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OPSEU’s Equity Unit

OPSEU’s Equity Unit


The Equity Unit advises OPSEU provincial and regional committees and caucuses on issues related to women, people with disabilities, workers of colour, Aboriginal workers, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersexed, asexual, queer, questioning and two spirited (LGBTTIAQQ2S) workers, francophones and young workers.  The Unit also provides strategic expertise and support to staff and individual members in relation to campaigns, grievances, mediations, harassment and discrimination complaints, policy initiatives and training related to human rights.

Our job as OPSEU members and activists is to promote and maintain our union’s message around equity. The work of OPSEU’s Equity Committees, Caucuses and the Unit provides a foundation for this work. However, to ensure that equity reaches every member and every workplace we need every member to be a champion for equity.

You can find out more about our work, how to get involved and related resources below.

Contact the Equity Unit

The Equity Unit can be contacted in confidence at:

Email:  equity@opseu.org

Phone: 416.443.8888 or 1.800.268.7376 ext. 8790


Fridmar Facunda, Bilingual Equity Officer, ext. 8678
Tim Vining, Equity Officer, ext. 8679
Libby Zeleke, Human Rights Officer, ext. 8781
Marg Smoke, Human Rights Officer, ext. 8235
Sophie Tomé, A/Secretary, ext. 8790

Statement of Respect

Harassment or discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated at OPSEU functions.

Whenever OPSEU members gather, we welcome all peoples of the world.  We will not accept any unwelcoming words, actions or behaviours against our union members.

We accord respect to all persons, regardless of age, political affiliation, including people of colour, women, men, First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, members of ethno-racial groups, people with disabilities, gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender/transsexual people, and gender diverse persons, francophones and all persons whose first language is not English.

In our diversity we will build solidarity as union members.

If you believe that you are being harassed or discriminated against contact _____________ (specify names)* for immediate assistance.

*It is the event coordinator's responsibility to designate at least two qualified persons.  The names and phone numbers of such persons must be listed.  One of the designated members shall be female.

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Equity Committees and Caucuses

Aboriginal Circle

Disability Rights Caucus

Provincial Francophone Committee

Provincial Human Rights Committee

Provincial Women's Committee

Provincial Young Workers Committee

Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel

Workers of Colour

The OPSEU Social Mapping Project

The Social Mapping Project (SMP) is a ground-breaking demographic survey and review of OPSEU membership systems.  Launched in 2010, it was the first of its kind. It has since allowed OPSEU to identify gaps and barriers by providing the necessary information to ensure services meet the needs of all its members.  The SMP was also a response to the changing demographics of Ontario and the need for OPSEU to plan, improve and monitor its services to the membership, specifically to the groups of focus identified in the study.  New priorities, programs and policies have been centred on promoting greater diversity.  This move towards increased inclusion has resulted in a better understanding of the composition of the membership and workforce, and in turn, has placed OPSEU  on the map as a leader in human rights. Here is a quick timeline of the work:

  • 2010 – Phase I of the project included a comprehensive survey of all OPSEU members.  Almost 27,000 members participated.
  • 2011 – Phase II examined the education and election membership systems at OPSEU and made recommendations for improvements.
  • 2012 – Recommendations from Phase III were released with a focus on reviewing the union’s communications, bargaining and organizing systems.

For more information about social mapping achievements and resources like Executive Summaries of the Social Mapping reports, social mapping poster and videos go to: OPSEU Social Mapping Achievements.

Observances Calendar

OPSEU is committed to the principle of freedom of religion and upholding the right to equal treatment on the basis of creed.  In recognition of these rights and principles, which include respect for religious beliefs, practices and observances, the Equity Unit has compiled a calendar of religious observances. Major religious celebrations, which represent the holiest time of the year for many worshipers, have also been highlighted.  It should also be noted that there are many other forms of religions and traditions that may fall outside the scope of the calendar we have provided.

In addition, key human rights and equity dates have also been included.  These dates promote achievements of the labour movement, and human rights and community organizations who have worked practively to defend and improve members' rights and working conditions.

While the calendar is not exhaustive, it does provide guidelines to assist in planning and scheduling OPSEU meetings, activities and events. To encourage inclusion and full participation, consideration should be given when scheduling events that could fall around these times.

Religious Observances 2015
Human Rights and Equity Observances 2015
2016 Observances Calendar.pdf

Human Rights Accommodation

OPSEU Accommodation Policy

The purpose of the OPSEU Accommodation Policy is to ensure that OPSEU provides accommodation to members in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.  The goal of an accommodation is to allow OPSEU members to participate fully in union-related activities and functions.

Members who require accommodation may direct their requests to the Equity Unit or an event planner by completing an Accommodation Request Form (see below).  Members will be required to identify accommodation-related needs and to provide information about capabilities, limitations and  restrictions in order to substantiate requests for accommodation.

The Equity Unit will assess all accommodation requests on an individualized basis and will explore accommodation options.  All accommodation-related information will be kept confidential except where disclosure is necessary to make arrangements or to process expense claims.

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OPSEU Accommodation Fund

The Accommodation Fund is a central fund administered by the Equity Unit.  Approved member expenses required for accommodation (e.g. materials in alternate formats, sign language interpretation, single room hotel accommodation, extra caregiving costs) will be reimbursed through the OPSEU Accommodation Fund for Locals, regional events, Provincial Committees and Caucuses.  Approved accommodation expenses for central events are covered by event budgets.  Access to any reimbursement of expenses for accommodation is obtained through the Accommodation Request Form process.

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Harassment and Discrimination Policies

OPSEU Harassment and Discrimination Policies

Case Law

Equality Law