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Community Connections Newsletter: Spring 2018

OPSEU Community Health Care Professionals
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For OPSEU members working in Sector 17, Community Health Care Professionals

To download a printable version, click here

Who We Are

OPSEU’s Community Health Care Professionals Division brings together members represented by approximately 43 Bargaining Units in workplaces that include: Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), community-based home care agencies (both for profit and not-for profit), community health centres, public health units, community addiction services, hospices and acquired brain injury services.

You can follow us on Facebook: OPSEU Community Healthcare Professionals Division, Sector 17 or check us out online at www.opseu.org/sector/community-health-care-professionals.

Elections and Sector Divisional Meeting

Elections for the CHCP Division Executive team were held in June 2017 during the Broader Public Service (BPS) Conference and Divisional Meeting. The new Executive team has several previous and new members, with Lucy Morton re-elected as Sector Chair.

Since the elections, your sector Executive has been reaching out to all of the sector bargaining units, to provide you with their contact information, and to connect-in with members about what is happening in each bargaining unit.

Meet your sector executive

Lucy Morton
Chair
lucyamorton@rogers.com

Erin Warman
Vice-Chair
erinwarman@hotmail.com

Kate Anderson
Secretary
kateanderson@yahoo.ca

Elaine Giles
Treasurer
elainegiles@hotmail.com

Marta Kedziorek
Member Representative
oceangreen_can@hotmail.com

Karen Gventer
Newsletter/Communications
kgventerg@gmail.com

Morgen Veres
Bargaining Representative
morgen.veres@gmail.com

Shari Greenhorn
Education
sharigreenhorn@gmail.com

Member Spotlight

Marta Kedziorek

Intake Care Coordinator, Champlain LHINCasual Occupational Therapist, Bruyere Continuing CareMembership Representative, CHCP Executive team

As the new Membership Representative I look forward to supporting our members by broadening my awareness of provincial policies that affect all of us as community health care professionals. I plan to take action by pushing for policies to reduce precarious working conditions, and to support improved wages, workloads and work-life balance for our members. Most importantly, I want to hear from you! Please reach out by emailing me at oceangreen_can@hotmail.com.

Central Bargaining Update: OPSEU members at LHINs ratify new deal

600 OPSEU members working at four of the province’s Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) voted 95 per cent in favour of accepting a tentative agreement reached between the employer and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

This was the first round of bargaining for LHINs workers since the Ontario government integrated all Community Care Access Centres into the LHINs in June 2017. Accordingly, four separate collective agreements were negotiated at one bargaining table.

For more info on the deal, visit: http://opseu.org/news/opseu-members-lhins-ratify-new-deal 

Sector Highlights

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s focus on community health care

Since the fall of 2015, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) has turned attention to the community health care sector. Starting with the release of the Patients First Act, the MOHLTC has been moving the sector through a series of legal and structural changes.

CCACs to LHINs

Between May 1 and June 21, 2017, all Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) in Ontario were folded into the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). OPSEU provided support to more than 600 members who were caught up in that transfer. To view OPSEU’s FAQ, visit: http://opseu.org/information/post-transition-faq-opseu-members-lhin-bargaining-units.  

OPSEU members who formerly worked for the CCACs continue to be OPSEU members as LHINs employees. Despite repeated promises by the MOHLTC that the transition would be smooth, it was a bumpy road to transition. The first round of LHINs central bargaining for this newly-structured group began last November.

Expert Panel Report

Last June, the MOHLTC released its report entitled, Public Health within an Integrated Health System: Report of the Minister’s Expert Panel on Public Health. Ultimately, the Minister’s Expert Panel proposed the reduction of the 36 existing public health entities, into 14 regional boards of health (to line up within the existing LHINs boundaries).

In its response to the MOHLTC, OPSEU argued that there are serious implications to the government’s proposal to establish 14 regional public health entities, and the subsequent changes to their governance structure. Just like the LHINs boards, the changes would dilute local authority and accountability, and threaten the capacity for local decision making in the best interest of the communities and patients being served, in favour of the provincial government’s overarching strategy for health care services.

As identified in OPSEU’s response to the Patients First Act, it has become clear that since their inception, the primary function of the LHINs has not centred on planning to provide services that meet population need. Rather, the LHINs have been used as a tool to prioritize the endless integration and restructuring of health care services, in order to cut them.

Proposed amendments to Regulation 566 made under the HPPA

On October 26, 2017, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care released 11 proposed amendments to regulations made under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, with the goal to “modernize them and ensure public health programs and services remain current to protect the health of Ontarians.”

During a narrow window of “consultation,” OPSEU submitted its response to the “Summary of Proposed Amendments to Regulations made under the HPPA,” through which the government proposed the removal of several existing public health professional qualifications requirements.

Here are some excerpts from OPSEU’s response:

OPSEU is deeply concerned that the removal of these professional qualifications is an attempt to cut costs by allowing Boards of Health to hire less qualified staff. This would have dangerous consequences for public health and safety.

…we wish to focus on three areas of concern in light of the information currently available to us:

  1. That the removal of professional qualifications under Regulation 566 is an attempt to cut costs by allowing Boards of Health to hire less qualified staff, with no regard for public health and safety.
  2. That the Standards Modernization process – in line with the broader health system transformations – is an attempt to facilitate the downloading of public health services.
  3. That in light of the recommendations of the Minister’s Expert Panel in Public Health, Standards Modernization is part of a much larger plan to restructure public health units in the image of LHINs (as brokers of services, but not direct providers of services), or perhaps even to integrate public health completely under the umbrella of the LHINs.”

By amending Regulation 566, the Ontario government will remove existing public health professional qualifications requirements. While the government has proposed outlining these requirements in a “policy guidance,” they would no longer be legally binding through regulation.

To read OPSEU’s full response, visit: http://opseu.org/information/submission-patients-matter-public-health-matters.

Stay tuned for more information from the Community Health Care Professionals Division!