice for pharmacists, physiotherapists, dietitians, and medical radiation
The largest issue for our members seems to revolve
around the clauses that relate to personal professional liability insurance (PLI)
for all active members of any regulated health profession.
The changes require that members of a college
cannot practice their profession unless they hold personal professional
liability insurance or belong to an association which provides personal
protection against professional liability. Failure to comply can result in the
College finding that the member has committed an act of professional misconduct.
The language allows colleges to specify the amount
of PLI they require in their regulations or by-laws. Most seem to be at a
minimum of $1,000,000 per incident. It seems that none of the colleges offer
this insurance and that the best way to obtain this currently is through our
Once the legislation is implemented, the colleges
will require proof of insurance. The colleges do not all agree on the
interpretation of the requirements for PLI as stated in the Act. It is
recommended that you follow the direction of your respective college in order to
Ontario first to recognize pharmacy technicians as regulated
Pharmacy technicians officially became recognized
as a new class of registrant with the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP) when
its new Registration Regulation (Ontario Regulation 451/10), made under the
Pharmacy Act, was proclaimed on Dec 3.
The College began the process of regulating pharmacy technicians in 1998. The
goal of the registration is to enable the registered technicians to take
responsibility for certain dispensing activities within the pharmacy, thus
allowing the pharmacists to expand their services and scope of practice.
According to the OCP, they collaborated with stakeholder organizations to
develop appropriate bridging education, accreditation of educational programs
for technicians and a national licensing examination.
The OCP expects to begin registering pharmacy technicians beginning the week of
Dec. 6. In accordance with the new regulation, only those individuals registered
as pharmacy technicians with the OCP will be permitted to use the title of
"Pharmacy Technician" in Ontario.
What does this mean for OPSEU members?
Individual hospitals across the province have been making the decision to
register all their pharmacy technicians or introduce a two-tier system. For
those hospitals that have chosen to only employ registered pharmacy technicians
this means the employer has been issuing notice to OPSEU members that they must
be registered with the OCP by Jan 1, 2015 or they shall be terminated. In order
to register with the College pharmacy technicians must complete four bridging
courses, write a jurisprudence exam and write the Pharmacy Examing Board of
Canada (PEBC) examination.
Non-certified pharmacy technicians are also
required to complete an evaluation exam, administered by the PEBC prior to Jan
1, 2012 in order to be eligible to take the bridging courses.
The bridging courses consist of four continuing
education courses (about 150 hours total). Prior learning assessments and
recognition challenge examinations are available for three of the 4 courses.
Once the key requirements, described above, have
been met, individuals will be ready to complete their application for
This year’s provincial Speech
from the Throne announced a plan to introduce competitive bidding for hospitals.
Regrettably, this will cause increased insecurity for staff as the hospitals
compete for patients, services and procedures.
A similar system was introduced
in the UK and led to an increase in hospital bankruptcies as well as increased
privatization of services. It has been described as a”lose-lose” situation, by
the National Health Services in the UK because competition triggers increased
costs and has not demonstrated an increase in efficiencies. Under this system
the scope of service to individual hospitals shrink. It has been described as
the opposite of patient centered care.
Also of concern in Ontario is
the potential for review/reform of the Public Hospital Act. The OHA welcomes
this as a chance to “tap into the expertise of our community partners”. This
could lead to a transfer of hospital-based services into communities. The
McGuinty government has said that the “money will follow the patient,” a system
that we have been promised but have not witnessed yet.
Small and rural hospitals are
particularly at risk as plans are also considered for the Health Based
Allocation Model of funding, which would see more funds go to hospitals in
regions with a large and/or aging population.
Prior to the release of these
plans layoffs were announced across the province, with DI, Lab, Mental Health,
Cardiac Care and outpatient Rehab being the areas targeted.
This year OPSEU’s Hospital Professional Division
awarded two scholarships. One was awarded to a student studying medical
laboratory sciences, and the second was handed out to a student studying
radiology technology. Congratulations to the winners and to all who applied!
E-mail for all OPSEU members in HPD
To improve our communication with members we need
more email addresses!
That was the message delivered by OPSEU president
Smokey Thomas at an educational weekend earlier this year in Kingston.
President Thomas expressed the importance of being
able to communicate with the members through secure e-mail addresses – and not
work-based email addresses. As it stands, too many members are still using their
work-based email address.
Keep up-to-date with the latest information from
your hospital professionals division. Please contact OPSEU Resource Centre at
1-800-268-7376 to provide us with your secure (non-workplace) email address.
Monitoring short term disability
More and more we’re hearing that many employers are
now increasing their monitoring of short term disability that exceeds five days.
At present, hospitals have the authority to retain
a third party which can call you at home during your sick time to verify the
situation. Typically, they will also put pressure on the member to return to
The purpose of the third-party call is also to
learn what is ailing you, a tactic that violates your right to privacy on issues
of health and medicine. Be sure to know your rights and your collective
agreement. If you have been injured at work, complete the WSIB application
ASAP, and work with your doctor to keep up to date on all your claims.
Suffering an injury or illness in a hospital setting is not uncommon. A new
HOODIP booklet is now available for members (OPSEU Guide to the Hospitals of
Ontario Disability Income Plan) and can be found on the OPSEU website
The Executive of the Hospital Professional
Division wishes to extend Season’s Greetings and best wishes to all members for
a healthy and prosperous New Year!
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