October Newsletter – Mandatory Vaccination Policy (MVP)

Sent on behalf of the President, Thomas Andersson

Please forward to any Opseu member in your area that was missed from this email.  Thank you

Voices United

A Newsletter from OPSEU Local 500

SPECIAL EDITION #2 – Mandatory Vaccination Policy

Dear Sisters, Brothers and Members of OPSEU Local 500,

As of Tuesday, October 19th, 2021 CAMH staff who have not received either one or both doses of the COVID – 19 vaccine will be put on unpaid leaves of absence.  If you are impacted by these actions of the employer, please reach out to the office immediately, and we will file a grievance on your behalf.  The employer has not yet determined how long these unpaid leaves will last.  If while on an unpaid leave, our members change their minds and get vaccinated.  After receiving a first dose of vaccine, members working on site or off site can return to work, while continuing to do Rapid Antigen testing until another 14 days after the 2nd vaccine dose.

The Local filed a policy grievance on the Employer’s Mandatory Vaccination Policy on Sept 22nd, 2021.  On Tuesday, October 12th a Step 2 meeting was held with the Employer.  Unfortunately, the Local does not expect the Employer to rescind or change their Mandatory Vaccination Policy at this time.  The Local has sent the grievance to be scheduled for an arbitration hearing. 

The Local has been supporting members since this policy was announced by the Employer.  For example, we have attended several meetings with members who have been seeking exemptions based on religion and creed.  Where members have been denied, grievances have been filed.

The Local was advised today that our members will not be able to access any of their banked time to cover missing pay during the time when they are on unpaid leaves of absence.  The Local will be filing a policy grievance on this.

The Employer will not be issuing Records of Employment to our members who are placed on unpaid leaves of absence.  However, we encourage you to apply for EI benefits, using the link below.

https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html

Region 5, the geographic region of the province Local 500 is in has a hardship fund for members experiencing financial hardship.  The application form is in the link below.

I recognize none of this is good news for our brothers and sisters and members who have chosen not to be vaccinated at this time.  The Executive is continuing to push back on the employer to change or rescind their Mandatory Vaccination Policy.  We will continue to support members by filing grievances for them, attending meetings and in any other way we can.

I am in such awe of all the heroic efforts our members have made during this very long pandemic, in challenging circumstances.  For this you have my deepest respect and gratitude.

In Solidarity

Thomas

Thomas Andersson, President
1001 Queen Street West Unit 1, B-2A, 416 535-8501 x32330
Thomas.Andersson@camh.ca  / OPSEU.Local500@camh.ca

Tony Ivanoff, Vice-President
100 Stokes Street, 3rd floor – 416 535-8501 x34935
Tony.Ivanoff@camh.ca

Chantelle D’Mello, Lead Steward
1001 Queen Street West, Unit 1 B-2A  416 535-8501 x33217
Chantelle.Dmello@camh.ca / OPSEU.Local500@camh.ca

Robert Edgar, Treasurer
100 Stokes Street, 6th floor 416 535-8501 x33277
Robert.Edgar@camh.ca

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R5 New Member/Steward Orientation – December, 2021 Classes

Please be advised of the upcoming Region 5 new member/steward orientation

Dates:

  • Option #1 will run two consecutive 3 hour evenings Tuesday, December 6, 2021 and Wednesday December 7, 2021 6:00 pm – 9:15 pm
  • Option #2 will run one day Saturday December 11, 2021 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Any member may apply for this class. This is not limited to Stewards.

Lost wages will not be provided for this Educational.

As this meeting is being held virtually, no expenses outside of Family/Care Attendants claims (if required) will be reimbursed except in special circumstances where expenses have been pre-approved.

Union Activity Form MUST be completed and signed by ONE LEC.

Call-out package

Human rights accommodation

DEADLINE TO APPLY: 4PM FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2021 – LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED

**Please be sure to submit your completed application to r5educationals@opseu.org in a timely manner as spots are limited and not guaranteed.**

Sent on behalf of the Region 5 EBMs and the Region 5 Educational Committee

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Voices United: A newsletter on the mandatory vaccination policy

Dear Sisters, Brothers and Members of OPSEU Local 500,

On Monday, August 30th 2021, the employer emailed all CAMH staff the Mandatory Vaccination Policy it will be enforcing beginning on September 7th, 2021.  If you have not yet had the opportunity to read it, please reach out to the Local office, and we will forward it to you.

