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“I’m shocked”: Thomas on dismissal of workplace violence case, Royal Ottawa

We the North
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Ottawa – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is shocked to hear that charges against the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre were dismissed today by an Ontario judge. The charges laid under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act alleged that the hospital didn’t do enough to protect the three workers who were badly beaten by a patient four years ago.

These charges are not the only bad news coming out from the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. They have also been charged by the Ministry of Labour with five infractions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in another incident involving a registered nurse who was stabbed in the throat with a pen by a patient.

“This was an opportunity for a precedent to be set,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “I’m shocked that the judge decided to throw out the case. Where is the justice?”

Security and safety are paramount concerns in the mental health sector, and increasingly so, as more stories of assaults and injuries surface in Ontario, notably at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care in Penetanguishene and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.

The Brockville Mental Health Centre of the Division of the Royal Ottawa, where OPSEU represents 340 workers, has seen its own share of violence against workers. Kevin Hudson, President of Local 439 in Brockville, finds today’s news disturbing.

“These professionals are trained to be nurses and other health care workers. It’s not in their job description to fend off physical attacks,” said Hudson.

“It’s terrifying for those nurses who stood up and spoke out, pressing the charges. And, yet, they receive no justice.”

For more information: Kevin Hudson, 613-498-5473