Hospital Professionals Division


The Hospital  Professionals Division Newsletter

Winter 2011

HPD welcomes our newest members

OPSEU’s Hospital Professionals Division is happy to welcome our newest members. Pharmacy Technicians at University Health Network in Toronto; Paramedical Employees at Arnprior and District Memorial Hospital; Hospital Professionals at Sault Area Hospital; Hospital Professionals from the Acquired Brain Injury Clinic at Hamilton Health Sciences and Hospital Professionals at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in Barry’s Bay. These 300+ members are now part of OPSEU’s fastest-growing sector, and will enjoy all the benefits of being OPSEU members. A big thank you goes to OPSEU’s Organizing Unit for all their hard work.

‘The Day the Future Arrived’: The HOOPP Part-Time Campaign

Recently, HOOPP launched its annual campaign to educate eligible part-time employees about the opportunity to enroll in the HOOPP defined benefit pension plan. This year’s campaign, “The Day the Future Arrived” features a movie-themed brochure and poster that provides clear examples of the financial benefits available to part-time employees through enrolling in HOOPP. Since HOOPP’s part-time campaign started in 2007, more than 23,000 part-time employees have enrolled in the Plan and are now secure in the knowledge that retirement is possible. Materials and more information about HOOPP’s part-time campaign are available at at: . HOOPP will also do information sessions - Schedule is below.

Employer Name Presentations  Booth
Queensway-Carleton Hospital December 9, 12 and January 13 January 9, 12 and January 13
Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation January 4, 5 and 6 January 4, 5 and 6
Sault Area Hospitals 5-Jan-12 No booth required
Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant CCAC January 10, 11, 12 and 13 January 10, 11, 12 and 13
St.John's Rehabilitation Hospital 13-Jan-12  
Brant Community Healthcare System, The 17-Jan-12 17-Jan-12
Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital 20-Jan-12  
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre No presentations required January 18 and 19
Southlake Regional Health Centre January 23, 24, and 26 * Booth to be confirmed
Kingston General Hospital 23-Jan-12 23-Jan-12
Hotel Dieu Hospital January 24 – to be confirmed by employer January 24 – to be confirmed by employer
Cornwall Community Hospital 25-Jan-12 25-Jan-12
The Ottawa Hospital January 26 and 27 January 26 and 27
West Park Healthcare Centre 31-Jan-12  
The Scarborough Hospital January 31 and February 3 * Booth to be confirmed
Credit Valley Hospital, The 2-Feb-12 * Booth to be confirmed
Trillium Health Centre February 15 and 16  

Broader Public Sector Conference 2011

At this year’s Broader Public Sector Conference (June 17-19), 75 delegates from the Hospital Professionals Division (HPD) gathered together Toronto’s Sheraton Centre to discuss strategy and elect our new executive. With over 17,000 members, OPSEU’s HPD is the largest group within BPS. This year’s conference adopted a political theme. With a Conservative elected federally and the October 6th provincial election resulting in a minority liberal government, the need for support to public health care is greater than before. This support was well demonstrated when more than 3,000 marched at Queen’s Park on September 13, saying that protecting health care is a priority to all Ontarians. Funding to public health care for the next four years is expected to be severely constrained. According to the Ontario Health Association, the funding will be less than the rate of inflation, population growth and demographics. HPD members have already taken a wage freeze for the next two years while the Provincial Auditor General reported in June that funding increases for hospital will be half of what they have been for the last seven years. With a minority government, ordinary Ontarians can stand up to protect public health care. People have proven many times that we can stop privatization and protect public interests. Randy Robinson, Political Economist for OPSEU, spoke about the global financial crisis and how it was affecting Canada and specifically Ontario. Pollster Mark Zwelling from Vector Research educated our members on public opinion polls and opinions on public sector workers. A copy of the document “Challenging Austerity” was also given to all members present to understand better the issues unions are facing. Day 2 of the conference saw elections take place. Your new HPD executive is as follows:

Sara Labelle, Chair
Sandi Blancher, Vice-Chair
Pat McNamara, Treasurer
Betty Palmieri, Secretary
Brendan Kilcline, Health & Safety Lead
Yves Shank, Public Policy Lead
Sue Head, Job Security Lead
Hervé Cavanagh, Education and Communication Lead
John Francis, 1st Alternate.