Since Monday, many of you have called or emailed the office with concerns and questions.  I have taken all of these questions to Carrie Fletcher, the Vice President of People and Experience.  I will keep asking them until I get responses for them.  Some of these questions are;

  • Will I be eligible for EI benefits after I am placed on an unpaid leave of absence?
  • How long after I am placed on an unpaid leave of absence will it be until I am terminated?
  • What will happen to my pension and benefit contributions while I am on an unpaid leave of absence
  • Will my College or Regulatory body be advised of my refusal to be vaccinated?  Will this have impacts on my license?
  • Will being placed on an unpaid leave of absence impact my seniority?

I would encourage you to reach out to the office with your questions and concerns.  If I do not immediately have an answer, I will get it for you as quickly as I can.

Some other questions that have come to the Local were answered in an OPSEU FAQ that was released by OPSEU Head Office this morning (Blue text).  I hope this information is helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mandatory Vaccinations

September 2, 2021 – 9:34 AM

With the fourth wave of the COVID-19 crisis upon us, many employers in Ontario have been developing workplace policies calling for mandatory vaccines and testing. The Ford Government has also announced a vaccine passport will be brought in this month.

As members continue to navigate these challenging times and, in many cases, plan their own return to the traditional workplace, they have asked OPSEU/SEFPO about these policies, and their impact on workers’ personal health choices and working conditions.

Here are some of the most commonly-asked questions and answers about mandatory vaccinations:


Question: Can my employer implement mandatory vaccination against COVID-19 in my workplace?

Answer: Yes. Employers are entitled to implement rules in the workplace, including rules about vaccinations, so long as they meet certain criteria. Employer rules must be reasonable and they must not violate the explicit provisions of a Collective Agreement or any statutes.

Vaccine polices in many OPSEU/SEFPO workplaces are likely to be considered reasonable due to the ongoing health crisis, the nature of our work, and the recent government mandates requiring vaccine policies for many of the workplaces we represent.

Employers still have an obligation to comply with the Human Rights Code, and to accommodate members under its provisions, if they cannot receive a vaccine because of a medical condition or other grounds that are protected by the Code. Much like the obligation to wear masks, we fully expect that the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) and Labour Arbitrators will require evidence of a need for accommodation beyond an applicant simply disagreeing with the safety or efficacy of the vaccine.

Question: Can my employer implement mandatory testing for COVID-19?

Answer: Yes. Testing for COVID-19 is very likely to be considered a reasonable health and safety measure for the foreseeable future, especially in workplaces where employees have any significant contact with the public, with colleagues or with supervisors.

Question: Will employees be forced to pay, out-of-pocket, for their testing?

Answer:  This will depend on several factors, including the provisions of the Collective Agreement and the contents of the employer’s own policy. For example, if employers require all employees to get tested at regular intervals, the union would have a strong argument against members having to pay. The same applies to a medical accommodation. However, that argument isn’t as strong if someone simply does not want to get vaccinated.

Currently, the directives from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health do not require employers to pay for the testing of employees who do not wish to be vaccinated.

Question: Can employees be disciplined for refusing the vaccine, or testing?

Answer: Yes, under certain circumstances. If the employer has implemented a reasonable rule, an employee may be disciplined if they refuse to follow it, including rules about vaccines and especially rules about testing.

In addition to potential disciplinary consequences, there could be other, non-disciplinary consequences, including being placed on leave without pay, the obligation to wear enhanced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and the obligation to maintain physical distancing.

Question: Will OPSEU/SEFPO members be able to grieve disciplinary actions that result from their refusal to get vaccinated, or be tested?

Answer: Yes. Members may grieve disciplinary or other consequences, just as they would for all other forms of discipline. However, filing a grievance does not guarantee success, and the grievance and arbitration process takes time to complete.

Question: Will OPSEU/SEFPO support members who are subjected to discipline?

Answer: Yes. OPSEU/SEFPO will pursue grievances filed by members, and represent them at grievance arbitrations.

However, OPSEU/SEFPO may be unable to make arguments that are insupportable, that have a negative effect on the membership as a whole, that are contrary to the Human Rights Code, or that create an antisocial outcome. If a member files a grievance that relies exclusively on such arguments, and OPSEU/SEFPO cannot pursue them in good conscience, the grievance may be less likely to succeed.

