News for OPSEU members at MPAC from your leadership team
New assessment companies raise questions about MPAC’s direction
It’s way past the stage of raised eyebrows.
The creation of two new companies to sell and deliver MPAC’s valuation software internationally is raising deep concerns among staff right across the province.
At the latest meeting of the MPAC Union-Management Committee (UMC), management answered few questions about Axilogic, the marketing company. And our bosses were equally mum about the nameless numbered company that has been set up to serve whatever customers Axilogic is able to drum up.
Here’s what we do know: Axilogic’s “Chief Innovation Officer” is Chris Devadason, former head of IT architecture at MPAC. The MPAC board has approved, without tendering, an arrangement to have Axilogic provide marketing services to MPAC. Axilogic is, on paper at least, headquartered out of the Richmond Hill office of MPAC.
The second company, a numbered company with no name (let’s call it “Newco”) is run by Antoni Wisniowski, MPAC’s President and Chief Administrative Officer until this April.
The reason for MPAC’s silence? They’re both private companies, we were told. In other words, none of your business.
It is not clear why MPAC needs a relationship with either of these companies; we already have a Business Development department that could easily take on new responsibilities if required. But the appearance on the scene of new companies to perform certain functions on behalf of MPAC has eerie parallels to what happened with Ornge, the provincial air ambulance service.
After its creation in 2005, the provincially funded Ornge began spinning off new companies. Ornge Global Air Inc., Ornge Real Estate, and the Ornge foundation were among 19 companies, each with its own (paid) board of directors, that Ornge CEO Chris Mazza set up to perform different tasks. Among those tasks? Selling Ornge expertise overseas.
The whole complicated scheme came unraveled when a news reporter discovered that Mazza was paid $9.3 million over six years but did not appear on the provincial “Sunshine List” of highly paid public employees. The reason was simple: Mazza didn’t work for a public entity – he worked for a private one.
It’s reasonable to assume that, in the case of Axilogic and the numbered company, neither Devadason nor Wisniowski will see their salaries published any more either.
Any company needs capital to set up shop and grow. In the case of Ornge, Mazza received government funding for its services but also set up Ornge Issuer Trust to borrow $300 million from bond investors (backed by the province, of course). The question is, who is bankrolling Axilogic? Who is bankrolling Newco? Is it MPAC, or some other investor(s)?
The union members on your MPAC UMC are not opposed to MPAC selling our expertise internationally to bring in extra revenues. It could work, in theory. What we are concerned about is having the resources available to perform our core function: assessing and classifying properties on behalf of all Ontario municipalities and their citizens. The lack of transparency involving two new companies with an unclear relationship to MPAC is troubling, to say the least.
If public money is involved in a venture, the public has a right to know how – and how much.
Your benefits carrier has changed – your benefits haven’t
Some members have reported some confusion since our MPAC benefit plan shifted from Standard Life to Green Shield Canada.
This is understandable: Green Shield’s benefits booklet explains coverage in an entirely different way than we have been used to. With Standard Life, the benefits booklet laid out what was included in your benefit plan. In contrast, the Green Shield booklet says what is excluded from your benefit plan. This is a change in terminology only. It’s the same coverage, with a different way of explaining it. MPAC management has confirmed this at the Union-Management Committee.
That being said, Green Shield uses a different set of numbers to define “reasonable and customary charges” for certain health services, for example, massage therapy. In these cases, you may be looking at a shortfall – or a bonus – of a few dollars on some claims. If you want to know what you will be reimbursed for a claim, you can go to the Green Shield website and submit a mock claim, just as you would to request a predetermination. If this isn’t the information you are looking for, and still have a question, please contact Sabrina Kanji in Human Resources. If you still feel you have been shortchanged on a claim, by all means file a grievance and let your OPSEU UMC co-chair David Lynch know the details.
See you at the BPS conference!
MPAC delegates to OPSEU’s biennial Broader Public Service conference are gearing up for an interesting and educational time at the upcoming conference, set for June 23-25 in Toronto. The agenda for the three days is: Friday, opening plenary with all OPSEU BPS members; Saturday, Property Assessment Division meeting, with nominations for the two positions up for election on our divisional executive and the five positions on our Pay Equity Maintenance Committee; and Sunday, elections.
The BPS conference is always a great opportunity to connect with OPSEU members from other sectors in the union and have face-to-face conversations with frontline MPAC staff across the province. If you are a delegate, see you there! If not, be sure to ask your local delegates for a full report when they get back to work.
Be tick aware!
It’s summer – finally – and in Ontario that means… ticks! If you work outside, be aware of the risk. Ticks are known to spread Lyme Disease, which can cause “fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and an expanding red rash,” in the words of Public Health Ontario. You don’t want Lyme disease.
The disease-carrying blacklegged tick, sometimes called a deer tick or bear tick, typically lives in wooded, brushy areas, or along the edge of the forest. They wait on low-lying vegetation for a host to pass by, then climb aboard. Two decades ago, blacklegged ticks in Ontario were mostly confined to the shores of Lake Erie. Since then, they’ve spread far and wide and are especially common in eastern Ontario.
Find out more at publichealthontario.ca.
Stay in touch!
To ensure a speedy response to your questions, your leadership team has divided up all MPAC offices in the province. If you have a question or a comment, please contact the team member responsible for your office. Contact us by e-mail at work or at home, as follows:
Goderich, Chatham, Sarnia, Windsor, and Kitchener
Pickering, Richmond Hill, Peterborough, and Milner
North Bay, Sudbury, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden, and Pembroke
Cornwall, Brockville, Kingston, Trenton, and Ottawa
Bracebridge, Owen Sound, Barrie, London, Hamilton, Mississauga, and Toronto
OPSEU ImpacT is produced by the Property Assessment Division of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and authorized for distribution by Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President.
Ontario Public Service Employees Union
100 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario M3B 3P8 www.opseu.org