Social Services News
A newsletter for members in Developmental Services,
Children’s Aid Societies, Child Treatment, Youth Corrections, and Community
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June 20, 2011
Message from the Chair
Summer is finally here. This is a
time to reflect on the work we have accomplished and to appreciate the
labour and social justice activists who came before us and fought for
decent working conditions that allow us the time to replenish and renew.
The theme of our 2011 Community
Services Division Plenary at the BPS Conference is “Care for the
Caregiver.” At the 2009 BPS plenary we grounded ourselves in our
shared values—equality, human rights and making a difference in the
world. This is what fuels our passion in our jobs. We also identified
“workload” as the major stressor in our work life after years of frozen
(and in some cases) reduced government funding, which constrains our
ability to do our jobs. It is always a question of balance; how to
ensure that in our desire to care for others, we take the time to care
In 2009 we also examined WSIB rates.
In our sectors WSIB claims exceed those of hospital and police
professionals. It is time that the occupational hazards of our work are
recognized by our employers and government. This past year,
Developmental Services and Children’s Aid Societies have been meeting
with the government to discuss systemic issues at a central table.
Ultimately these are some of the issues that affect us all.
I recently saw the movie “Made In
Dagenham” about the British women who fought to earn equal pay rights in
1968. I was inspired by their fortitude. Their relentless commitment to fight for a just cause
led to legislative changes around the world – the positive ripple effect
of social justice! Perhaps we will also make history in our struggle to
update an antiquated Occupational Health and Safety Act that does not
adequately recognize the “costs of caring.”
Deborah Gordon, CSDC Chair
Health & Safety - Is Bill 168 working for you?
Bill 168 brought a new Section 32 to the
OHSA. This bill requires employers to perform a risk assessment for
workplace violence, develop and maintain workplace violence and
harassment policies and programs in the workplace, provide information
and training to workers about what the policies contain and how risks
will be minimized, and re-evaluate the program annually.
However, we need to ensure that the
Ministry of Labour does not take a paper enforcement approach and look
at the new section 32 alone. Measures and procedures still have to be
judged against the general duty clause of 25.2 h which asks, “Has the
employer taken all reasonable precautions? What is missing?” Therefore
workers will still be calling upon the MOL to pursue whether measures
and procedures engaged in represent “reasonable precautions.”
It’s not just about the new section
32—it is also about ensuring that employers comply with 25 2 h—their
general duty to take all reasonable precautions. We need to remind
employers that the MEASURES AND PROCEDURES must be implemented to
actually prevent violence and harassment in the workplace.
Along with the policies and procedures
required under Section 32, must ask the MOL inspectors to write orders
under Section 25.2 h to ensure that actual workplace interventions
(measures and procedures) are in place to give life to the actual policy
and program. It is not a POLICY that saves lives, It’s NOT what’s IN
the drawer, it’s what’s ON THE FLOOR.
Terri Aversa, Health and Safety
College of Registered Psychotherapists and
Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario
A Transitional Council has been set up
to develop standards and regulations for registration with the College,
under the 2007 Psychotherapy Act. The College will not be registering
members until 2012. The Council held consultations in March and April of
this year and will produce revised drafts of the regulations in June.
The Council will hold a formal stakeholder consultation over the summer.
Following this consultation in the fall, the Council plans to submit
final draft Regulations to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
For more information:
Pensions - Eligibility provisions of The OPSEU
Pension Plan System
Recently the Trustees of TOPPSfund
amended the plan to allow for flexibility regarding when full-Time
employees are required to join the plan. The provisions of the plan now
read as follows:
“All Full Time Employees of a
Participating Employer who are represented by a Participating Union are
required to participate in the Plan, provided they are eligible to do so
by Applicable Legislation, on the earlier of:
a) where there is no probationary
period, immediately upon employment;
b) where there is a probationary
i) successful completion of the probationary period or
ii) two years of continuous service”
The eligibility provision for part-time
employees remains the same. This amendment will allow for some
flexibility at the negotiating table and align pension participation
with the probationary period where one exists. An earlier entry into
TOPPSfund can still be negotiated by the Union and Employer at
bargaining (through collective agreement provisions attached to the
probationary period article) but the Plan text itself would not require
immediate registration as a fixed pre-condition. It is hoped that this
amendment will make TOPPS more flexible, allowing for added interest and
Please contact: the Trustees or Kim
Macpherson in the Membership Benefits Unit for more details.
