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OPSEU is releasing the following statement after new developments related to the April 2, 2020 news release ‘OPSEU calls Ottawa Hospital shameful for taking away sick leave.’

HPD - Hospital Professionals Division / DPH - Division des professionnels hospitaliers

Toronto – The Ottawa Hospital has reconsidered its handling of sick leave, and after discussions with the president of OPSEU’s Ottawa local, has decided it will not be moving forward with its previous decision to refer staff to the Employment Insurance (EI) Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program.

OPSEU applauds the hospital, an industry leader, for reconsidering its previous position.

For more information:  Warren (Smokey) Thomas  613-329-1931

OPSEU calls Ottawa Hospital shameful for taking away sick leave

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says it’s unbelievable that The Ottawa Hospital has taken away paid sick leave for part time and casual staff in the face of COVID-19.

“This is the kind of thing that is worthy of Ripley’s Believe it or Not,” said Thomas. “During the biggest health care crisis of our time a hospital takes paid sick time from some of our frontline heroes? This coming from a hospital President and CEO, Dr. Jack Kitts, who pulls in a $621,000 salary.”

Thomas is calling on Health Minister Christine Elliott to intervene and order hospital management to reverse their callous decision.

“Hospital workers are putting their lives and health at risk due to COVID-19 and if they get sick, they won’t get paid leave? Shameful and unacceptable,” said Thomas.

Effective April 6, the previously in-place paid sick leave will no longer be available to these workers. They are being told to apply to the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for assistance.

First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida says part time and casual workers deserve equal treatment.

“This is so disrespectful, I can’t wrap my head around it,” said Almeida. “Can you imagine going to work at a place where the employer knows you are directly in the line of fire during this crisis and then shows nothing but indifference to your efforts or your health?”

Thomas is calling on Elliott to act immediately if the hospital doesn’t reverse this decision today.

“Do the right thing and protect your workers. This is not the time to think about dollars and cents. Your business is to help people, so help people – your staff included!”

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