Nearly 80 demonstrators descended
on Corrections Minister Rob Sampson’s constituency office on
Mon., Oct. 1 with a very clear message: Public safety is in
Probation and parole officers
traveled from across the province to protest the serious public
safety crisis that has eroded community corrections over the
past decade. Critical staff shortages, crushing workloads, rapid
technology and policy change as well as insufficient support and
funding of corrections have led to a lack of effective offender
supervision and rehabilitation. Officers say that these
conditions have put the safety of the public and probation staff
“We care about public safety,”
said Gord Longhi, a probation and parole officer from Brampton
and the head organizer for the protest. “Rob Sampson would
like to continue the illusion that this government is tough on
crime and that everything is running smoothly. We know it’s
not. It’s time that the public knew that as well.”
Guest speakers included Liberal
Justice Critic David Levac, NDP Justice Critic Peter Kormos and
David Kerr, probation and parole representative of the OPSEU
Corrections Ministry Employee Relations Committee.
David Levac acknowledged that
probation and parole officers did not normally take to the
streets in protest.
“This is not the norm for you,”
Levac said. “You would rather be taking care of the safety of
our communities. I appreciate you being here, because you have
in your heart the dedication of your profession, your job and
the things that you do. You have been left with no alternative
because the government is not listening to you.
Levac went on to praise the
officers for the quality service they provide. “There are
70,000 people that wished you didn’t do your job so well,”
Levac said, referring to the number of clients that probation
and parole deal with province-wide. “Where’s Rob Sampson? I’m
asking him: Get out from behind your desk and visit these
Peter Kormos expressed his
admiration for the officers. “I’m standing here with the new
generation of probation and parole officers in the province of
Ontario, a generation of probation and parole officers who have
never before been as well trained, as professional and as
committed to meaningful corrections in this province. I salute
you for that.”
Kormos had little good to say
about Corrections Minister Rob Sampson. “Rob Sampson is not a
stupid man. He is simply lazy and indifferent when it comes to
corrections. Mr. Sampson, you are not running a bank anymore.
You’re not authorizing loans to corporate friends. Mr.
Sampson, you are responsible for the safety of communities
across this province, communities big and small. Mr. Sampson,
you’re responsible for the welfare of probation and parole
officers who are better trained and more committed than ever,
but who find themselves increasingly without the tools and the
resources necessary to do their jobs.”
We congratulate Gord Longhi for
organizing such a successful demonstration. Meticulous planning
and attention to detail made this event a roaring success.
(to see pictures of the event, go to
Shift premium decision handed
The Grievance Settlement Board (GSB)
has handed down a decision on weekend shift premiums. The $8.00
per day weekend premium for corrections was a new provision in
the latest OPS collective agreement.
In response to grievances filed
by individuals, locals and OPSEU Head Office, the GSB ruled as
The weekend premium
is only paid for shifts that fall entirely within the time
period specified in the collective agreement (3 p.m. Friday to 7
a.m. Monday). For example, shifts that start 15 minutes prior to
3 p.m. Friday or extend 15 minutes past 7 a.m. Monday do not
qualify for the premium.
Less than full shifts
Employees qualify for
the premium only if they complete the entire shift. Employees
who leave early due to illness or WSIB get the premium, but
employees who leave early voluntarily (vacation, time owing,
etc.) do not get the premium.
Employees who are
scheduled to work overtime for an entire shift qualify for the
premium. Employees who work a partial shift or a partial shift
extension do not qualify for the premium.
The GSB ruled that if
two employees exchange shifts voluntarily that neither employee
qualifies for the weekend premium. That includes situations
where both employees were originally scheduled to work during
the weekend time frame.
In order to qualify
for the premium, the employee called back must work an entire
shift. Call back for a partial shift does not qualify for the
Unclassified employees qualify
for the weekend premium in all cases where allowed above.
Unclassifieds do not get the premium if they are called in for
work and are not replacing an employee on a regularly scheduled
shift (e.g. additional staffing in an emergency).
Retroactivity for these
grievances follow the same rules as any other grievance to which
retroactivity applies. Retroactivity is calculated 30 working
days prior to the date of the grievance that applies to you,
whether it is an individual grievance, a group grievance or an
OPSEU policy grievance.
Watch here for more information
on this issue as it becomes available.
Riot quelled at HWDC
Almeida credits officers for
A disturbance at the
Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre on Friday, Sept. 28 resulted
in $5,000 damage to a unit that was trashed by at least 20
inmates. The riot began when a correctional officer searching
for a missing broom handle interrupted a pair of inmates as they
reeled drugs through a broken window into their cell. When the
officer left to get help, the inmates jammed the unit door and
destroyed the common room. The disturbance ended peacefully on
Saturday morning when the inmates surrendered. No injuries to
staff or inmates were reported.
Local 248 president Edward
Almeida says that his members predicted something like this
“The cell windows need better
protection,” Almeida said. “While there is extra metal
protection over some, others are just standard security windows.
They aren't that difficult to smash.”
Almeida also charges that lack of
staffing has played a role in security breakdowns at the jail.
“When the population of a city grows, they increase the number
of police,” said Almeida. “The same should apply to the
Almeida said that lack of
injuries in this incident is solely due to the professionalism
of the staff involved.
“Given the little amount of
resources provided by the employer, the staff rose above the
situation and showed themselves for the dedicated professionals
they are. That’s what you get with a well trained, motivated
For campaign information, call
Don Ford (ext. 442) at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888.
Ontario Public Service Employees Unionwww.opseu.org
100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8
Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman,