On Monday July 11, 2016 members of the OPSEU Local 329 executive and other OPSEU representatives met with the Auditor General of Ontario, Bonnie Lysyk, after her tour of Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care.
Lysyk’s mandate is to determine whether taxpayers are getting value for their money. As such, the main discussion focused on the concerns surrounding the public-private partnership (P3) building.
Waypoint’s provincial forensic division is home to patients who have committed serious crimes but have been found not criminally responsible or unfit to stand trial by the courts. The group discussed some of the serious incidents that have occurred in that division. Workers say violent patient-on-staff attacks are more severe now than ever before, because of problems with the construction of the building. Patients have been able to dismantle parts of their rooms to create weapons that can be used against staff.
OPSEU representatives at the meeting informed Lysyk about other deficiencies of the new building, which opened in 2014, and the added dangers they present to staff. Besides problems with the design of the facility, there have been numerous incidents of security equipment malfunctioning.
The Auditor General also took some time to listen to the local’s concerns over staffing levels. There is currently a ratio of 55 per cent full- time staff to 45 per cent part-time staff at Waypoint. Attendees stressed the need for more full-time staff to provide continuity of care and promote a therapeutic relationship. Staff also suggested that the lack of programming for the patients could incite more violent attacks on staff.
Lysyk will present her final report to the public in December.