Skip to content
csdc-eng-banner-1200px.jpg

Social Services News: Issue June 20, 2011

We the North
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

A newsletter for members in Developmental Services, Children’s Aid Societies, Child Treatment, Youth Corrections, and Community Agencies 

Download this issue

Message from the Chair

Summer is finally here. This is a time to reflect on the work we have accomplished and to appreciate the labour and social justice activists who came before us and fought for decent working conditions that allow us the time to replenish and renew.

The theme of our 2011 Community Services Division Plenary at the BPS Conference is “Care for the Caregiver.” At the 2009 BPS plenary we grounded ourselves in our shared values—equality, human rights and making a difference in the world. This is what fuels our passion in our jobs. We also identified “workload” as the major stressor in our work life after years of frozen (and in some cases) reduced government funding, which constrains our ability to do our jobs.  It is always a question of balance; how to ensure that in our desire to care for others, we take the time to care for ourselves.

In 2009 we also examined WSIB rates. In our sectors WSIB claims exceed those of hospital and police professionals. It is time that the occupational hazards of our work are  recognized by our employers and government. This past year, Developmental Services and Children’s Aid Societies have been meeting with the government to discuss systemic issues at a central table. Ultimately these are some of the issues that affect us all.  

I recently saw the movie “Made In Dagenham” about the British women who fought to earn equal pay rights in 1968. I was inspired by their fortitude. Their relentless commitment to fight for a just cause led to legislative changes around the world – the positive ripple effect of social justice!  Perhaps we will also make history in our struggle to update an antiquated Occupational Health and Safety Act that does not adequately recognize the “costs of caring.”

In  Solidarity,

Deborah Gordon, CSDC Chair

Legislation News 

Health & Safety – Is Bill 168 working for you? 

Bill 168 brought a new Section 32 to the OHSA. This bill requires employers to perform a risk assessment for workplace violence, develop and maintain workplace violence and harassment policies and programs in the workplace, provide information and training to workers about what the policies contain and how risks will be minimized, and re-evaluate the program annually.

However, we need to ensure that the Ministry of Labour does not take a paper enforcement approach and look at the new section 32 alone. Measures and procedures still have to be judged against the general duty clause of 25.2 h which asks, “Has the employer taken all reasonable precautions? What is missing?” Therefore workers will still be calling upon the MOL to pursue whether measures and procedures engaged in represent “reasonable precautions.” 

It’s not just about the new section 32—it is also about ensuring that employers comply with 25 2 h—their general duty to take all reasonable precautions.  We need to remind employers that the MEASURES AND PROCEDURES must be implemented to actually prevent violence and harassment in the workplace. 

Along with the policies and procedures required under Section 32, must ask the MOL inspectors to write orders under Section 25.2 h to ensure that actual workplace interventions (measures and procedures) are in place to give life to the actual policy and program.  It is not a POLICY that saves lives, It’s NOT what’s IN the drawer, it’s what’s ON THE FLOOR. 

Terri Aversa, Health and Safety Officer

College of Registered Psychotherapists and Registered Mental Health Therapists of Ontario

A Transitional Council has been set up to develop standards and regulations for registration with the College, under the 2007 Psychotherapy Act. The College will not be registering members until 2012. The Council held consultations in March and April of this year and will produce revised drafts of the regulations in June. The Council will hold a formal stakeholder consultation over the summer. Following this consultation in the fall, the Council plans to submit final draft Regulations to the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

For more information: http://www.collegeofpsychotherapists.on.ca/pages/Home

Pensions  – Eligibility provisions of The OPSEU Pension Plan System

Recently the Trustees of TOPPSfund amended the plan to allow for flexibility regarding when full-Time employees are required to join the plan. The provisions of the plan now read as follows:

“All Full Time Employees of a Participating Employer who are represented by a Participating Union are required to participate in the Plan, provided they are eligible to do so by Applicable Legislation, on the earlier of:

a) where there is no probationary period, immediately upon employment;

b)  where there is a probationary period:
        i) successful completion of the probationary period or 
        ii) two years of continuous service”

The eligibility provision for part-time employees remains the same. This amendment will allow for some flexibility at the negotiating table and align pension participation with the probationary period where one exists. An earlier entry into TOPPSfund can still be negotiated by the Union and Employer at bargaining (through collective agreement provisions attached to the probationary period article) but the Plan text itself would not require immediate registration as a fixed pre-condition. It is hoped that this amendment will make TOPPS more flexible, allowing for added interest and participation.