Question: What about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms – don’t I have the right to refuse the COVID-19 vaccine?

Answer: The Charter applies to government action and legislation only. Many of our employers are not subject to the provisions of the Charter, and applying the Charter to workplace rules is a complex matter.

I also want to share the following resolution was passed at the OPSEU Executive Board meeting last week.  In summary, it means that OPSEU supports the recommendations of the scientific community regarding vaccinations.  OPSEU also respects the rights of individual members and will defend OPSEU members against the draconian policy of our employer and members who work in all other OPSEU workplaces.

OPSEU/SEFPO Committed to Healthy and Safe Workplaces  

August 27, 2021 – 10:11 am

As employers across Ontario continue to phase-in a return to the traditional workplace during the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19, our members have relayed their concerns about workplace health and safety.

OPSEU/SEFPO’s Executive Board has discussed and debated these issues thoroughly and feels the best way to protect the union’s members and the public is to follow the advice of public health experts, protect personal privacy, and promote healthy and safe workplaces while defending members’ rights.

The Executive Board is committed to following public health advice, as directed by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. The Board believes this is our best chance to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep workers safe. The Executive Board reaffirmed its support for personal health choices and the protection of people’s personal medical information.

In addition, OPSEU/SEFPO will continue to defend its members, and advocate for appropriate PPE and effective policies to ensure their health and safety.

Here is the resolution:

OPSEU/SEFPO Reaffirms Its Commitment to Support Healthy and Safe Workplaces

Whereas OPSEU/SEFPO is a recognized social policy leader; and

Whereas the pandemic is now dominated by the Delta variant; and

Whereas workplaces are incrementally developing human resource policies calling for mandatory vaccines and or mandatory testing; and

Whereas unchallenged, these policies have the potential to create adverse disciplinary measures up to and including dismissal; and

Whereas these workplace policies are being unevenly applied; and

Whereas the return to a traditional workplace paradigm has the potential to exacerbate these negative outcomes; and

Whereas members are asking for OPSEU/SEFPO’s position on mandatory vaccines/testing;

Therefore be it resolved that OPSEU/SEFPO reaffirms its commitment to support healthy and safe workplaces; and

Be it further resolved that OPSEU/SEFPO’s position be consistent with the recommendations of the Ontario Chief Medical Officer and the Ontario Science Advisory table; and

Be it further resolved that OPSEU/SEFPO supports the rights to an individual’s personal health choices and protection of private and personal medical information; and

Be it further resolved that OPSEU/SEFPO stands firmly with Local health and safety committees and their individual work to promote healthy and safe workplaces commensurate with protection of privacy and science-based solutions emanating from the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Ontario Science Advisory Table; and

Be it further resolved that OPSEU/SEFPO continue to advocate for the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) and policies be in place for the protection of all workers; and

Be it further resolved that OPSEU/SEFPO will vigorously defend any and all members subjected to any workplace discipline not commensurate with the above values.

The Local at CAMH will be filing a Policy Grievance against this policy which at the core is extortion on the part of the employer.  After October 19th, when the employer will start placing our members on unpaid leaves of absence, we will begin filing individual grievances.  Chantelle and I will be reaching out to our OPSEU Staff Representative to see if these grievances can be fast-tracked, after they are filed.

I will end this newsletter by thanking you all again for all the work you have done over the last 18 months of this pandemic for your clients, for CAMH and for each other.  At this present moment, I recognize how it feels like a very poor return on your commitment.  I apologize for this and I pledge too that the Local will do all in our power to fight this policy.

In Solidarity,

Thomas

Local 500 Executive Committee

Thomas Andersson, President
1001 Queen Street West Unit 1, B-2A,
416 535-8501 x32330
Thomas.Andersson@camh.ca / OPSEU.Local500@camh.ca

Tony Ivanoff, Vice-President
100 Stokes Street, 3rd floor
416 535-8501 x34935
Tony.Ivanoff@camh.ca

Chantelle D’Mello, Lead Steward
1001 Queen Street West, Unit 1 B-2A
416 535-8501 x33217
Chantelle.Dmello@camh.ca / OPSEU.Local500@camh.ca

Yvonne Hinds, Secretary
160 Horner Avenue, Toronto South-West Detention Centre
416 535-8501 x36022 or 31916
Yvonne.Hinds@camh.ca

Robert Edgar, Treasurer
Robert.Edgar@camh.ca

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Voices United: A Newsletter from OPSEU Local 500

August 2021

Happy Labour Day!

