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The Patients First Act is now law – Community Connections Newsletter

OPSEU Community Health Care Professionals

Message from the Chair

The Patients First Act is now law

It’s been a busy few months as Ontario’s government has pushed through Bill 41, the Patients First Act. This is legislation that will make big changes to Ontario’s healthcare system, especially in community care. We have been meeting throughout 2016 with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and representatives from other unions to discuss our concerns and issues. Most recently, we presented our recommendations for improving this legislation to the Queen’s Park Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly. To see OPSEU’s full submission, visit: http://opseu.org/news/healthy-patients-healthy-communities-opseu-submission-bill-41

In the last two months, I – along with OPSEU Negotiator Tracy More and A/Campaigns Officer Kim Johnston – have been visiting our CCAC members in Barrie, Ottawa and Sudbury to discuss Bill 41 and what it will mean to us. We look forward to visiting Peterborough and Hamilton in the New Year.

As expected, the government passed Bill 41 on December 7, 2016. We will continue to keep you posted. Please keep checking the OPSEU website and your email for the most up-to-date and reliable information.

While this is a joyous time of year, it is important to remember that community health care professionals are at increased risk for injury, especially when driving. Please see below for a health and safety update – and please stay safe this holiday season!

We, the sector, would like to take this time to wish you and your loved ones a very happy and safe festive season and a prosperous new year for 2017.

In solidarity,

Lucy A. Morton
Chair, Sector 17 (Community Health Care Professionals)
Executive Board Member, OPSEU Region 2

Sector leadership meeting set for January 23

We will be contacting your local presidents or unit stewards regarding our sector leadership meeting scheduled for January 23, 2017. One member from each bargaining unit is eligible to attend, and we are hoping for full participation. We have had some locals bring additional members and we would welcome this (with enough advance notice!). The sector will not, however, be able to cover pay or expenses for the additional members. We will host a registration evening on Sunday January 22, 2017. We look forward to meeting and networking in a casual environment. Light snacks and beverages will be provided, with plenty more info to come!

Meet your sector executive

Lucy Morton
Local 269, VON Hamilton

Louise Mulligan-Roy
Local 4101, Champlain CCAC

Kate Anderson
Local 4101, Connexion Family Health Team

Morgen Veres
Local 487, Renfrew County and District Health Unit

Jane Hoffmeyer
Membership Coordinator
Local 327, City Health Unit – Peterborough County

Shari Greenhorn
Bargaining Representative
Local 4101, Champlain CCAC

Erin Warman
Local 294, CarePartners Niagara & Norfolk

Mary Helen Garsch
Local 482, KFL&A Public Health Unit

Health and safety update: stay safe when you drive!

The Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) obligates employers to take all precautions reasonable to ensure the safety of their employees in the workplace. The OHSA applies in vehicles if employees are operating these in the course of their employment. Employers, supervisors and workers all have a role to play in ensuring driving safety for health care providers. Learn more by reading the Public Service Health & Safety Association fact sheet at the link here: http://www.pshsa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Driving_Safety.pdf.

The We Own It campaign promotes public services

The Ontario government has been finding new ways to privatize public services for many years now. As many community health care workers know, privatization takes money away from frontline public services to fill the pockets of investors. While supporters of privatization say it can deliver better service at less cost, what is possible in theory seldom happens in reality. In Ontario, indeed, privatization means higher costs and worse service. It means highway maintenance, medical lab testing, and our electricity system are being used to generate profits for private companies instead of serving our communities.

Privatization has become embedded within the health care system. The contracting-out of home care services to for-profit companies stands in stark contradiction to the principles of a public, non-profit health care system. The competitive bidding process has been a catalyst in driving down wages and benefits for those working in the home care sector. Workers are increasingly faced with precarious work, where they are underpaid and unprotected.

We think there’s a better option: the public option. And a growing number of people in communities across Ontario agree. That’s why OPSEU is launching a major campaign against privatization and in favour of strong, properly funded public services. For more information, and to get involved, check out the We Own It website at www.weownit.ca.

2017: A big year for bargaining

In 2016, Sector 17 has seen six collective agreements expire, and three more will expire on December 31. With 19 collective agreements set to expire in 2017, we are expecting a busy year ahead!

Locals with 2016 expiries in at least one bargaining unit: L. 141, L. 269, L. 294, L. 327, L. 487, L. 548, L. 4101.

Sectoral goals

OPSEU Sector 17, representing community health care professionals, aims to achieve the following goals:

  • to promote better working conditions for, and the general advancement of, community health care professionals and paramedical employees within a high-quality public health care system;
  • to analyze and develop policy, motions and resolutions concerning community health care professional and paramedical matters;
  • to engage in such activities as may be lawful and in the best interests of the membership, in accordance with the objectives of advancing the aims of their respective professions and of securing, in the interests of the public, the highest possible level of health care;
  • to develop policies to guide member locals and member units in developing collective bargaining demands;
  • to advance the aims, purposes and goals of the sector within the Union;
  • to promote and support aims, purposes and goals of the Union, as a sector and with other union groups;
  • to participate with other member sectors in the Health Care Divisional Council and its activities.