For the last few months CAS employers, and the bargaining agents for unionized CAS staff – CUPE, OPSEU, CEP, the Simcoe CAS ea – and government representatives have been engaged in a provincial discussion table process (PDT) in an effort to:
- explore the areas of systemic mutual interest
- increase labour stability in the child welfare sector during a time of change
- create an environment that facilitates sustainable quality services
After several days of meetings in June facilitated by a representative from the Ministry of Labour, in the early morning of Saturday, June 4, 2011, CAS employer representatives and CUPE, OPSEU, CEP and the Simcoe CAS ea signed a tentative Consensus Agreement. All signatories agreed that this Agreement would provide positive opportunities to address systemic issues in the child welfare sector. Ministry representatives were present for the entire process. Finalizing this landmark Agreement was subject to government approval. The government has been reviewing the Consensus Agreement since June 4th. Yesterday the ministry informed the employer and union representatives that they were unable to respond to the Agreement and were not able to provide any time frame as to when they may respond – or if they would respond at all.
Where are we at?
The agreement signed by the employer and labour representatives put mechanisms, structures and processes in place:
- to deal effectively with the many long-standing challenges faced by the sector
- to provide increased stability during the government’s major restructuring of the sector
- to enhance the quality of services and supports for at-risk children and their families.
Once the Ministry confirmed their support for the Consensus Agreement, the employers and labour representatives had planned to refer the Consensus Agreement to the parties at local tables for local table consideration. However, since the Ministry has not provided a response, we unable to do that at this time.
The government missed the opportunity to support an agreement which will address pressing sector systemic issues and transition the sector – as they said they would in the March 2011 budget document – to a new more cost-effective model for collective bargaining. The CAS sector will now revert to the existing model for negotiations – local bargaining tables.
Employer and Union
Throughout the process employers and unions worked constructively to find solutions to key systemic issues such as :
- health and safety
- sector wellness strategy
- workload pressures
- sector stability under restructuring
We feel the signed Consensus Agreement moved the sector forward to better support children and families.
Attached is the signed Consensus Agreement for your review. There will be further communication from your respective contacts.
Contacts for employer and labour unions are as follows:
Employer: Terry Daly firstname.lastname@example.org
CUPE: Kathy Johnson email@example.com
OPSEU: Tracy More firstname.lastname@example.org
CEP: Josephine Petcher email@example.com
Simcoe CAS ea: Steve Rainy firstname.lastname@example.org