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Lock Talk:  A Publication of the OPSEU Corrections Campaign

November 26, 2003

Move to Ministry of Children's Services raises many questions and concerns

On the afternoon of Monday, November 24, 2003, the acting Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services contacted the Corrections MERC by phone. At that time, the Minister indicated that within the hour there would be public announcement regarding the transfer of youth services from the Corrections Ministry to the Ministry of Children's Services.

During the call, we were given the same information on this issue that was subsequently made public knowledge.

Listed below are the questions we asked the acting Deputy Minister, along with the responses received:

Q. What is the timeframe for the transfer from MCSCS to Ministry of Children's Services?

DM Response: There is no timeframe at this point.

Q. How will this transfer be carried out?

DM Response: There is no detailed transfer plan developed yet.

Q. What will happen in shared adult/young offender facilities?

DM Response: It is not known yet.

Q. What will happen in Probation and Parole offices where there are both adult and young offender case loads?

DM Response: It is not known yet.

Q. Are there any plans to privatize any of the public youth services being transferred over to the Ministry of Children's Services?

DM Response: There have been no discussions between senior bureaucrats and the Minister of Children's Services regarding this issue. There has not been any indication that privatization of the transferred publicly operations is planned.

Q. Will the Ministry meet with the Corrections MERC as soon as possible to discuss and address the job security and job mobility issues of our members who are going to be affected by this transfer?

DM Response: Yes.

We will report back to you as soon as we have any more information regarding this issue.
 

A K"winter" chill

As a general rule, it is wise to think prior to speaking. As well, especially in Corrections, it is wise to operate on the assumption of "innocent until proven guilty".

Last week, there was a news report that an inmate involved in a high profile kidnapping case may have been accidentally released from the Niagara Detention Centre. When faced by reporters, new Corrections Minister Monte Kwinter immediately condemned staff at the Niagara Detention Centre, saying that a "systemic problem" exists, and that there would be discipline.

Just one problem, Mr. Kwinter: At the time you made those statements, you hadn't done an investigation yet.

No one knows better than our members what problems lie not only in the Corrections system, but in the legal system as a whole. With respect to this incident, we all thank God that this woman survived her ordeal.

All we ask, however, is that our Minister respect the work our members do and ascertain the facts prior to pointing fingers. Have confidence in us, and we will return the favour. Together, we can then work together to repair the damage done over the past eight years.

Mr. Kwinter is new. Let's hope he is a quick study.

For more information, call Don Ford (ext. 442) at 1-800-268-7376 or (416) 443-8888.

e-mail: dford@opseu.org

Ontario Public Service Employees Union
100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8
www.opseu.org

Original authorized for distribution by Leah Casselman, president.

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