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Disability Rights Caucus Terms of Reference

Disability Rights Caucus Terms of Reference


Article 1: Name:

1.1  The Caucus shall be known as the “Disability Rights Caucus” of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

Article 2: Aims and Purposes:

2.1 The function of the Caucus shall be:

a. to provide a safe and healthy space for members of the Disability Rights Caucus to discuss their issues and develop strategies to address the issues.

b. to increase awareness and understanding of equity issues as they related to individuals with disabilities and to liaise with the respective Provincial Committee(s).

c. to identify barriers and denied rights that prohibit full participation of persons with disabilities within OPSEU and the broader society.

d. to present recommendations to the Provincial Committee(s) or to Departments of OPSEU for action and/or referral to the Executive Board on  issues related to barriers and rights that affect individuals with disabilities within OPSEU, the workplace and the broader society.

e.  to liaise with OPSEU members with a disability as defined under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Article 3: Membership:     

3.1 The Caucus members will be selected with consideration to the following:

a. geographic balance of the seven (7) regions

b. a wide range of disabilities with a balance of visible and non-evident/non-visible disabilities

c. mix of community and union activity

d. gender balance

e. a desire to network, advocate, educate, and increase  equality for individuals with disabilities

3.2  It is recommended that one (1) OPSEU staff member from the Equity Unit is assigned to the Caucus.  The assigned Equity Unit Officer may attend Caucus meeting with voice but no vote.

3.3  The Caucus shall not exceed ten (10) members; a retiree can be a member.

3.4 Terms will be consistent with the OPSEU constitution.  A member who has completed a term will be eligible for reconsideration under the same criteria as Article 3.1.

3.5  When vacancy(s) occur an application will be sought from OPSEU membership.  The Equity Unit will receive the application, acknowledge receipt of the application and remove all identifying information (name and local).  The Caucus will select a committee from the Caucus comprised of three (3) members and the assigned OPSEU staff member.  This committee will be known as the Caucus Selection Committee.  The applications will then be forwarded to the Caucus Selection Committee.   The Caucus Selection Committee shall present their recommendation to the Caucus.  The Caucus will make the final determination of the new Caucus member(s).

Article 4: Officers:

4.1  Disability Rights Caucus officers shall be elected in accordance with OPSEU’s constitution.  Such elections shall be conducted by an Officer of the Equity Unit and recorded in meeting minutes that are forwarded to the Equity Unit.

4.2  Two (2) Co-Chairs, at least one of whom identifies as female, and one (1) alternate shall be elected from members of the Caucus.

4.3 zhe Co-Chairs shall work together to establish meeting dates, agenda items and address issues between meetings as required.    

4.4  One (1) OPSEU Executive Board member and one (1) Officer from the Equity Unit may offer support to the caucus.  The Executive Board liaison and Equity Unit then may attend caucus meetings with voice but no vote.  It is understood that participation of all others is by invitation only.

Article 5: Finance:

5.1  The activities of the Caucus shall be funded centrally by OPSEU, as approved in the budget at the Annual Convention.

5.2  A quarterly budget report of actual expenses compared to the approved budget shall be provided to the Co- Chairs of the Caucus by the assigned Officer of the Equity Unit.

5.3  To support the Caucus budget, an annual report shall be provided to the Executive Board by a Co-Chair outlining the activities of the Caucus.

Article 6: Meetings:

6.1  The Caucus shall meet a minimum of four (4) times a year.  Two meetings will use teleconferencing or videoconferencing to keep budgeting costs down.

6.2 Agenda Items shall be forwarded to Caucus members three (3) weeks in advance of all meetings; members of Caucus will have the opportunity for input of additional agenda items.

6.3 At each Caucus meeting one (1) member will be selected to take minutes and forward the minutes to Caucus for comment.  The revised minutes will then be forwarded by a Co-Chair to the OPSEU Equity Unit, ideally within fifteen (15) days of the meeting date.

6.4 The order of business at Caucus meetings will be consistent with OPSEU constitution.

6.5 Robert‘s Rules of Order will be used when the Caucus has quorum.  Quorum will be a majority of the Caucus members. 

6.6 The Caucus may hold a meeting at Convention open to all OPSEU members who self identify having a disability.

Article 7: Approval and Amendment of Terms of Reference:

7.1 The terms of reference shall be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote at a meeting of the Caucus in which quorum is met.

7.2  Any subsequent amendments to the Terms of Reference shall be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote at a meeting of the Caucus in which quorum is met. 

7.3  The Terms of Reference shall be reviewed every two (2) years on even years.