Congratulations to the new executive and thanks to all who showed interest in these positions and ran in the elections. After the elections, the HPD Bargaining Team answered questions from the members about the recently-released Kaplan Award. On the final day of the conference, delegates attended an education session on unfair attendance management programs which are present in most of our worksites. Delegates were provided knowledge and tools to help defend our members who get caught in these programs.

Is your work being transferred?

PSLRTA can help Is your bargaining unit losing work because it’s being transferred to some other facility? Are your members facing some layoff notices? If so, don’t hesitate to get in touch with OPSEU’s Organizing Team. More than ever, hospitals are under pressure to discontinue some services or transfer them to another facility. When faced with layoffs due to reorganization, we should always ask ourselves if this could be a case where the Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act (PSLRTA) applies. PSLRTA is legislation that deals with amalgamations, mergers and the transfer of services in the Health Care sector. The legislation outlines a process to deal with union representation after the merger, and what happens with your current collective agreement entitlements. If your local is facing any type of these reorganizations, it is important that you inform your Staff Representative so that they can follow up with the Organizing Department.

Health & Safety News

We continue to have issues that remain problematic. Specifically:
Workplace violence issues, especially in mental health. We are having huge problems at Ontario Shores trying to convince the employer to meet its obligations under OHSA to put effective measures and procedures in place to protect workers. There continues to be a huge problem with assaults by patients on staff.
Control of Construction projects. Our members continue to work in an environment where construction activities are taking place all around. Hospital planning departments and contractors are given a simple mandate of “on budget and on time.” Safety is frequently sidelined and supervision of construction activities is often minimal.
Return to Work programs. WSIB policies have changed and employers are being much more aggressive in the area of Return to Work (RTW) programs. While returning injured workers to employment is beneficial to all parties, doing it right can be a complex process. It has been shown that the full involvement of all the workplace parties, which includes the union, in the Return to Work program is the best way to ensure that accommodated work is safe and sustainable for the injured worker. Too often it is a “top down” process and the process regularly fails or results in further injury. Often the process of trying to find suitable accommodations for injured workers can illuminate solutions to hazards that can make the work safer for all workers, not just the injured worker. Work has to be safe for all workers and not just the “average worker.” An interesting project has been going on at Niagara Health (a 7-hospital system) where we are working with Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers,, the Occupational Disability Response Team (ODRT), the hospital, ONA and SEIU on an innovative Return to Work/Accommodation program. This program links good RTW plans with primary prevention of occupational illnesses/injuries. This completed program is being launched on December 13. We are going to have to deal with these programs so we might as well get them right the first time. Lisa McCaskell has been deeply involved with this project and can give a presentation to the division at a future meeting
The Section 21 Committee continues to produce new guidance notes (GN) which are posted on the HCDC Health and Safety page. Most recently a GN on infection control issues was posted. Here’s the link (the GNs are at the bottom of the page):
Trying to develop effective Joint Health and Safety Committees, especially in multi-site hospitals and multi-union hospitals. There are difficulties with the Sudbury hospital and we are now trying to assist at Hamilton Health Sciences Centre which is also having issues. A new piece of research on JHSCs in the acute care sector is currently being written up. The research is finished, but the analysis and write-up is being completed now. The researchers are looking for opportunities to present their findings, which should be ready by April.
JCCHS. JHSC functionality was one of the issues highlighted at the Joint Central Committee on Health and Safety (JCCHS). The initial and subsequent research for the project above was conducted through the JCCHS back in 2007. Ironically, the committee we had with the OHA that has now been discontinued. Work that we were doing on slips, trips and falls as an injury category (high rate and high severity) has been abandoned. The OHA argued that there was little value to this committee. Thanks go to committee member Joan Murray from Local 425 Brockville General Hospital and alternate Lara Kiedyk from Local 106 London Health Sciences Centre who assisted greatly in our caucus discussions. We also thank Lisa McCaskell, Senior OPSEU Health and Safety Officer, for her mentoring and expertise.
Asbestos. Issues around asbestos still haunt our workplaces. Asbestos Management Plans are often not properly maintained and workers are often not aware of where the asbestos is in their workplaces. Ironically, while we struggle to with asbestos in our workplaces Canada continues to be one of the biggest exporters of “White Death” to the third world where regulations and protections for workers are essentially non-existent. We must raise our voices against this outrage.