Dear Sisters and Brothers of OPSEU Local 500,

On September 6th, 2021 Canadians will celebrate Labour Day. I have heard it said many times at Labour events that ‘workers are in the fight of their lives!’ This has never been truer than it has been in the last 18 months as frontline workers have worked in the face of the unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic. Even as an increasing number of Canadians are fully vaccinated, the number of people catching and being impacted by the original strain or variants of this virus are unacceptably high and pose health risks to us all. The pandemic has shown the world how essential frontline health care workers are. Have employers learned the value of frontline essential health care workers? Is CAMH fully aware of the value of their employees?

At CAMH, the response has been mixed. Our Local has supported a number of members in very difficult layoffs. All impacted members were non-clinical staff. CAMH, like every hospital in the province, is obligated by legislation to submit a balanced budget for every fiscal year. There were no layoffs of frontline clinical staff.

However, our members and our ONA colleagues in clinical programs are part of short staffed teams, been redeployed multiple times, and burning out in ever growing numbers, which is causing critical staff shortages. Unfortunately for employees, there are managers at CAMH who instead of troubleshooting problems or concerns, are disciplining short and long service employees. Employees feel that the culture at CAMH is to watch frontline staff, blame them for missteps or mistakes, and discipline them harshly. The Local executive believes that CAMH should hire managers who truly care about the emotional, mental and physical health and overall wellbeing of employees, and support them even more so during this terrible time.

Along with David Tennant, the ONA President, I have suggested measures to address our concerns, focusing primarily on nursing staff, including suggestions as to how to retain and support frontline staff. We worked hard to re-establish the Retention and Recruitment Committee, which is meeting bi-weekly to address concerns. I have engaged with Dionne Sinclair, the new VP of Clinical Operations & Chief Nursing Executive on a variety of issues, and will continue to do so.

We at OPSEU Local 500 are dedicated, hard working frontline workers at the largest mental health and addiction institution in Canada. On this Labour Day, let us resolve to continue to support each other as we have done over the past 18 months. Let us carry on doing the excellent work we do to save lives, with humility and pride, regardless of this pandemic. The contributions we make in bettering our clients’ lives are priceless.

I thank all of you for the incredible work you do supporting our clients, the organization, and most importantly, each other.

In Solidarity,
Thomas

The History of Labour Day in Toronto

Labour Day has its roots in an 1872 printers’ strike in Toronto. Fighting for a nine-hour work day, the strikers’ victory was a major milestone in the changing relations between Canadian workers and the government of the day.

Nine Hour Movement

At a time when the news of labour “strife” is dominated by disputes between millionaire athletes and billionaire owners, history provides a useful perspective on a period when working people had to fight to work less than 12 hours a day. The “Nine Hour Movement” began in Hamilton then spread to Toronto, where the Toronto Typographical Union took up the fight.
In 1869, the union sent a petition to its members’ employers requesting a weekly reduction weekly hours to 58, placing itself among the leading advocates for a shorter workweek in the industrialized world. Their request was refused outright by the owners of the printing shops, most vehemently by George Brown of The Globe.

Strike is Called

By 1872, the union’s stand had hardened from a request, to a demand, to a strike threat. The employers called the demand for a shorter workweek “foolish,” “absurd,” and “unreasonable.” As a result, on 25 March 1872, the printers went on strike.

On 15 April, a demonstration was held to show solidarity among the workers of Toronto. A parade of some 2,000 workers marched through the city, headed by marching bands. By the time the parade reached Queen’s Park, the sympathetic crowd had grown to 10,000.

The employers fought the strikers by bringing in replacement workers from small towns. George Brown counterattacked by launching a legal action against the union for “conspiracy.” Brown’s action revealed the astonishing fact that, under the laws of Canada, union activity was a criminal offense. Under the law, which dated back to 1792, police arrested and jailed the 24 members of the strike committee.

Powerful Ally

Brown, however, overplayed his hand. Prime Minister John A. Macdonald had been watching the Nine Hour Movement “with curious interest, his big nose sensitively keen,” according to historian Donald Creighton, “like an animal’s for any scent of profit or danger.” The scent of profit came from the fact that Macdonald’s old Liberal rival, George Brown, had made himself a hated man among the workers of Canada.

