OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas sent the following response letter to Solicitor General Sylvia Jones regarding the intimidation of staff at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre by members of the Hells Angels and Guardians motorcycle gangs.
The Honourable Sylvia Jones
25 Grosvenor Street, 18th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1Y6
Thank you for your timely response to my letter of July 22, 2021. I am relieved to hear that you understand the gravity and urgency of the situation at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre (EMDC).
I am happy to learn that Deputy Solicitor General Ellis will go to the institution, and that you are preparing to meet with staff onsite to gain first-hand insight into the abuse they have endured over the last several days. Your attention to this serious matter is appreciated.
In your correspondence, you acknowledge the efforts of local union leadership and health and safety representatives. In that regard, if you would kindly let me know the date and time of your planned visits, I would like to let local representatives know so that they can greet and guide you during your visit to EMDC. Chad Oldfield, Ministry Employee Relations Committee (MERC) Co-Chair, and I would also like to accompany you as you tour the facility and meet with Corrections staff.
I wish to thank you for the steps you outline in your letter to diffuse this very tense situation, notably your offer of secure parking, as well as your collaborative work with the OPP and the London Police. Please be assured of OPSEU/SEFPO’s full co-operation and assistance.
Once again, thank you for your early response to my letter and intervention in this matter. The current situation at EMDC is unsafe for OPSEU/SEFPO staff and it requires quick action and close attention.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
President, Ontario Public Service Employees Union
C: The Honourable Prabmeet Singh Sakaraia, President of the Treasury Board
Karen Ellis, Deputy Solicitor General, Correctional Services