Dear Members and Staff,
Earlier today, OPSEU/SEFPO commenced legal action against Warren Thomas, Eduardo Almeida and Maurice Gabay. The statement of claim filed in Superior Court sets out allegations against these individuals and seeks damages of over $6,000,000.
Today’s statement of claim is just a first step. I want to be clear to you, our staff and members, and the people of Ontario who we dutifully serve, that we will not waiver in our commitment to seeking justice in this matter, and we have the full support of the Board to pursue all available legal avenues. Our actions will be guided by our commitment to act with integrity, our dedication to financial responsibility and our deep respect for the trust our members and Ontarians place in us every day.
I want to assure you that despite today’s news our Union remains strong and our finances stable. We still have the resources needed to execute on our mission. The actions we have taken to date will strengthen OPSEU/SEFPO by identifying problems, acting swiftly to fix them, and seeking justice for our members.
Because we have commenced legal action, we are very limited in terms of what we can repeat or comment on publicly at this time. However, we know that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Pursuing our claims in a public forum like a court of law allows you to learn about these issues and to follow what OPSEU/SEFPO is doing about them. In the meantime, I can provide you with some background as to how we got to this moment.
We moved forward with the forensic audit following our new Board’s election in April after our new First Vice President/Treasurer and I started to get our heads around our current financial position, including a review of contracts, financial statements, and the books overall. Through that process, numerous concerns came to light that required further third-party scrutiny.
We wanted and needed to get this right. With the support of the Board, we engaged a forensic auditor—a well-respected third party who would give us a full picture of exactly what happened, who might have been involved and the full impact to our finances. This information has been crucial in helping us make the right decisions about what steps to take next, and most importantly how we stop this from ever happening again. Where abnormalities have been found, they have been addressed swiftly.
We will continue to act and work collaboratively with the appropriate authorities. We will update you to the fullest extent we are able as things unfold.
I’m sure that over the coming days there will be many opinions and speculation circulating. Let me be clear. As your President, I am responsible for making this right. Though we are limited in what we can say at this time, I will ensure that we are sharing the most up to date and accurate information both internally and with the media.
I know that this is troubling news to take in, but I give you my commitment that we will work tirelessly to rebuild trust. Unions exist to bring workers together, to harness our energy, and to build our power—solidarity is our strength, and it is earned through a shared commitment to justice and integrity. I recognize the privilege it is to lead OPSEU/SEFPO and assure you that I will ceaselessly honour that commitment.
JP Hornick, President, OPSEU/SEFPO