OPSEU: Democracy through participation

January 29, 2013  

OPSEU is a union built on many democratic procedures, designed to encourage members to voice their views and have their say. Important regional meetings for eligible delegates will take place on April 6, 2013.

Union membership brings benefits, but it also has responsibilities.

OPSEU members make a commitment to social justice inside and outside their workplace. They commit to supporting each other through the union. Members also strive to make their union barrier-free to all by opening doors and removing obstacles to participation.

All large organizations depend on their various governance structures. They provide the skeleton which enables the union to stand and grow. The quality and speed of progress often depends on the people selected for these leadership roles.

OPSEU has two organizational structures to meet this requirement. One is based on collective bargaining. This structure, headed by Sector and Ministry Executives, is broadly based on occupational or employer groupings.

But OPSEU, a union made up of many members from the public sector, is far more than a union that just looks at bargaining issues and local concerns. It is a force in the community and province. OPSEU members understand that a successful community is needed for unions to have success at the bargaining table or workplace.

This is why OPSEU has a political structure that binds all its members together for this common good. Every two years, OPSEU members from each local attend meetings in each of OPSEU's 7 regions. While Local Presidents are automatic delegates, larger locals are credited with additional delegates. Regional delegates unite to select their region's representatives to OPSEU's central political structures.

Regional meetings are critical for a successful union. Delegates at each meeting select three Executive Board members who will, with those from other regions, later make important central decisions for 125,000 plus OPSEU members. Members of the Executive Board also run for the positions of President and 1st Vice President/Treasurer, the union's two full-time central leaders.

Also elected at regional meetings are alternate Board members, members for the Regional Hardship Fund Committee, and regional representatives for the Resolutions, Constitutional and Credentials Committees for Convention.

OPSEU conducts work through many provincial committees including the Provincial Women's Committee; the Provincial Human Rights Committee; the Provincial Young Workers Committee and the Provincial Francophone Committee. A delegate and alternate for each are chosen at regional meetings. (Aboriginal Circle members select their representatives through a separate process.)

OPSEU is not alone in the labour movement. The Union is active in the National Union of Provincial and General Employees (NUPGE) and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). Delegates and alternates that represent OPSEU at the conventions of these central bodies are also elected at regional meetings.

OPSEU is an open and transparent organization, built on democratic principles. All members should note these processes and take an interest in them.

April 6, 2013 is the date when these important regional meetings will take place.

For those eligible to attend, here are the locations:





Hilton Windsor

277 Riverside Drive W.

Windsor, Ontario

St. Clair Centre for the Arts


Delta Meadowvale Hotel

6750 Mississauga Road

Mississauga, Ontario

Hazel McCallion Ballroom


Delta Markham

50 East Valhalla Drive

Markham, Ontario

Truffle Room


The NAV Centre

1950 Montreal Road

Cornwall, Ontario

Campbell Hall


Delta Chelsea Hotel

33 Gerrard Street

Toronto, Ontario

Mountbatten Room


Radisson Hotel

85 Ste. Anne Road

Sudbury, Ontario

Grand Paris Room


Victoria Inn Hotel

555 West Arthur Street

Thunder Bay, Ontario

Regency Room


Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President



Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 100 Lesmill Rd. Toronto, ON M3B 3P8  (416) 443-8888

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