49 units across sector set to file
After talks broke off at the PDT table,
12 units held block walks across the province on May 31. Members sent
letters to Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan, telling the government that
a deal could not be reached without sustainable long-term funding.
Thanks to the amazing effort of all of
these units that successfully garnered wide media coverage across the
Now we have to mobilize in our units to
take a stand and fight for decent jobs. Over the summer the sector will
ramp up strike mobilizing plans. Units that are currently in bargaining
will be filing for conciliation. Many will be taking strike votes and
will fight to secure job security language to deal with potential agency
mergers. The government has the option to get the parties back to the
table if it wants to avoid labour disruptions.
Your PDT Team
Our position is clear, decent jobs are
possible for developmental service workers. Our communities and clients
support us. It’s time that our politicians got the message.
Sue Walker, Sector Chair
Children’s Aid Societies
On June 1 OPSEU CAS members across the
province delivered the message that vulnerable children should be
considered first when it comes to meeting the requirements of child
protection work. CAS workers gathered in front of their agencies or
ministry buildings to erect workload sculptures representing the
workload that workers face in their mandate to “Put Kids First.” Thanks
to all those that participated in this successful day, bringing our
message to our employers and our communities, our campaign continues.
Employers and unions reach landmark
tentative provincial consensus agreement
For the last few months CAS employers, and the bargaining agents for
unionized CAS staff, CUPE, OPSEU, CEP, the Simcoe CAS ea ,and government
representatives have been engaged in a provincial discussion table
process (PDT). On June 4, CAS employer representatives and CUPE, OPSEU,
CEP and the Simcoe CAS ea signed a tentative Consensus Agreement. All
signatories agreed that this agreement would provide positive
opportunities to address systemic issues in the child welfare sector.
Ministry representatives were present for the entire process. Finalizing
this landmark agreement was subject to government approval. The
government has been reviewing the Consensus Agreement since June 4th.
On June 13 the ministry informed the
employer and union representatives that they were unable to respond to
the agreement and were not able to provide any time frame as to when
they may respond – or if they would respond at all.
For the latest information please visit:
The Sector Executive and Bargaining
Council met with the Commissioners on May 20, 2011. They informed the
union that most of the amalgamations plans have been finalized and
passed to the MCYS. The Commission sent out letters to all agencies
involved to formally request the application of PSLRTA to their
potential amalgamation. Applications have been received from all the
agencies. MCYS will work with agencies to
develop implementation plans and the
Commission will monitor progress. The Commission will be looking at
shared services and rethinking what is local, regional and provincial.
Mergers involving CAS agencies and other organizations delivering child
and family services will also be reviewed.
Rick Pybus, Sector Chair
For more information please check:
Corrections Health and Safety is a key
How would you spend $257 million
dollars to improve Children and Youth Mental Health Services?
That is the question! After years of
lobbying and pleading the case to government that funding C&Y mental
health services is a smart investment, our cause has been heard.
Everyone who has participated in an OPSEU “Kids Matter” event since our
campaign launch in April 2005 CONGRATULATIONS to you. Your contribution
is making a difference. Although our work is not done, system
transformation is clearly coming our way in the foreseeable future. Take
time to celebrate this accomplishment!
Now we turn our minds towards the
October 6th provincial election in our efforts to hold all parties
accountable to their commitment to improving mental health services as
outlined in the August 2010 All Party Select Committee Report on Mental
Health and Addictions. The $257 million cheque has yet to be signed and
will be allocated over three years.
Some of our bargaining units have
already started getting the message out through our participation in the
“Take A Stand” coalition during Children’s Mental Health week (www.takingastand.ca
- check it out and share on Facebook). The equivalent of three
busloads of youth in this province will have committed suicide by the
end of this year. This is a fact that we must change.
Goodbye and thank you Pat McGregor!
Elections for the 2011-2013 CTS Sector
Executive will take place at our Divisional Meeting on June 19th. As
current Chair, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the
work of Pat McGregor (L. 460) who has made the decision to step down as
Vice-Chair following her return to our Executive six years ago. Pat was
our very first CTS Chair when the BPS Sectors were developed in the
early 1990s. She sat at the Social Contract Table, beginning the
discussions identifying the need to have a
central bargaining table. Our
coordinated bargaining efforts are the result of the seeds that Pat and
her team planted many years ago. Pat has always been a passionate
activist for workers in our sector whether at the local, regional or
provincial level and is a force to be reckoned with! Pat’s commitment
to the membership and grass roots activism is undeniable and we have
benefited from her energy and practical wisdom.
Pat has made the decision that her
energies at this time need to be reinvested closer to home. We thank
her and celebrate the contributions that she has made. We wish her all
the best and know that her heart and passion will always be near at hand
Deb Gordon, Sector Chair
Corrections Health and Safety is a key
In this past
quarter the sector has continued to review the number of youth
correctional beds in use. As of June 7, 2011 there are currently 1161
YCJA correctional beds available to the province. Of those 1161 beds,
627 are being accessed. Since March 2011 there has been an increase of
approximately 7% in bed occupancy. The sector will continue to monitor
fluctuating trends in bed availability and usage in both open and secure
custody facilities in Ontario.
The Sector Executive is currently formulating a custody facility product
list with recommendations on how members can order Personal Protective
Equipment (PPE). We will be able to provide members with
recommendations and contact information to order the PPE's or samples
from a manufacturer/distributor along with pricing guides. We will try
to provide you with product feedback from our members.
We hope that this will be an
essential resource for our members and their Joint Health and Safety
Committees (JHSC) in making recommendations to employers. The Sector
Executive has completed Health and Safety audits of each of the units in
our sector and we are now able to compare the available PPE being used
in our province and across the country. We encourage members to contact
their LEC for more information.
The committee was disappointed to hear that the Ministry of Labour did
not support a JHSC recommendation to have a van barrier installed in a
secure custody transport van. As per the Ontario Health and Safety Act
(OHSA) an appeal was filed within 30 days of this decision. In September
the appeal questioning the inspectors decision to not order the
installation of a van barrier will be heard. The Sector Executive
committee is concerned that OHSA section 25.2(h) is not being applied.
We expect our employers to take every
reasonable precaution for the protection of our members. We will
continue to monitor issues that will have an impact on our jobs in
corrections such as Bill C-4 (Sebastian’s Law), WSIB legislation
changes, and the Psychotherapy Act.
Jonathan Guider, Sector Chair
30 members register for Sector 5
Inaugural Meeting at the BPS
Delegates and alternates in the newly
formed Sector 5 will elect their first Sector Executive at the BPS Conference.
The Community Services Divisional
Council thanks Amy Clements (L. 518) North York Women’s Shelter, for her
mobilizing efforts that maximized member participation in this founding
meeting. The BPS All Chairs and the CSDC looks forward to welcoming the
newly elected Sector 5 executive.
At the table in 2011
The following sectors are in bargaining:
Child Treatment 19
Developmental Services 49 units
Youth Justice 13
Children’s Aid Societies 11 units
Community Services 24 units
L166—Salvation Army Wycliffe Booth/Rebekah
House settled a three-year renewal agreement expiring March 31, 2013
with general wage increase of 0%; 2%; 2%; a signing bonus $850/FT;
650/PT; $250 relief,; mileage increase from $0.29/km to $0.40/km; in
charge premium increase to $1.00/hr for Sr. Youth Care Worker or Sr.
L216—Banyan Community Services (SNAP
Connection Program) settled a first contract with a general wage
increase of 2.5% in the second year; 2% signing bonus of 2% of earnings
from July 2010 to March 2011; bereavement for full time and part-time,
pro-rated - 10 days for child and spouse; Sabbatical Leave language and
other provisions within a first contract.
L550 - Salvation Army Evangeline
Residence settled with a general wage increase of 2%; 2%; 2%; new
orientation language, three paid professional days; improved language
for relief and temporary employees; improved vacation language and carry
over; part-time now accumulate sick leave pro-rata; new workplace
violence, bullying, and psychological harassment language, employer
contributes 6% to RRSP after 21 years of service.
L518 - North York Women's Shelter
settled with a general wage increase of 2%; 1.5%; 1.5%;
improvements for eye glasses; improved vacation time
over the 3 years; increase in mileage rate $0.42/km; increase in
allotted amount for educational upgrading; discipline removed from file
after 12 months; accumulation of sick credits and vacation credits;
increased time for new members to meet with stewards.
Movies worth watching
Made In Dagenham (2010)
A dramatization of the
1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where female workers walked
out in protest against sexual discrimination
Inside Job (2010)
Takes a closer look at
what brought about the financial meltdown
The Corporation (2003)
Documentary that looks
at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history
up to its present-day
Burtynsky travels the world observing changes in landscapes due
to industrial work and manufacturing