New guides from MOL

The Ministry of Labour has updated its guide to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and guide to Joint Health and Safety Committees to incorporate the workplace violence changes in the Act. They are also preparing new guides that they hope to have in place once the changes arising out of the expert panel review come into effect. The right for JHSC Co-Chairs to make unilateral recommendations to the employer if the committee cannot reach agreement comes into effect on April 1, 2012.

MOL on the web

The Ministry of Labour has a webpage dedicated to the Healthcare Sector. It is available at 

N95 fit testing

Approximately two years ago a pandemic strain of influenza virus was sweeping across the world. This prompted a lot of attention from Ministry of Labour Health & Safety Inspectors with respect to hospital respiratory protection programs. As a result, hospitals were required to make sure that their respiratory protection programs were in place, which include N95 respirator fit testing and training. In many facilities the respiratory protection programs were incomplete and/or not fully implemented. This prompted a flurry of N95-fit testing activity, often requiring additional external resources to complete. Respirator fit testing needs to be repeated at least every two years, or whenever there is a change that could affect the fit of a respirator (such as weight loss/gain or a new facial scar). Those facilities that did not develop a robust program are once again experiencing a large cohort of workers that require re-testing in a short period of time.

If you may be required to wear an N95 respirator for some part of your job and you have not been tested within the last two years, you should request that your supervisor schedule your fit-testing in the very near future. If you are unsure of when you were last fit-tested you should check with your supervisor. Your supervisor should have access to that information and should be ensuring that everyone that requires respirator fit-testing is up to date. It would also be a good time to check that there are adequate supplies of the type of respirator that you have been fit-tested on, and that they are readily available.

Joint Health & Safety Committees should satisfy themselves that the Respiratory Protection Program is being maintained.

Season’s Greetings

It has been a long and busy year in the Hospital Professionals Division. A new Central Agreement, continued negotiations in pay equity, a video highlighting having to bid for our own jobs, personal liability insurance and, of course, the constant battle against cuts in our health care system.

Despite constant promises by the provincial government that healthcare and education “remains the highest priority,” we know all too well that layoffs, cutbacks and downsizing are a constant way of life on the front lines. 2012 will be more of the same, and we must continue to stand up for quality health care in Ontario. In unity there is strength, and as one of the fastest-growing sectors in OPSEU we will have the strength to make positive changes in our workplaces and in our working lives.

On behalf of the Hospital Professionals Division Executive, I wish you the very best over the holiday season, and hope for a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Sara Labelle, Chair

Hospital Professionals Division - Executive Members

Sara Labelle Chair L348 – Lakeridge Health
Sandi Blancher Vice-Chair L106 – London Health Sciences Centre
Betty Palmieri Secretary L206 – St. Joseph’s Hamilton
Pat McNamara Treasurer L566 – Toronto East General
Hervé Cavanagh Education & Communications Lead L466 – Perth & Smith Falls District Hospital
Yves Shank Health and Safety Lead L659 – Hôpital Régional de Sudbury Regional Hospital Corporation
Susan Head Job Security Lead L464 – Ottawa Hospital
John Francis Public Policy Lead L346 – Royal Victoria Hospital
Tara Rivest First Alternate L273 – Hamilton Health Sciences

Visit Diablogue at:

Authorized for distribution by Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President, OPSEU

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HPD Index

Collective Bargaining

Local Issues & Actions




Health & Safety

Joint Central Committee on Health and Safety

Who we are/what we do

Executive Members

Job Registry

Contact us

Dialogue Newsletter

HPD Scholarship Fund

Safe Sharps Campaign

HCDC End Workplace Violence Campaign

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