It is with great sadness that I announce the tragic loss of one of our OPSEU members from Local 448, Karen Gottschalk-Millar.
Karen, a valued and respected Residential Counsellor at a Kemptville group home operated by Pathways to Independence, was the victim of a homicide in her workplace on Friday night. The suspect arrested was a supported individual living at the home.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, her friends, and her colleagues during this very difficult time. OPSEU flags are being flown at half-mast today, in remembrance of Karen.
Violence in the workplace such as this is absolutely unacceptable. The work that our members do in supportive homes across Ontario is often dangerous, and the government and employers must ensure that every effort is made to keep our workplaces safe.
OPSEU always takes every step possible to make sure that members feel safe in their workplaces, and I encourage all of our members to get in touch with the union if you have any concerns about your own safety.
As a police investigation into the homicide is still ongoing, I will not make any further comment on the incident until a more appropriate time.
To Karen’s coworkers and OPSEU Local 448 members, we know that you are going through a great deal of shock, trauma, and pain as a result of this loss. OPSEU stands with you. We share your loss and your concern. We will not rest until you feel safe in your workplace.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas