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Municipally Speaking newsletter – September 2021

OPSEU Sector 13 Municipalities

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The Power of resilience and action: Message from OPSEU/SEFPO’s President and FVPT:

Vaccination rates are climbing in Ontario but, unfortunately, infection numbers are climbing as well. We’re not out of the woods yet. The Delta variant continues to spread, and a whole generation of kids in our day cares and primary schools still aren’t vaccinated.

Fortunately, the front-line heroes in OPSEU/SEFPO – including the roughly 2,500 of you in Sector 13 Municipalities – have displayed remarkable resilience in the face of all the dangerous challenges thrown at us by the pandemic.

There was no playbook when COVID-19 first hit. In the wake of SARS, there should have been. But there wasn’t, and that left a huge burden on you and your co-workers. You have more than risen to the challenge.

In the weeks and months ahead, it’s vital that we share with each other all that we’ve learned over the past year-and-a-half. Only then can we take meaningful action to protect ourselves and the people we serve in the future.

It won’t be easy. But after the courage and conviction we’ve seen from you and other OPSEU/SEFPO members during the pandemic, we have no doubt you’ll rise to the occasion.

In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, OPSEU/SEFPO

Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida
First Vice-President/Treasurer, OPSEU/SEFPO


Message from the Sector 13 Chair: Thank you for all you do

Over the course of the last 18 months, the Executive of Sector 13 have continued to meet and connect with our members. Some of our workplaces saw significant impacts on members with layoffs, remote work, work from home, and changes to workplace protocols. But despite all the upheaval and uncertainty, our members continued to provide the valuable public services the residents of Ontario rely on. Thank you for all you do.

The upcoming BPS Conference and Divisional Meetings is an important opportunity for us to connect, and I encourage all members to consider attending as a delegate. While still a virtual gathering, this event will provide us with important opportunities to network and build strength and solidarity.

In solidarity,

Tara Langford,
Chair, OPSEU/SEFPO Sector 13 – Municipalities


2021 Sector 13 Bargaining Conference

Our sector members had the opportunity to attend a virtual bargaining conference on April 15, 2021. We had good attendance and the feedback from participating members was all positive.

The conference focused on strong bargaining language and provided attendees with tools and strategies to take to the bargaining table.

An economic update was also provided, and it has become obvious that all levels of government will be working through the effects of COVID-19 for many years.


Settlement highlights

Almost half of the sector’s 33 bargaining units will be in bargaining in 2021. Settlements to date have been positive, and we hope that trend continues.

Here are some of the highlights of our most recent settlements:


Local 305 – The Corporation of the Town of Bracebridge

  • A four-year renewal agreement
  • General wage increase:
    • 1 per cent per cent on June 1, 2021
    • 1.5 per cent per cent on June1, 2022
    • 1.5 per cent per cent on June 1, 2023
    • 1.5 per cent per cent on June 1, 2024
  • increase in sick leave allowance days now three days per year; was two days per year
  • increase to stand-by pay now $3.33 an hour; was $1.92 an hour


Local 325 – The Town Corporation of the Town of Gravenhurst – FT&PT Outside Workers

  • A three-year renewal agreement
  • General wage increase:
    • 1 per cent on Apr 1/21
    • 1.5 per cent on Apr 1/22
    • 1.75 per cent on Apr 1/23
  • New – $300 for a health care spending account
  • $25 signing bonus will be paid within 60 days of ratification
  • rest period increase now two 15-minute rest periods per full-time shift; was two 10-minuterest periods per full-time shift


Local 325 – The Town Corporation of the Town of Gravenhurst – O&C & Technical

  • A three-year renewal agreement
  • General wage increase:
    • 1.25per cent on Jan 1/21
    • 1.50per cent on Jan 1/22
    • 1.90per cent on Jan 1/23
  • $25 signing bonus will be paid within 60 days of ratification.
  • new seniority language


2021 BPS Conference and Divisionals

The BPS Conference and Divisional Meetings will be held October 22-24, 2021, as a virtual event.

Sector 13 delegates will attend the conference on Friday, October 22 and will then meet as a Sector for our elections on Saturday, October23. The Conference is expected to highlight the challenges faced by our members throughout the pandemic and focus on the resiliency we have exhibited in the face of those challenges.

The Conference and Divisional Meeting Callout has been issued. Delegate entitlement is based on the number of members in each Sector 13 unit. For units up to 75 members, the delegate entitlement is two, and for units over 75 members, the delegate entitlement is three.

If you’re interested in becoming a delegate, please be sure to reach out to your Unit Steward or Local President to ensure you receive the necessary documents. Deadline for Credentials Attestation is October 1, 2021.

After mass Indigenous graves discovered, it’s finally time for action.


Every child matters

OPSEU/SEFPO stands in solidarity with Indigenous members, the Cowessess First Nation community, and with Indigenous communities across Turtle Island. After the terrible discovery of mass graves near old residential school sites, we extend our sincere condolences to the families and communities, past and present.

It is likely more mass graves will be found in Canada. While we applaud the federal government in designating September 30 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, so much more must be done to even start to right these wrongs.


Thank you to our members working in our province’s parks

Ontario’s provincial parks and conservation areas rank among the natural wonders of the world, thanks to the hardworking people who devote their lives to preserving and protecting them for this and future generations.

If you and your family have been enjoying our parks this summer, please say a thank-you to the Conservation Officers and other parks workers who are among the front-line protectors of Ontario’s natural resources.

OPSEU/SEFPO is so proud to represent a huge number of dedicated members who keep our parks in tip-top shape. They work for the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. They work for conservation authorities and municipalities, as well as Niagara Parks and the Niagara Parks Police Service, putting to use their knowledge, experience and untiring vigilance.

Our parks are vital to both the environment and the economy. As we look forward to the end of the pandemic, we’ll look to our parks as a key driver of a return to economic heath and emotional well-being.