Four-union coalition formed
to combat LHINs
networks will open door to private care
OPSEU and allies set to
By OPSEU Staff
OPSEU’s struggle against the planned Local Health
Integration Networks (LHINs) continues—and now we have the active
support of three other major health care unions. The Ontario Nurses’
Association (ONA), the Service Employees International Union Local1.on
(SEIULocal1.on), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - four
unions representing almost 200,000 healthcare workers in a united
front to fight the proposed changes.
The four unions say the Ontario government’s plan for
Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) is deeply flawed and the
•Lacks a comprehensive plan to deal with employees
in a way that protects jobs and improves patient care;
• Threatens access to local health services;
• Reduces accountability by placing decision-making at arm’s length
from the government;
• Ignores the role of doctors, the ‘gatekeepers’ of the system;
• Takes away local control; no input from front-line staff ;
• Will extend the disastrous ‘competitive bidding’ model (now used
in home care) to the entire health care system;
• Is driven by the bottom line, not health care concerns.
The unions held a news conference Nov. 24 in Toronto
to outline their concerns.
“The unelected, unaccountable LHINs could pit
communities against each other in competition for scarce health
dollars. There will be service cuts and consolidations, which means
job losses. There is no plan in place to address human resource
adjustment issues. This means more uncertainty for patients. And it
allows politicians to avoid responsibility for their decisions,” said
OPSEU President Leah Casselman.
Despite claims to the contrary, the McGuinty
government appears to be extending the competitive bidding model that
the Harris government put in place in home care, to hospitals and
long-term care. Studies on the market model in home care show that
“services have been reduced, care has been compromised, privatization
has increased, and the staff turnover rate is much higher than for
other health care workers. What kind of reward is this for the
billions of dollars citizens are paying into the Ontario Health Tax?”
said Michael Hurley, President ofCUPE-OCHU.
Sharleen Stewart, president of SEIU Local 1.on, added:
“McGuinty's health care privatization train has left the station at
full steam. Ontario citizens must ensure it is derailed before
two-tier health care becomes a permanent reality in Ontario.”
“Nurses feel that extending the for-profit model to
local health care delivery will not fix what ails Ontario’s system. As
resources are diverted from care to private profits, patients and
health care workers will suffer,” said Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN, ONA
The four unions are working cooperatively to ensure
the for-profit model is not extended to hospitals, long-term care and
community-based social services.
Message from your chair
“We need to fight back”
I would like to thank the past executive for all their
help the last two years. I would also like to thank all the members
who have supported our many campaigns. As we know, the government
plans to privatize many of our services. We have to be involved! We
must protect our work and our health system. We must mobilize and
fight back against the transformation of public services!
Already, campaigns against P3 hospitals in North Bay,
Woodstock and St. Catharines have had real impact. The government is
on the defensive, but unfortunately this government is firmly
committed to the P3 agenda.
We need to fight back, using the media and legal
avenues, to force disclosure. We need to build campaigns to educate
the public about what services they could be losing. As LHIN
legislation is introduced we have to be aggressive. It will be, and
is, our jobs affected by the changes. The OFL has committed to fight
P3s and privatization of health services. We, the deliverers of health
services, must get involved.
Leaders must reassure
Canadians about Medicare’s future
By NUPGE staff
The 340,000 member National Union of Public and
General Employees is disappointed with the recent Supreme Court
decision in the Chaoulli case on health care and is calling on
governments to act immediately to assure Canadians public Medicare
will be protected.
“While this decision relates to Quebec, it is
essential that federal and provincial leaders immediately reassure
Canadians that their public system will be protected” said NUPGE
president James Clancy.
Dr. Chaoulli and his patient George Zeliotis argued
that waiting for care in the Quebec health care system and the laws
that govern that province are a violation of their rights under the
Quebec charter of rights.
They asked the courts to strike down the Quebec
Hospital Insurance Act that prevent people from buying private health
insurance for medical procedures covered by the public plan.
The National Union had intervener status during the
case and argued that a decision to strike down the sections of the
legislation would create a two-tier system that would not relieve the
The court struck down the provincial charter but not
the Canadian charter of Rights and Freedoms.
That means that so far there is no impact on the
Clancy said NUPGE disagreed with the decision.
OPSEU is an affiliate of
the National Union of Public Employees
CHPS underlines shortage of
At the end
of September, the Health Council of Canada met in Whitehorse, Yukon,
to finalize plans for the council’s report on human resources and to
continue to work on its second report to Canadians.
undertakes the last of this round before the report is released later
this fall, the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS) has
written to Michael Decter to once again underscore the impact of the
serious shortage of health professionals across the health system. The
text of the letter is enclosed in the box below.
Health Professionals Secretariat was created by NUPGE to address
challenges and opportunities facing health professionals across the
country and to recognize the valuable contribution of professionals
who provide diagnostic, clinical and rehabilitation services.
