1. Why are we doing a Census?
2. What is a
3. Who is eligible
to complete the Census?
4. Which Census do
I complete if I am working as a Member Development Trainee (MDT) at OPSEU?
5. Why should I
participate in the Census?
6. How can this
information make a difference? Can you give me an example?
7. Where do I fill
out the Census and are there hard copies available?
8. Is the Census
9. How will you protect my privacy?
What kinds of questions will be asked in the Census?
11. How will OPSEU use the information?
12. Is the real reason
for the Census to create quotas and targets?
13. I don’t have access
to a computer. How do I fill out the Census?
14. If I complete the
Census at work, will my employer retaliate against me?
15. What if I have
additional questions about the Census?
16. I don’t feel
comfortable answering a question, what do I do?
17. Can I stop the
Census half way through and come back to it?
18. Can I fill out the
Census after November 30th?
19. If you can’t tell
who filled out the Census, what is the benefit of the results?
20. How will I know the results are valid and reliable?
21. Why are the questions asked in the way that they are, and
where did the definitions come from?
22. Isn’t it against the law to ask these questions?
23. When will the results of the Census be made available?
24. What are the next steps?
Q: Why are we doing a
A: Our members and staff are our greatest assets.
Being able to better serve you starts with learning more about your personal
story and changing needs. By filling out the Census, you will help bring OPSEU
one-step closer to being able to better respond to the priorities that matter
most to you.
The idea for the OPSEU Census began with the Workers of Colour
Caucus and other Equity Committees. They lobbied OPSEU to take a closer look at
the demographics of its membership and staff. A resolution to this effect was
passed at Convention in 2008. OPSEU welcomed this project and created the OPSEU
Q: What is a Census?
A: A Census is typically used by governments
throughout history to count a population as well as to find out factors relating
to sex, age, occupation, and so forth.
This Census does not take the traditional
approach. Instead, we are focused on learning about what your day-to-day reality
is so that the information you provide will be used to create services and
policies that best reflect your priorities.
At OPSEU, we are committed to building a
stronger and more inclusive relationship with our members and staff. The Census
is an important stepping stone toward an ongoing dialogue about how we can be
more reflective of your needs.
A: Who is eligible to complete the Census?
If you pay Union dues to OPSEU then you are
eligible to participate in the Membership Census at
www.twiinc.ca/opseu. This includes casuals, employees on leave and
OPSEU staff will be completing a separate Staff
Census that includes part-time, temporary employees, those in
“acting” positions and those on leave.
Retirees and CAAT Part-timers are NOT eligible
to participate at this time.
Q: Which Census do I complete if I am working as a
Member Development Trainee (MDT) at OPSEU?
If you are working as an MDT you should complete
the Membership Census. If you are a member who is working in a temporary
position (i.e. an “acting” position), then you should
complete the Staff Census. If you are unsure whether you are classified
as a temporary employee or an MDT, please contact your OPSEU supervisor
Q: Why should I participate in the
A: By filling out the Census you are helping OPSEU
piece together a more accurate picture of who our members are. Each member has
their own unique story to share and we want to hear about and include as many
voices as possible through the Census.
The information you provide will also help us
bargain better contracts to reflect your priorities. For example, if the
survey results indicate a large increase in respondents providing care
for elders in their family, then we can try to address these needs at the
bargaining table. We cannot bargain on a hunch. We need facts. We need
to know who our members really are.
If you think OPSEU can do a better job
representing you, filling in the Census is a way of helping us get
Q: How can this information make a difference? Can you
give me some examples?
A: Demographic data helps to give a clearer picture
of what your changing needs are and how OPSEU can best respond to them. Here
are some examples:
and Better Wages – OPSEU learned that more than 60% of Liquor store employees
were part-time. They worked for lower wages than full-timers and without
benefits, even though they were performing the exact same job duties as
full-timers. In June 2009, OPSEU used these facts to negotiate a collective
agreement that improved wages and benefits for part-timers.
with Dignity: Data from members and employers in the Broader Public Service
(BPS) showed that many members did not have access to a pension plan. OPSEU set
up the TOPPS BPS Pension Plan to address this need.
Developmental Services: When OPSEU surveyed its members, we found the majority
was part-time. Improving their wages, and reducing the gap between full- and
part-time workers became a key bargaining goal. In 2007, we won a huge victory
for this group.
Q: Where do I fill out the Census and are hard copies
A: Until December 11th you will be
asked to participate by filling out the Census form online at
www.twiinc.ca/opseu . For those that require the Census in a paper format, which
can be returned to our consultants by mail in a pre-paid envelope, please
contact OPSEU Direct at 1.800.268.7376.
Q: Is the Census mandatory?
A: No. Completing the Census is voluntary. However,
it is critical that all OPSEU members and staff be included and counted.
The more respondents there are to the Census, the more accurate and
complete the “snapshot” will be.
will you protect my privacy?