Please contact: the Trustees or Kim Macpherson in the Membership Benefits Unit for more details.

Sector Updates

Developmental Services 

49 units across sector set to file for conciliation

After talks broke off at the PDT table, 12 units held block walks across the province on May 31. Members sent letters to Finance Minister, Dwight Duncan, telling the government that a deal could not be reached without sustainable long-term funding. 

Thanks to the amazing effort of all of these units that successfully garnered wide media coverage across the province!      

Now we have to mobilize in our units to take a stand and fight for decent jobs. Over the summer the sector will ramp up strike mobilizing plans. Units that are currently in bargaining will be filing for conciliation. Many will be taking strike votes and will fight to secure job security language to deal with potential agency mergers. The government has the option to get the parties back to the table if it wants to avoid labour disruptions.

Your PDT Team

Our position is clear, decent jobs are possible for developmental service workers. Our communities and clients support us. It’s time that our politicians got the message. 

Sue Walker, Sector Chair

Children’s Aid Societies

On June 1 OPSEU CAS members across the province delivered the message that vulnerable children should be considered first when it comes to meeting the requirements of child protection work. CAS workers gathered in front of their agencies or ministry buildings to erect workload sculptures representing the workload that workers face in their mandate to “Put Kids First.” Thanks to all those that participated in this successful day, bringing our message to our employers and our communities, our campaign continues.

Employers and unions reach landmark tentative provincial consensus agreement

For the last few months CAS employers, and the bargaining agents for unionized CAS staff, CUPE, OPSEU, CEP, the Simcoe CAS ea ,and government representatives have been engaged in a provincial discussion table process (PDT).  On June 4, CAS employer representatives and CUPE, OPSEU, CEP and the Simcoe CAS ea signed a tentative Consensus Agreement.  All signatories agreed that this agreement would provide positive opportunities to address systemic issues in the child welfare sector. Ministry representatives were present for the entire process. Finalizing this landmark agreement was subject to government approval. The government has been reviewing the Consensus Agreement since June 4th.  

On June 13 the ministry informed the employer and union representatives that they were unable to respond to the agreement and were not able to provide any time frame as to when they may respond – or if they would respond at all.

For the latest information please visit: https://opseu.org/bps/cas/2011/news.htm

Sustainability Commission

The Sector Executive and Bargaining Council met with the Commissioners on May 20, 2011. They informed the union that most of the amalgamations plans have been finalized and passed to the MCYS. The Commission sent out letters to all agencies involved to formally request the application of PSLRTA to their potential amalgamation. Applications have been received from all the agencies. MCYS will work with agencies to

develop implementation plans and the Commission will monitor progress. The Commission will be looking at shared services and rethinking what is local, regional and provincial. Mergers involving CAS agencies and other organizations delivering child and family services will also be reviewed.

Rick Pybus, Sector Chair
For more information please check: www.sustainingchildwelfare.ca

Corrections Health and Safety is a key priority

Child Treatment                 

How would you spend $257 million dollars to improve Children and Youth Mental Health Services? 

That is the question!  After years of lobbying and pleading the case to government that funding C&Y mental health services is a smart investment, our cause has been heard. Everyone who has participated in an OPSEU “Kids Matter” event since our campaign launch in April 2005 CONGRATULATIONS to you. Your contribution is making a difference. Although our work is not done, system transformation is clearly coming our way in the foreseeable future. Take time to celebrate this accomplishment!

Now we turn our minds towards the October 6th provincial election in our efforts to hold all parties accountable to their commitment to improving mental health services as outlined in the August 2010 All Party Select Committee Report on Mental Health and Addictions.  The $257 million cheque has yet to be signed and will be allocated over three years.

Some of our bargaining units have already started getting the message out through our participation in the “Take A Stand” coalition during Children’s Mental Health week (www.takingastand.ca – check it out and share on Facebook).   The equivalent of three busloads of youth in this province will have committed suicide by the end of this year. This is a fact that we must change.

Goodbye and thank you Pat McGregor!

Elections for the 2011-2013 CTS Sector Executive will take place at our Divisional Meeting on June 19th.    As current Chair, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of Pat McGregor (L. 460) who has made the decision to step down as Vice-Chair following her return to our Executive six years ago.  Pat was our very first CTS Chair when the BPS Sectors were developed in the early 1990s.  She sat at the Social Contract Table, beginning the discussions identifying the need to have a

central bargaining table.  Our coordinated bargaining efforts are the result of the seeds that Pat and her team planted many years ago.  Pat has always been a passionate activist for workers in our sector whether at the local, regional or provincial level and is a force to be reckoned with!  Pat’s commitment to the membership and grass roots activism is undeniable and we have benefited from her energy and practical wisdom. 

