January 12, 2001
Town council furious at Ministry’s
The Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Penetanguishene superjail was not
welcomed with open arms by Penetanguishene’s town council.
At the council meeting on Wed. Jan. 10, elected officials had their first
look at the bidding document being used to privatize the superjail. Although
more meetings are being scheduled to examine the RFP document, council’s
initial reaction to the paper was one of shock and anger.
Councillors quickly came to the realization that many items that the Ministry
promised would be in the RFP were missing. Now the town has to decide how to
proceed in light of these omissions.
Items missing from the RFP document have elected officials bewildered. Items
missing from the RFP include the requirement for the operator to carry
insurance, staff training for special circumstances, the institutional catchment
area, library services and the provision of staff facilities.
Over and above these missing items, the two greatest areas of concern are the
tax issue, and the lack of an inmate discharge plan.
Back in April, former Corrections Minister Rob Sampson promised the town (in
front of nearly 500 witnesses) that the private company would have to pay
commercial business taxes instead of the $75.00 per bed levy that a public
institution would pay. Well it appears (don’t clutch your chest here) that
Sampson lied. The difference represents a huge monetary loss to the town.
"We would accept the $75.00 per bed for a publicly-run institution
because we know that 300 well-paid public service jobs would be coming to our
town," said Penetanguishene Deputy Mayor Randy Robbins. "That won’t
be the case with a private employer."
The inmate discharge plan was another provision that the town was adamant
about. Penetanguishene officials wanted to ensure that inmates were not released
directly into their area, as the town does not have the social service resources
to cope with the increased use. The Ministry promised (again) that inmates would
be transported from the area prior to release. Is that provision included in the
All in all, there was one issue that the council was pleased about, and that’s
the fact that OPSEU provided copies of the RFP to the town after the Ministry
refused to do so. Without the document, the town would not have learned how
badly they were being duped.
That was probably the Ministry’s intent. Sorry if we messed up your plans,
"Minutes from disaster"
Windsor Jail tragedy averted thanks to professional training
A near riot on New Year’s eve morning could have had deadly consequences if
not for the training and professionalism of the correctional officers at the
It all started with a hepatitis-B infected inmate who was upset for reasons
unknown. The inmate cut his wrists, then threatened to infect any officers who
came near him.
The incident then snowballed into a full disturbance with other inmates
lighting fires, flooding cells and throwing debris. That’s when Windsor’s
new Institutional Crisis Intervention Team (ICIT) swung into action.
Team members were able to quickly subdue the rioting inmates and remove them
from the area without injury. ICIT also extinguished the fires, after the
Windsor fire department refused to enter the area until all of the potential
weapons were removed.
A Windsor fire official stated that the quick actions of members prevented a
potential disaster. Fire investigators estimate that if the fires had burned for
an additional 5-15 minutes, the paint could have ignited and a flash fire would
have engulfed the jail.
"This is a testament to the professionalism of all of our members,"
said Brian Chauvin, Local 135’s Employee Relations Committee chair.
"Windsor has lobbied to get ICIT here for years, and this was our new team’s
first activation. All of our staff deserve praise for how they handled this
The Windsor disturbance proves why the province needs professional, trained
public service correctional officers. Is anybody at Queen’s Park paying
Looking for escort violations
A number of violations to the new escort policy are being reported to OPSEU.
Barry Scanlon, chair of the OPSEU Corrections Ministry Employee Relations
Committee, asks that ALL violations to the policy be reported.
If a violation to the escort policy occurs, please send the following
- The date and time of the incident
- The name of the inmate
- The name of the escorting officer(s)
- The name of the supervisor on duty
- The location the escort was going to
- What concerns were raised at the time
- Any occurrence reports/work refusals filed
Information is to be sent by FAX to Barry Scanlon, c/o the Guelph Regional
Office (519) 837-9187.
Is there a doctor in the house?
Not at the Owen Sound Jail. Sources report that inmates at the jail have no
inside access to a medical doctor since the expiry of the previous doctor’s
It would appear that inmates requiring medical treatment in Owen Sound will
have to ferried back and forth to the hospital. Anyone want to place bets how
much extra that is going to cost? However, no bets will be allowed on whether
the Ministry will use those dollar figures to try to justify privatization. That
is a foregone conclusion.
Vacation grievance going to arbitration
OPSEU has rejected a proposed Ministry settlement to the union’s vacation
Portions of the settlement did nothing to address OPSEU’s concerns on the
vacation issue. As such, this grievance will now proceed to arbitration. We will
keep you posted on the progress.
The Resolution Warrior continues to chisel away at Ontario municipalities.
The resolution count hits 171 this week with the addition of the Town of
Kingsville (southeast of Windsor) and the Township of Sioux Narrows – Nestor
Falls (south of Kenora).
Our thanks go out once again to Len Mason of Local 737 (Thunder Bay Jail)
who, we would like to point out, has gotten over 100 resolutions on his own.
Your dedication is above and beyond the call, Len. Congratulations!
For campaign information, call Don Ford (ext. 442) or Carol Whitehead
(ext. 356) at
1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
.Ontario Public Service Employees Union
100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8
Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman, president.
Return to top of page