Sector 19 Newsletter – To the Point: Winter 2020

Blood services and Diagnostics logo

Download a PDF of the newsletter.

Message from the President and First Vice-President/Treasurer


As 2020 comes to a close, our deepest appreciation goes out to all of you for the dedication you’ve shown to supporting Ontarians during this difficult year. We know it hasn’t been easy working under the stressful conditions we’ve all faced. Many of you working on the frontlines have endured long hours to meet the demands of COVID-19 testing, and the entire province is grateful to you for that.

You have all shown great strength and perseverance, and we are proud to represent you as leaders of OPSEU/SEFPO.

You have the full support of OPSEU/SEFPO as you go into bargaining in 2021. Every resource in our union will be available to you to ensure your success at the bargaining table. The work you’ve done has been vital to getting Ontarians through this pandemic. You’ve shown your worth time and time again, and we will make sure that your new collective agreement reflects that.

To our new members from LifeLabs who will be going into bargaining for the first time, welcome to our great union and congratulations. With the backing of OPSEU/SEFPO’s 170,000 members and 300+ staff experts, your voice with your Employer has never been stronger. We are with you every step of the way, to make sure that you have safe working conditions, job security and fair wages.

We wish you all a safe and happy holidays, and look forward to standing with you in the New Year.


In solidarity,

Warren (Smokey) Thomas

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


Message from the Chair

Greetings Sector 19 Sisters & Brothers!

I hope you enjoy this issue of ‘To the Point’ and find the information useful. Thank you to Sector Vice-Chair Sarah Dupuis and our Staff Negotiator Andrew Ruszczak for putting it together, and thank you to all of our members for the important work you do – many of you on the front lines of this pandemic.

It’s been an extremely difficult year and yet we’ve (re)learned things to take with us to hopefully better days in 2021. The value of family, safety, health and the importance of our Union. That solidarity allows us to organize, bargain for fair wages, and get recognition for the dignity of our work and a safe workplace to perform it – with respect and equity for all.

I’m proud of our Sector’s outstanding Presidents and activists that have fought for us throughout this year and will lead us in the next.

Happy Holidays and a safe New Year in 2021!


In solidarity,

Geoff Cain
Sector Chair


CBS Rally

Sector 19’s Canadian Blood Services has been busy since the New Year. Several information pickets were held on March 10th, 2020, with our Sector leaders at the helm!

Members came out to speak out about cuts to CBS staff with the potential to impact blood safety.

The Sector 19 Division Executive believes this rally had a significant impact, and new Donor Care Associates and Donor Services Representatives have been hired.


Sector News

LifeLabs Organizing – Welcome to our newest Members

Our Sector is growing and we would like to officially welcome four new groups of LifeLabs employees that have joined OPSEU/SEFPO in 2020:

  • GTA East, West and Ohio Rd. – Couriers Mail Room Clerks and Dispatchers
  • Employees working at the LifeLabs Patient Service Centre in Timmins.

Your Sector Executive will be there to support you as you bargain your first Collective Agreement!

Organizing is also ongoing at LifeLabs, the private-sector testing company wholly-owned by the public service pension plan, OMERS.


Majority of National Contact Center Staff sent home amidst the COVID-19 Crisis

A building that holds almost 150 National Contact Center (NCC) employees sits nearly empty now. 90 per cent of NCC staff have now transitioned to a work from home situation that has no end in sight.

While this change is welcomed by most staff, there are still staff that face barriers in working from home such as lack of internet, lack of appropriate work space, and isolation.

Recent changes to the Employer’s stance on COVID-19 related top ups have caused anxiety amongst the vulnerable at the NCC.


Canadian Blood Services Lab: Brampton

Construction is set to begin in January for CBS Labs in Brampton. A new set of analyzers is scheduled to be installed.


Sector Updates

Sector Dues

Sector dues are required by January 1 of each calendar year. Correspondence from our Treasurer, Jennifer Johnson, will be sent all Local Presidents or highest ranking officer with instructions. If your local is in arrears, please contact Jennifer for further information at:


CBS Pay Equity Maintenance Update

The Union Pay Equity team comprised of representatives from all CBS Locals met early in 2020 to prepare for Pay Equity Maintenance discussions.

Your Pay Equity team did a lot of work to go over job evaluations in a fair and inclusive way.

The intent of the committee was to meet with the Employer throughout 2020 and ensure the Pay Equity plan was maintained and up to date.

The process was delayed due to the pandemic and we again reached out the Employer in the Fall to book meeting dates.

The Employer has advised OPSEU/SEFPO that they are not prepared to meet with the committee and believe their Pay Equity Plan is up to date.

Your Pay Equity team is very disappointed in the Employer’s response and OPSEU/SEFPO has filed a complaint with the Pay Equity Commission on this matter.

As matters develop with the Pay Equity Complaint at the Commission your Pay Equity team will report back to all CBS Members with the latest updates.


CBS Driver Review Update

The ongoing Driver Review that came out of the last round of bargaining to address the Driver Pay Rate due to additional responsibilities has reached an impasse.

Your committee tabled a fair and reasonable proposal to resolve the dispute on several occasions and the Employer has refused to make any further commitments to increasing the Driver Rate pay and rejected the Union’s Proposal.

After a long, drawn out process, this matter has now been referred to arbitration. An arbitrator will review the merits of the arguments and make a final binding decision on whether an additional increase to the Drivers will be granted.


Bargaining 2021

Public Health Ontario to Begin Bargaining in early 2021

In preparation for bargaining of Public Health Ontario’s new Collective Agreement, a successful PHO final demand-set meeting was held virtually over Zoom on Saturday, October 17, 2020 and the bargaining team was elected, as follows:

Omid Nouri, Local 545 – Central Technologist: Bargaining Team Chair

Casey McGuire, Local 412 – Regional Lab: Bargaining Team Vice-Chair

Shah Nawaz, Local 545 – Central Lab Attendant

Selfa Pyentam, Local 113 – Regional Lab

Raul Chicas, Local 545 – Non-technical


Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU/SEFPO President, pledged full support to the bargaining team in the following statement:

“Bargaining this year might look different than it normally does, doing virtual meetings instead of in-person. But I’m confident that we will bargain as strong as ever despite the obstacles we face. And you have the full support of OPSEU/SEFPO every step of the way. Your bargaining team will have every resource available to you at OPSEU/SEFPO – communications, campaigns, research, and much more. Let’s get a fair, strong agreement for all Public Health Ontario members!”


CBS Provincial Bargaining Update

Save the Date: CBS Pre-Bargaining Conference to be held virtually on March 10th 2021

CBS Local Presidents will be calling General Membership Meetings in January 2021 to elect delegates to the Provincial Pre-Bargaining Conference.

CBS Locals that fall under the Province-Wide Support Agreement will also elect their bargaining team members at the January GMM.


Confirm your contact information with OPSEU/SEFPO to ensure you receive all bargaining communications. To update your information, visit the Member Portal.



Your Sector 19 Divisional Executive

Geoff Cain (Chair)
Local 160 – Canadian Blood Services

Sarah Dupuis (Vice-Chair)
Local 619 – Canadian Blood Services

Jennifer Johnson (Treasurer)
Local 5103 – Canadian Blood Services

Audrey Smith (Secretary)
Local 5103 – Canadian Blood Services

Shah Nawaz (Member at Large (PHO))
Local 545 – Public Health Ontario

Gloria Blanchard (Member at Large (CBS))
Local 210 – Canadian Blood Services