TORONTO – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has won a
certification vote for about 150 home care workers with the Victorian
Order of Nurses in Waterloo, Wellington and Dufferin counties.
The group includes home support workers, personal support workers
and day program workers. Nurses and Registered Practical Nurses at the
agency are represented by other unions.
The vote was two to one in favour of OPSEU.
Among the issues that led to unionization was a change in the
relationship between clients and caregivers. This stems from
government changes that require agencies to bid for home care
contracts under a Request for Proposals (RFP) process. The personal
focus is lost in the requirement for agencies to compete against each
At $11 to $12 an hour, the home care workers (overwhelmingly women)
make about $5 less than similar employees in long term care facilities
doing the same job. In recent years the work has shifted from light
housekeeping to more hands-on direct personal care. The home care
workers are doing jobs that used to be done by Registered Practical
Nurses, but they are paid much less. The agency is having trouble
attracting and retaining staff because of the inadequate pay.
They also want to address a number of health and safety issues.
Among them, they want more information on the home situations they are
"We welcome these new members into OPSEU and look forward to
working with them to get a collective agreement that will address
their concerns," said OPSEU President Leah Casselman.
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For further information:
Jennifer Sinclair: 416-271-6771
Lois Boggs: 905-541-5212