Ottawa – Dozens of employees with Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services at its main facility in Ottawa have voted in favour of becoming the newest members of the 130,000‑strong Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). The workers deliver Rideauwood’s School-Based Program in high schools and senior elementary schools in the Ottawa region.
Ed Arvelin, chair of OPSEU’s Mental Health Sector, said he was happy with the way the organizing campaign had gone. “This group of professionals had concerns about accountability, transparency, and fairness. It was time to give themselves a legal voice in the workplace – and with its long experience representing mental health professionals across Ontario, OPSEU was the best way to do that.”
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas agreed, noting how vital the School-Based Program was for Ottawa-area youth at risk.
“These dedicated and compassionate staff serve vulnerable students who have problems with alcohol or drugs or both,” he said. “Not only does Rideauwood intervene personally, but they train school staff to identify addictions and refer students to the facility. As such, they play an invaluable role in the lives of young people and their families, but also in the well-being of the entire Ottawa community.
“I’m really pleased to see they’ve chosen to join the thousands of mental health professionals that OPSEU is proud to count among its membership,” said Thomas. “Because when staff feel secure in their positions, they can dedicate all their energies to their jobs – in this case, coming to the aid of young people in difficulty.
“And that’s what being a public sector union is all about: helping those who help others.”
For four decades, Rideauwood has dedicated itself to improving the health and well-being of adults and teens with alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions. The facility provides 14 programs, including non-residential, group and individual rehabilitation, public education, training, and consultation, and serve some 2,300 clients and their families every year.
For more information: Ed Arvelin, 807-628-9187