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Backgrounder to crisis in children’s services

Backgrounder to crisis in children’s services


Children"s Aid Societies CASE Notes

The Sector Executive thanks the regional mobilizers: Brenda Malott, Melody Lachance, Tom Howard, Johanne Wyss-Huskinson, and Jane Kaija for all of their hard work on this campaign!  Thanks to all units who circulated our flyer and brought our message to your communities.

On June 7 units across Ontario launched the provincial lobby with fundraising events for vulnerable children.  Units in London, Brockville, Cornwall, Sudbury, Waterloo and Ottawa held events and were covered by local print media, radio and television.  For a review of coverage go to the OPSEU website:

In response to the OPSEU media coverage, the Minister of Children and Youth Services, Laurel Broten, wrote letters to the editor in the same communities.  OPSEU responded with a letter to the editor from unit presidents in those communities.   CAS OPSEU members have been meeting with MPPs from all three parties across the province asking the government to stop the CAS deficit crisis and bring the provincial CAS funding formula into the 21st century.  Members also demanded that poverty reduction be made a provincial priority.

Our campaign has been met by limited government action.  In November 2009 our sector joined with child treatment, other unions and employer groups, demanding that the Minister stop the funding crisis. The Minister responded with a stop gap measure of $26.9 million in February 2010, for child protection.

In May the Minister informed agencies that previous mitigation funds would now be rolled into 2010 allocations. Some additional money was also given to agencies for kinship and adoption programs.

Our position is that because not all agencies received funding assistance for their deficits, some will continue to be in a deficit position. In fact, some agencies received no funding assistance while other agencies, not enough.

With no increase to base funding the agencies that were facing bankruptcy will be in the same position in early fall.  This latest funding announcement only confirms the dire state of funding for these crucial services.  The Ministry must recognize that the policy vision for child welfare services has not been supported by the funding model. The outdated funding model must be changed to stop the persistent funding crisis in the sector.

In Solidarity, your CAS Sector Executive

Sustainability Commission Meeting with OPSEU, CUPE and CEP

On June 3 OPSEU front line workers joined sister unions in making presentations to the commission.

Presentations and recommendations to the commission addressed four key themes: 1) workload review; 2) impact of the funding crisis; 3) administrative expectations; and 4) First Nations communities. Members spoke about the challenges of implementing the “Transformation Agenda” under the current funding formula.  The rigidity of the formula imposes restraints on service levels, administrative infrastructure, and early intervention and prevention. 

With respect to First Nations, the Ministry has taken some initial welcome steps with the special appointment of John Beaucage, Aboriginal advisor to the Minister, and an investment of $8.5 million in May.  However, critical child protection challenges require immediate increases to core funding for both Northern agencies and First Nations communities to respond to the urgent needs of youth who continue to take their lives in the North.

The commissioners conveyed that there will be significant changes to come with respect to regulations governing our work. Unions present stated that consultation with front line workers is fundamental to this process and that regulations must address core workload and funding issues.

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October 2010

Bargaining Conference   “Local Leadership Day”

The fall bargaining conference will take place the week of October 11, 2010.  CUPE will be in attendance. This year the Sector Executive has added a leadership component to the conference.   Unit presidents will be asked to bring a unit mobilizer.  The leadership session will focus on strategies to build member involvement and to develop and strengthen mobilizing capacities.  

Feedback results from our latest campaign efforts indicated that units needed more time to plan events to get their members involved.  Unit presidents also reported feeling overburdened with the sole responsibility for mobilizing members. 

One of the goals of the “Local Leadership Day” is to engage unit presidents and mobilizers to develop a mobilizing network of members that can share in the leadership responsibility of engaging the local in mobilizing campaigns. 

Bargaining Updates

Local 639, Jeanne Sauve Family Services

Unit members mobilized to avert a strike and ratified a settlement in April 2010. Members mounted a bargaining campaign during contract negotiations to fight further lay offs and program closures. Members enlisted municipal support from the City Council and Mayor in Kapuskasing and received wide media coverage in the North.   

Local 739, Family and Children’s Services of District Rainy River

Members rally around each other as they prepare to undergo a merger with Kenora River later this year.


Dues Reminder:

Please remember to mail in your dues ($50.00) to Jane Kaija, 376 Simmons Rd. RR #3, Chelmsford POM 1LO.  Dues help support Sector expenses and also ensure that we have funds to continue to fulfill our obligations to the Brian MacIntosh Fund.


A new draft of the by-laws will be circulated to you in July. Please present at your next member AGM. Your unit feedback is a crucial part of this process!

Order Your Pink T-Shirts:

Contact Jane Kaija to place an order for

National Pink Shirt Day, February 25, 2011.

Next OACAS Meeting:

The next meeting will be held on September 14.

The June meeting was postponed due to the G20.


Fighting poverty connects us to service users

"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings." Nelson Mandela

Child protection workers witness the effects of poverty first hand everyday on the job. It is disheartening to face preventable neglect of children knowing that if communities rallied against poverty all children would have a better chance to succeed.  We endorse the Make Poverty History campaign and urge our members to become involved and informed in this fundamental struggle for a better world.  Go to the “Make Poverty History” website for action updates on local and global struggles.

Poverty reduction in Ontario -Social Assistance Review Report

The Social Assistance Review Advisory Council Report released its first report on June 14.  The Council promotes a new vision for income security that has a lot of potential to reduce poverty in the long run but is weak on what it asks the Ontario government to do now to help people on social assistance meet their basic daily living necessities. The Review panel recommends a consultation and system overhaul process that will take 12 to 18 months.  In the meantime the Ontario government has ignored the needs of the most vulnerable in the province. In its latest budget the government cut the Special Diet Allowance, reneged on the dental program for adult recipients, and reduced the woefully inadequate real income of recipients by 1% in the latest budget. 

For more information: 

Poverty Watch Ontario,

Poverty Action for Change

Coalition in York,  

Make Poverty History,

Bill 168

Workplace violence and workplace harassment are now recognized in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.  Employers must:

Prepare policies to address workplace violence and harassment, perform an assessment of the risks of workplace violence to workers and report back to the Joint Health and Safety Committee or Health and Safety representative

Develop and maintain a workplace violence program

Provide information and instruction to workers on workplace violence and harassment policies and programs

Both policies must be reviewed annually and reassess the risks of violence to protect workers 

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