Diverse group of people with hands up

OPSEU/SEFPO Mental Health and Addictions Division

The Mental Health and Addictions Division of OPSEU/SEFPO has been operating for over 20 years to promote awareness and treatment of mental health and addictions. The division is over 8,000 members strong and represents frontline workers in 13 CMHA agencies across the province, as well as in public hospitals.

OPSEU/SEFPO Mental Health and Addictions Division has had the ear of governments of all stripes and have led to concrete improvements in government policies and funding.  The talent and expertise and advice of this sector is recognized and respected by all political parties.

The Mental Health and Addictions Division is very active and is driven by frontline workers in the field who have the experience and expertise to know what is working and what isn’t.

The Division holds yearly bargaining conferences, where every Local across the province is represented.  At the bargaining conference the Division discusses and puts forward suggestions of language to negotiate into your Local’s collective agreement.

The division also puts out a twice-yearly newsletter to all members, that explains the accomplishments and challenges faced across the province in mental health and addictions.

OPSEU/SEFPO admires and respects Mental Health and Addictions workers and the very important work you do.

In fact, at the most recent convention of OPSEU in the spring,  OPSEU’s highest award for activism and mobilization, the Leah Casselman Award, went to Tischa Forster, of the former Oxford CMHA, for her tremendous advocacy work around Mental Health and Addictions in Oxford County and Province-wide.

Learn more about the Mental Health and Addictions Division.

What happens next?

In Canada, you have the Constitutional right to join and participate in a union. But becoming full union members with your co-workers doesn’t happen overnight.

Here’s a roadmap of what lies ahead:

  • Once you’ve signed your OPSEU/SEFPO card, encourage your co-workers to do the same. The more quickly a large group of you sign cards, the more quickly you’ll become members!
  • Watch your personal email and texts for updates and events.
  • Once a large group of you have signed cards, OPSEU/SEFPO files an application to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) and then two things happen:
    • 1. Your “freeze period” protection begins
    • 2. The ORLB schedules a secret ballot vote within the coming weeks or months.
  • Your “freeze period” protection. Once we’ve applied to the ORLB, it is against the law for your managers to arbitrarily change any of your conditions or working conditions. 
  • Your secret ballot vote. This is your chance to formally vote on becoming OPSEU/SEFPO members. When the majority of you vote to join OPSEU/SEFPO, you become members!
  • Bargaining preparation. With the help and guidance of OPSEU/SEFPO, you will elect your bargaining and decide together on your top priorities – better wages, health and safety protections, and a legal voice to be heard and respected!
  • Bargaining begins. Your bargaining team and OPSEU/SEFPO staff bargain your first Collective Agreement.
  • Have your say. Once your bargaining team reaches a “tentative agreement” with the employer, you and all your co-workers vote. If the majority vote no, your bargaining team and the employer go back to the table. When the majority vote yes, congratulations! You have your first Collective Agreement.