CHPS members met with Dr. Brian Postle. Dr. Postle is in charge of
waiting lists for the country. He had a strong warning for all of us
to be aware of the changing scope of our jobs. As there is a shortage
of professionals they are looking for others to also be able to do
some of the scope of our jobs. We need to be certain we have contract
protection around our scope of practice.
Elect Federal Public Health
Care Defenders! Federal Health Care defenders will
Speak out vigorously against privatization
keep and improve local public health services.
open, accountable and transparent public ways to respect public health
distribution of not for profit care through out the province
Stand up for
fair wages and benefits for all health care workers
successor rights for health care workers
Fact sheets will be available from your Union and
from your Ontario and Canadian Health Coalitions and your local labour
Letter to Mr.
Michael Decter, Chair, Health Council of Canada
As the Health Council of
Canada concludes the meetings and stakeholder consultations in support
of its report on Health Human Resources, the Canadian Health
Professionals Secretariat would like to again underline the critical
need to address human resource shortages in non-doctor and non-nurse
health professions. The Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat is
the only organization of its kind in Canada, representing more than
60,000 health science professionals from every corner of the country.
Canadians support for the considerable progress that has been made in
addressing physician and nurse shortages, and for the improved funding
to significantly increase the availability of cutting edge health care
equally pressing problem of shortages of health professionals has
received little attention. When you met with the secretariat almost a
year ago, we agreed that the improvements Canadians have so far seen
in health care delivery risk being squandered if there are not enough
health science professionals to provide the diagnostic, clinical,
pharmacy and rehabilitation services essential for the delivery of
quality health care.
then, and now, are gratified that the Council has shown particular
leadership in understanding the critical role played by health science
professionals, evidenced in your 2005 report accelerating change.
Council prepares its report on Health Human resources we urge you to
again ensure the report reflects the breadth of the health professions
Canadians rely upon to ensure the report reflects the depth and
breadth of the health professions Canadians rely upon to ensure timely
access to the quality we all cherish.
Stewart, Shelley Wilson, Co-Chairs, Canadian Health Professionals
Safety Engineered Medical
Devices ad campaign launched
Healthcare workers launch ad
campaign to make safety needles law
healthcare workers have launched a province-wide print, radio and
outdoor advertising campaign to push the Ontario government to make
safety-engineered medical sharps mandatory.
Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), and the Service Employees
International Union (SEIU) want a law making the use of safety needles
mandatory in all workplaces where workers are exposed to blood-borne
pathogens. They say this would prevent 33,000 injuries a year and save
millions of dollars.
“Safety needles would save on a multitude of injuries,
not only across our health care system, but in our communities as
Patty Rout, Chair of OPSEU’s Health Care Divisional Council and the
HPD. “The members of our three unions were considered heroes by many
because they put their own lives on the line to protect Ontarians from
SARS. Now, our members are asking the government to protect them.”
“The government must show it is serious about
protecting the health of Ontario’s nurses by making the use of
safety-engineered devices mandatory,” said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud,
RN. “While one-time hospital funding is a beginning, a law is the only
way to ensure hospitals and other employers provide the safest
equipment available to prevent workers from being exposed to serious
diseases, like hepatitis and HIV, through needlestick injuries.”
“We can protect lives and save the health-care system
money,” said Cathy Carroll, Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU Local1.on.
“Other governments in Canada recognize that using safety engineered
needles is a win-win situation. Manitoba and Saskatchewan have laws
taking effect in 2006 to protect their workers through safety
technology. Ontario workers need that same protection.”
Research cited by the unions
• The annual cost of testing and treating needlestick
injuries in Ontario, in health care alone, is $66-million;
• In facilities where safety needles are in use, up to
90 per cent of sharps injuries are prevented;
• About $8 million would be saved every year in
Ontario by eliminating unsafe medical sharps.
The advertising campaign will run across the province
from Nov. 14 until Dec. 12.
Visit the web at:
Woodstock and North Bay vote
to keep hospitals 100 per cent public
Health Coalition (OHC) has held plebiscites in communities across
Ontario to force the government to revert to cheaper public financing
of hospitals, and to maintain all hospital services as non-profit.
Woodstock and North Bay joined St. Catharines this
week as communities adamantly in favour of a 100 per cent non-profit,
publicly owned, operated and funded hospital—both voting 97 per cent
Results of a Nov. 26 2005 community-wide vote on
potential plans to introduce a P3 hospital in Woodstock were as
I support a new
Woodstock hospital that is 100% non-profit, publicly owned, operated
Yes votes 7,177
No votes 219
Total votes 7,396
The Woodstock plebiscite is the third of a series of
cross-province plebiscites organized by the OHC and local health
coalitions to stop the P3 privatization of our hospitals.
In June, the coalition held a plebiscite in St.
Catharines that garnered over 13,000 votes. On Nov. 19 a plebiscite in
North Bay garnered 8,820 votes, also 97 per cent in favour of the
proposition of fully-public health care.
completion of Woodstock’s plebiscite, the coalition has now received
over 29,000 votes from residents in three communities. Over 97 per
cent of voters oppose the P3 privatization of our local hospitals.
High turnouts in votes
health coalitions have garnered over 29,000 votes to stop P3
Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health
Coalition. “It is time for Dalton McGuinty to begin to listen to
Ontarians who hold deep concerns about his privatization plans for our
health system and its institutions. The provincial government has
never had a mandate to move ahead with these P3 hospitals. The huge
turnouts for these votes show that community members feel strongly
enough to come out in the tens of thousands even in poor weather to
join a grassroots campaign to keep our hospital infrastructure
Ontario’s provincial government has now announced 22 P3 hospital
projects – despite running against these privatization schemes in the
last provincial election. This is the largest attempt to privatize
hospital assets and services in Canada’s history.
Woodstock: putting the vote
In the last municipal election
approx. 8,400 people voted, in the federal election approx. 13,000
people voted in Woodstock and area polls.
Woodstock’s current city and
county councillors were elected by 1,800 - 3,500 votes.
The population of Woodstock is
33, 000, including children.
Report from the Outgoing HPD
Central Negotiation Team
By Yves Shank, Chair
difficult to believe we are once again preparing for the next round of
HPD Central Bargaining. Once again we were dealing with a challenging
negotiating round where your outgoing team was faced with many
obstacles: starting with an employer group that felt we had
sufficiently gained from the Bendel round, dealing with the external
threat of the provincial government imposing wage controls, and
culminating with another trip before a board of arbitration.
Well, we did
not do badly….we were able to negotiate some gains to strengthen our
collective agreement, and we were awarded some major improvements by
Arbitrator Stanley Beck June 28 2005. The team was proud of our
decision to forge ahead with our timelines, and go to arbitration on
our own merits.
When we look
at the language that both parties were able to negotiate, we see that
we did well on the “fairness issues.” Our discrimination and
Harassment language now fully reflects the prohibited grounds found in
the Human Rights Code. As well, in accordance with the Human Rights
Code, there now is recognition of the joint duty to accommodate
employees. We have strengthened our language around Article 7: Joint
Health and Safety Committee, and have new language about the influenza
vaccine and the use of safety engineered sharps.
win this round was the awarding by Arbitrator Beck of four-hour call
back, which brought us level to the industry standard. For our
members, this corrected an injustice of having to be called in side by
side with fellow hospital workers who received the four-hour call
back, while we got only half the compensation for an equal intrusion
into our personal lives.
saw a modest improvement to our benefits package, and sees us leading
the way with our hearing aid coverage. Benefits are always a
challenging issue to negotiate as bargaining teams always walk a fine
line between the needs of the membership and the realities of costs to
cover the gains achieved.
coming out of the demand set meeting was to make wages a priority, and
to deal with the sentiment that many of our members feel that their
professions are underpaid relative to their duties, education and
was a fair wage increase relative to other settlements and awards. We
also have a gain that we classify as a “fairness” issue: OPSEU’s
proposal for the continuation of the percentage in lieu of benefits
for part-time employees while they are on pregnancy and/or parental
leave was awarded by Arbitrator Beck
The issue of
reclassifications left the team with mixed emotions. While we were
pleased to see Arbitrator Beck award the reclassification of three
professions, we were disappointed that the other proposals for
reclassification of other professions were not awarded.
inappropriate remuneration and recognition of those professions
represented by OPSEU is becoming a primary concern in the HPD. We
have made a variety of proposals to the hospitals with the goal of
dealing with the dissatisfaction with the existing grid system.
hospitals’ team’s inability to recognize the problems or their lack of
desire to deal with the problem leaves us with very few options in
order to get a resolve to our dissatisfaction.
We, of course, did not get everything we wanted. We
were disappointed that Arbitrator Beck did not award our proposal on
voluntary exit opportunity or superior provisions, and were
disappointed that he did not deal with benefits for early retirees or
The outgoing team has made specific recommendations to
the executive and the next team for the upcoming round:
We need to strengthen the central process and we need
language that protects superior provisions to eliminate the barrier to
As chair of the HPD Central Negotiating Team, I wish
to thank my fellow team members for the time they devoted, on your
behalf in negotiating improvements to better our working environment.
This team included seven elected members, our
negotiator who masterfully presented our issues and positions, and our
researcher who again wrote and presented a brilliant brief to
Your team worked hard, your team debated hard, and we
fought hard. We were proud to represent the central participating
hospitals and the members of the Hospital Professional Division, and
we thank you for your support throughout the 2004-2006 round.
2004-2006 Bargaining Team
Yves Shank, Chair
Bob Reid, Vice-Chair
Moya Beall, Negotiator
Michele Dawson-Haber, Researcher
up for the next round of province-wide bargaining
The Pre-Bargaining Conference Dec. 2 was a successful
kick-off to the next round of bargaining. The HPD Executive
recommendations were reviewed and discussed and are being taken to the
bargaining unit Demand Set meetings.
Plan on attending your bargaining unit Demand Set
meeting. This is where you set the foundation for this next round.
Demands on central issues that are passed at the bargaining unit
meetings will be voted on at the province-wide Demand Set meeting as
the demands for central negotiations. Bargaining units that don’t
participate in central are encouraged to table these demands in their
The province-wide Demand Set meeting is scheduled for
Feb. 16 and 17, 2006, at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in Toronto.
Why is the new lab system in
Eastern Ontario such a secret ?
Eastern Ontario such a big
The Eastern Ontario
Regional Lab Association (EORLA) has been in the works since 1997, yet
very little is known about it.
There is no EORLA website.
Newsletters appear on an
irregular basis, with no indication of who produces them. EORLA
involves 19 labs in 16 hospitals throughout eastern Ontario, with most
of the work slated for a new $32 million laboratory facility now being
built at The Ottawa Hospital.
What is OPSEU doing?
Health Minister George Smitherman.
Asked for a
follow-up meeting with Assistant
Deputy Minister Dawn Ogram.
freedom of information request to get the details on EORLA.
to pressure both the Ministry and EORLA for answers.
Let your employer know you
are upset by the lack of
disclosure. Wear a “?” sticker. For more on EORLA and the
campaign, contact Rick Janson at OPSEU head office.
OPSEU to Minister of Labour:
enact ergonomic regulation now!
Dear Mr. Peters:
I am writing on behalf of over
100,000 workers in Ontario in a variety of jobs and sectors who are
exposed to ergonomic hazards every day in the workplace. Members of
OPSEU suffer strains, sprains and many types of repetitive strain
injury while lifting patients in health care facilities, in the
patients homes, in developmental services and long term care
facilities … or the many other services we provide to Ontario’s
The time is overdue for the
government of Ontario to enact an ergonomic regulation to help prevent
the debilitating injuries suffered by thousands of workers in our
province every year. (This) would give Ministry of Labour inspectors
specific authority to address this issue. Currently, because employers
are not compelled by law ... to assess ergonomic hazards and to
control them, it is left to workers themselves to “suggest”
improvements through their joint health and safety committees or their
health and safety representatives, usually after they have already
been injured. Between employers who often reject these suggestions and
other prevention initiatives due to cost, and the Ministry of Labour’s
unwillingness to write specific ergonomic orders because there is no
regulation, workers are left high and dry to obtain measures to
protect themselves from these hazards.
Injuries from strains and
sprains represent more than 40 per cent of all compensable lost time
injuries in Ontario, a rate that has remained constant for the last
eight years. The toll that ergonomic injuries take on workers extends
far beyond the pain they experience at work (…).
British Columbia, Saskatchewan
and a number of European countries already have ergonomic regulations
in effect. The federal government is now preparing to pass ergonomic
regulations to protect workers in the federal sector. It is
unacceptable that the government of Ontario has lagged behind the
federal government and other provinces to pass a regulation that will
protect workers from the single-most common cause of work-related
injury in our province. The government must recognize that in most
cases, employers will not voluntarily take measures to change tools
and work stations or to redesign workplaces to meet the ergonomic
needs of workers. After British Columbia enacted ergonomic regulations
in 1998, approximately 1,230 orders were written over two years, and
repetitive strain injuries dropped dramatically by 2002. We believe
that an ergonomic regulation in Ontario would produce the same
Ontario workers deserve the
same protection as workers elsewhere in Canada. OPSEU calls upon this
government to show its commitment to preventing these injuries by
announcing an ergonomic regulation by International RSI Awareness Day
on Feb. 28, 2006.
Leah Casselman President,
cc: Jim Wilson, PC Labour
Peter Kormos, NDP Labour Critic
Wayne Samuelson, President, OFL
Hospital Professionals Division Executive
Rout Local 348 Chair Lakeridge Health Corp. Oshawa
Local 659 Vice-Chair Sudbury Regional Hospital
Mitchell Local 570 Secretary Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto
McNamara Local 566 Treasurer Toronto East General
Local 141 Education & Membership Huron Perth Healthcare
Kilcline Local 444 Health & Safety Kingston General
Forsyth Local 143 Job Security Windsor Regional Hospital
Luscombe-Mills Local 466 Public Policy Perth & Smiths Falls
Local 659 Chair - Central Team Sudbury Regional Hospital
Head Local 464 1st Alternate Ottawa Hospita
Authorized by: Leah Casselman, President
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