Benefits of a cooperation agreement with OPSEU/SEFPO


An open letter to all investigating coroners:

Nov. 12, 2021

Re: Stronger Together. Stronger with OPSEU/SEFPO.

Over the past decade, almost every other person on staff at the OCC – including managers – have seen their wages go up.

But not front-line investigative coroners. The OCA has repeatedly asked the OCC to open talks about our wages and working conditions. We’ve been repeatedly told that not only is there no money in the budget to address our wages or our working conditions, but also that the quality of our work leaves something to be desired. In other words: to take it or leave it.

Now it’s about to get worse.

As we’re all aware, the OCC is planning to change the coroner delivery model, making us all contract workers with secret, individual contracts. Alone, none of us have any bargaining power. And we’d be competing against each other in a race to the bottom.

We believe it’s time for Ontario’s coroners to turn a corner with OCC by uniting our voices and demanding that we bargain collectively in the same way as crown attorneys, professional engineers, and law officers of the crown.

To help with this, the OCA executive has negotiated and enthusiastically endorses a tentative “cooperation agreement” with the union OPSEU/SEFPO.

With 180,000 members in the Ontario public sector, OPSEU/SEFPO is an experienced and powerful voice with government and employers. By partnering with OPSEU/SEFPO, the OCC and the Ministry of the Solicitor General will be forced to begin hearing and addressing our concerns.

All of Ontario’s coroners will have a chance to hear more about this cooperation agreement, and ask any questions they have, during virtual townhall meetings on Nov. 23, Nov. 30, Dec. 1, Dec. 7, and Dec. 11.

And as promised, all Ontario coroners will also have the chance to vote on the cooperation agreement between Dec. 10 and Dec. 13.

Please vote! The more of us who vote in favour of the agreement, the stronger will be our demands for fairer bargaining, and a better Coroner system for all.


Dr. Jeannie Walton – OCA President
Dr. Geoff Bond – OCA Treasurer & Past President
Dr. Nick Cuberovic – OCA Secretary
Dr. Mark Whittaker – OCA Communications, Web Master & IT
Dr. Robert Reddoch – OCA Regional Representative
Dr. Steve Bodley – OCA Regional Representative

Cooperation Agreement between OCA and OPSEU/SEFPO



Ontario Coroners Association



Ontario Public Service Employees Union


WHEREAS OCA is a professional association that represents the interests of over 300 Coroners employed by the Province of Ontario;

WHEREAS the Executive of the OCA has determined that the interests of their members would be best served if they had the legal right to bargain collectively and were represented by OPSEU, an established trade union within the meaning of the Labour Relations Act with a strong democratic structure, expert staff, and an excellent track record in the Ontario Public Service;

WHEREAS a recent online poll of Coroners found that 95.6% of respondents broadly supported representation by OPSEU, and directed the Executive to proceed;

NOW THEREFORE the Parties agree to work cooperatively as provided below in order to secure collective bargaining rights for all individuals employed as Coroners by the Province of Ontario (the “Coroners”) with OPSEU as their lawful bargaining agent.

Campaign Cooperation

  1. OPSEU will conduct a campaign to inform Coroners of the benefits of collective bargaining rights and representation by OPSEU.  The campaign will include activities such as meetings with the OCA and/or groups of Coroners, communications directly to Coroners, card signing, online publications, communications and meetings with Government.
  2. The Parties will jointly coordinate the campaign by sharing advice, available information, membership resources, etc.  The responsibility for determining the activities of the campaign and any costs that arise will be borne by OPSEU.
  3. In the course of the campaign, OPSEU may seek bargaining rights for Coroners through a framework agreement with the Crown, an application for certification, and/or other legal action.  These options and related considerations will be discussed by the Parties in the course of the campaign, and responsibility for the decision will be OPSEU’s.  The Parties confirm their shared interest and preference in a separate bargaining unit of Coroners in the OPS under a framework agreement.
  4. The OCA and its Executive members confirm that they support representation by OPSEU, and will exclusively support OPSEU as bargaining agent for Coroners in Ontario while this Agreement remains in effect.
  5. Any discussions between the Parties or information or documents shared or developed in the course of the campaign, including strategic considerations, decisions, or membership lists and information, will be kept strictly confidential to the Parties, except as may be mutually agreed or if required by law.  This provision will remain in force indefinitely in the event this Agreement is discontinued.

Membership Rights

  1. No Coroner will be considered a member of OPSEU for any purpose as a result of this Cooperation Agreement.  Nevertheless, OPSEU in its discretion may invite the OCA Executive, OCA members, or Coroners to attend OPSEU union events as participants or observers including meetings, Convention, conferences, educationals, rallies and community events.
  2. As of the date that an individual employed as a Coroner signs an OPSEU membership card, or that OPSEU attains collective bargaining rights for the Coroners, the rights and responsibilities of the Coroners will be determined in accordance with the OPSEU Constitution.
  3. Once OPSEU attains collective bargaining rights, or as soon as possible thereafter, the OPSEU Executive Board will charter a province-wide new local of OPSEU for the Coroners (the “OPSEU Local”).  The OPSEU Local will include only the Coroners and will be chartered in accordance with article 12 of the OPSEU Constitution.
  4. The OPSEU Local will have the full status and rights accorded to locals and members of OPSEU, on the same basis as all other locals and members of OPSEU, which include the rights to:
    1. Elect Local Executive Members and participate in union elections and policy formulation within OPSEU’s democratic structures, including electing delegates to OPSEU Convention;
    2. receive advice and representation for collective bargaining, campaigns and/or grievance arbitration through OPSEU staff, external counsel, and central funds;
    3. receive rebates on regular union dues in accordance with article 20 of the OPSEU Constitution;
    4. attend OPSEU educational and training programs;
    5. join local labour councils and other organizations, and engage in community activities; and
    6. exercise local autonomy and control over local expenditures and revenues as guaranteed by the OPSEU Constitution.
  5. It is expressly understood that bargaining rights are held by OPSEU and not by the OPSEU Local, as for any Local of OPSEU. The election and the composition of the bargaining team for any collective agreement negotiations for Coroners will be determined in accordance with the terms of the OPSEU Constitution, and such team will be elected by the members of the OPSEU Local.
  6. The OPSEU Local may promulgate local by-laws in accordance with the OPSEU Constitution, and until by-laws are so promulgated, the default by-laws for all OPSEU locals, as set out in the OPSEU Constitution, will apply.


  1. At all times during the life of this Cooperation Agreement, the OCA will conduct its affairs independently as it sees fit.  OPSEU will have no role in the internal affairs or governance of the OCA.  In accordance with paragraph 2, the OCA will keep OPSEU informed of any issues or positions taken that could impact on the campaign or on representation by OPSEU.
  2. The Parties agree that this Cooperation Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties.  Any modification to this Agreement must be mutually agreed and in writing.
  3. This Cooperation Agreement may be discontinued by either Party on fourteen days written notice.

To be signed by:

Warren (Smokey) Thomas

President, OPSEU

Dr. Jeannie Walton

President, OCA

Ontario Coroners – Time to turn the corner

The Ontario Coroners Association