A: OPSEU has hired an independent consultant, TWI
Inc., to host the survey on their external server, as well as to handle the data
and to produce the final report. At no point during the process will OPSEU or
your Employer have access to raw survey data. Additionally, there is a written
guarantee between OPSEU and TWI Inc. on how the data will be managed. Only
aggregate (grouped) data or individual data stripped of personal information
will be provided to OPSEU.
Remember, the Census is both confidential and
Confidentiality means that individual data is kept secret, and
access to the raw data is restricted to only a few individuals. No raw data
pertaining to a single individual is ever disclosed.
Anonymity means the participants are not identified by name. In
the case of the Census, participant names are not collected and thus respondents
Q: What kinds of questions will be asked in the
A: The Census will cover the following four areas:
General Demographics – region, division, employment
Individual Demographics – personal, education,
Member Activities – areas of volunteer and other work
Union Demographics – elected union positions,
attendance at Convention, access to union education
will OPSEU use the information?
A: A final report of both the Membership Census and
the Staff Census will be presented at the 2010 Convention. The report will
highlight trends, gaps or barriers to access for both members and staff. Where
gaps are identified, they will be followed up on in our Membership and
Employment Systems Review, also known as “Phase II” of the project.
Phase II will begin in 2010 and involve focus groups and
interviews with members and staff. A final report with recommendations will
be produced at the end of this phase.
Q: Is the real reason for the Census to create quotas
A: The real reason for the Census is to collect a
“snapshot” of OPSEU as a whole. With this picture, we hope that we will have the
information we need to begin identifying gaps in our services and practices that
require our attention.
While representation is an important indicator of fairness in a
Union or workplace, it is not the only measure of fairness. This project aims to
improve the Union in a number of areas, including representation for groups that
are facing barriers to access and participation.
Q: I don’t have access to a computer. How can I fill
out the Census?
A: You can access a computer at your local union
office, public libraries or community centre. Additionally, some
workplaces are allowing employees to use computers at work during
breaks and lunches (check with your union steward to see if your employer has
agreed to this).
Paper copies are available through the mobilizers and through
your regional office via your union steward. Please contact OPSEU Direct at
1.800.268.7376 to access a paper copy.
Q: If I complete the Census at work, will my employer
retaliate against me?
A: If your employer has agreed to allow you to
complete the Census at work, they cannot retaliate against you. Please contact
your union steward to find out if your employer has an agreement in place.
If you are still concerned about your privacy or
about retaliation, there are alternative ways of filling out the
· Fill out the Census on
your home computer.
· Access a computer through
your local union office, the local library or internet café.
· Fill out a hard copy
Q: I don’t feel comfortable answering a specific
question, what do I do?
A: We encourage you to answer as many questions as
possible because each one contains important information that will help provide
a more complete picture of what OPSEU looks like as a whole. However, if you are
uncomfortable, you can skip a question and move on. This will not “spoil” your
Q: Can I stop the Census half way through and come
back to it?
A: There is a “time-out” feature that kicks in 60
minutes after you start. As long as you complete the Census within an
hour, you can stop and start again.
Q: What if I have additional questions about the
A: If you have further questions or are unsure about
anything related to the Census, please contact OPSEU Direct at 1.800.268.7376.
Q: Can I fill out the Census after November 30th?
Yes. Surveys that are completed or are in the mailbox by
December 11th will be processed.
Q: If you can’t tell who filled out the Census, what
is the benefit of the results?
A: A Census aims to identify general trends. It does
not focus on individual results. Identifying personal information is not
necessary to achieve an accurate “snapshot” of our Union and this point of view
is shared by the professional consultants involved in conducting the survey.
Not only that, but in the interest of fostering
a mutual relationship of trust, it is OPSEU’s priority to respect your right to
Q: How will I know the results are valid and reliable?
Every effort will be made to ensure the consistency and accuracy of the Census
data. The external consultants at TWI Inc. have the resources and experience to
detect fake responses through cross-referencing tools built into the survey
While it is
not possible to eliminate inaccuracies with 100% certainty due to the very
nature of how a survey works, the results will only contain a 1% fluctuation in
the reported percentages. This is true for both OPSEU’s and Statistics Canada’s
Q: Why are the questions asked the way that they are,
and where did the definitions come from?
A: In order to be able to compare some of our data to
Statistics Canada information, we adopted the same question structure and
terminology where appropriate.
Q: Isn’t it against the
law to ask these questions?
No. Asking these questions is not against the Ontario Human Rights Code or
Privacy legislation. In fact, under the following three conditions, the Census
process is actually recommended by both the Canadian and Ontario Human Rights
Information gathered is used for equity reporting and program development;
Participation is voluntary; and
results are confidential.
Census fulfills all three criteria.
Q: When will the results
of the Census be made available?
A: We aim to have the final Census report complete by
May 2010 to be made available at Convention.
Q: What are the next
A: To build on the data
from the Census, we will be conducting a Membership and Employment Systems
Review beginning in 2010, also known as Phase II. This phase aims to gather
perceptions and opinions related to any of the gaps identified in the Census.
We hope to complete
a conclusive report with recommendations for Phase II by May 2011.