Pat has made the decision that her energies at this time need to be reinvested closer to home.  We thank her and celebrate the contributions that she has made.  We wish her all the best and know that her heart and passion will always be near at hand when needed! 

Deb Gordon, Sector Chair

Corrections

Health and Safety is a key priority

In this past quarter the sector has continued to review the number of youth correctional beds in use. As of June 7, 2011 there are currently 1161 YCJA correctional beds available to the province. Of those 1161 beds, 627 are being accessed.  Since March 2011 there has been an increase of approximately 7% in bed occupancy.  The sector will continue to monitor fluctuating trends in bed availability and usage in both open and secure custody facilities in Ontario.

The Sector Executive is currently formulating a custody facility product list with recommendations on how members can order Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  We will be able to provide members with recommendations and contact information to order the PPE"s or samples from a manufacturer/distributor along with pricing guides. We will try to provide you with product feedback from our members.

We hope that this will be an essential resource for our members and their Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC) in making recommendations to employers.  The Sector Executive has completed Health and Safety audits of each of the units in our sector and we are now able to compare the available PPE being used in our province and across the country.  We encourage members to contact their LEC for more information.

The committee was disappointed to hear that the Ministry of Labour did not support a JHSC recommendation to have a van barrier installed in a secure custody transport van.  As per the Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA) an appeal was filed within 30 days of this decision. In September the appeal questioning the inspectors decision to not order the installation of a van barrier will be heard. The Sector Executive committee is concerned that OHSA section 25.2(h) is not being applied. 

We expect our employers to take every reasonable precaution for the protection of our members. We will continue to monitor issues that will have an impact on our jobs in corrections such as Bill C-4 (Sebastian’s Law), WSIB legislation changes, and the Psychotherapy Act.

Jonathan Guider, Sector Chair

Community Services

30 members register for Sector 5 Inaugural Meeting at the BPS

Delegates and alternates in the newly formed Sector 5 will elect their first Sector Executive at the BPS Conference.

The Community Services Divisional Council thanks Amy Clements (L. 518) North York Women’s Shelter, for her mobilizing efforts that maximized member participation in this founding meeting. The BPS All Chairs and the CSDC looks forward to welcoming the newly elected Sector 5 executive.

At the table in 2011

The following sectors are in bargaining:

Child Treatment: 19 units
Developmental Services: 49 units
Youth Justice: 13 units
Children’s Aid Societies: 11 units
Community Services: 24 units

Bargaining Highlights:

L166—Salvation Army Wycliffe Booth/Rebekah House settled a three-year renewal agreement expiring March 31, 2013 with general wage increase of  0%; 2%; 2%; a signing bonus $850/FT; 650/PT; $250 relief,; mileage increase from $0.29/km to $0.40/km; in charge premium increase to $1.00/hr for Sr. Youth Care Worker or Sr. Overnight Worker.

L216—Banyan Community Services (SNAP Connection Program) settled a first contract with a general wage increase of 2.5% in the second year; 2% signing bonus of 2% of earnings from July 2010 to March  2011; bereavement for full time and part-time, pro-rated – 10 days for child and spouse; Sabbatical Leave language and other provisions within a first contract.

L550 – Salvation Army Evangeline Residence settled  with a general wage increase of 2%; 2%; 2%; new orientation language, three paid professional days; improved language for relief and temporary employees; improved vacation language and carry over;  part-time now accumulate sick leave pro-rata;  new workplace violence, bullying,  and psychological harassment language, employer contributes 6% to RRSP after 21 years of service.

L518 – North York Women"s Shelter settled with a general wage increase of 2%; 1.5%; 1.5%; improvements for eye glasses; improved vacation time over the 3 years; increase in mileage rate $0.42/km; increase in allotted amount for educational upgrading; discipline removed from file after 12 months; accumulation of sick credits and vacation credits; increased  time for new members to meet with stewards.

Movies worth watching

Made In Dagenham (2010)

A dramatization of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination

Inside Job (2010)

Takes a closer look at what brought about the financial meltdown

The Corporation (2003)

Documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance

Manufactured Landscapes (2006)

Photographer Edward Burtynsky travels the world observing changes in landscapes due to industrial work and manufacturing