Macdonald was quick to capitalize. He spoke to a crowd at Ottawa’s City Hall, promising to wipe the “barbarous laws” restricting labour from the books. Macdonald then came to the rescue of the imprisoned men and on 14 June passed the Trade Unions Act, which legalized and protected union activity. Macdonald’s move not only embarrassed his rival Brown but also earned him the enduring support of the working class.

Image from printers’ strike, 1872.

Legacy of the Strike

For the strikers themselves, the short-term effects were damaging. Many lost their jobs and were forced to leave Toronto. The long-term effects, however, were positive. After 1872, almost all union demands included the nine-hour day and the 54-hour week. Thus, the Toronto printers were pioneers of the shorter workweek in North America. Meanwhile, campaigns for an eight-hour day were already gaining in popularity and would eventually take hold in the United States.

This fight had a second, lasting legacy. The parades held in support of the Nine Hour Movement and the printers’ strike led to an annual celebration. In 1882, American labour leader Peter J. McGuire witnessed one of these labour festivals in Toronto. Inspired, he returned to New York and organized the first American Labor Day on 5 September of the same year. Throughout the 1880s, pressure built in Canada to declare a national labour holiday and on 23 July 1894, the government of Prime Minister John Thompson passed a law making Labour Day official. A huge Labour Day parade took place in Winnipeg that year that stretched some five kilometres. The tradition of a Labour Day celebration quickly spread across Canada and the continent. And it all began in Toronto with the brave stand of the printers’ union.

Everyone has a right to union representation when meeting with the employer. Use it!

Article 10.01 Employee Rights

Employees shall have the right, upon request, to the presence of a Union Steward at any stage of the Grievance Procedure, including the complaint and investigation stages, or at any time when formal discipline is imposed. CAMH shall arrange investigation and discipline meetings on not less than twenty-four (24) hours’ notice to the employee. If the employee requests a Union Steward to be present for any such meeting he shall be responsible for obtaining the presence of the Steward. Upon request, CAMH will provide any employee with a list of active Union Stewards which shall be updated by the Union. CAMH agrees that it will not discipline an employee without just cause. Where CAMH deems it necessary to suspend or discharge an employee, CAMH shall notify the Union, in writing, of such suspension or discharge.

Over the past few years, it has come to the Local’s attention that members are being invited to meetings with
a) Less than 24 hours notice and
b) The message that if they want a steward they can have one but it’s a casual conversation so you don’t need one. If members agree that they don’t want union representation they are then presented a waiver to say they are “waiving their union rights” and then meetings happen without representation.

The member absolutely has the right to choose whether or not they want to have representation at these meetings. But please consider that any meeting where a HR representative is present, everything the employee says goes on record and can be used against them, even if they are reporting on the behaviour of other persons. There have been numerous instances when members have waived their rights without understanding what they are doing, and then have been subjected to discipline and even termination because they were inadvertently caught or their words were misrepresented in a meeting. Once that happens, there is less that the union can do to help the member (other than file a grievance), because we were not present at the meeting with HR.

NOTE: This ONLY applies to meetings with HR present. It DOES NOT apply to meetings with your manager that do not include HR, which are they are allowed to have with you without union representation according to Article 5 describing Management Rights. If you didn’t know that HR was going to be present at a meeting and find a HR representative at a meeting, please stop the meeting and state that you need and want union representation, and they will provide one to you.

If you have any questions about your rights and how you can be supported please feel free to email us at opseu.local500@camh.ca or call ext. 32330/33217 and we will be happy to provide you with information to support your rights.

Local 500 Executive Committee

Thomas Andersson, President
1001 Queen Street West Unit 1, B-2A,
416 535-8501 x32330
Thomas.Andersson@camh.ca / OPSEU.Local500@camh.ca

Tony Ivanoff, Vice-President
100 Stokes Street, 3rd floor
416 535-8501 x34935
Tony.Ivanoff@camh.ca

Chantelle D’Mello, Lead Steward
1001 Queen Street West, Unit 1 B-2A
416 535-8501 x33217
Chantelle.Dmello@camh.ca / OPSEU.Local500@camh.ca

Yvonne Hinds, Secretary
160 Horner Avenue, Toronto South-West Detention Centre
416 535-8501 x36022 or 31916
Yvonne.Hinds@camh.ca

Robert Edgar, Treasurer
Robert.Edgar@camh.ca

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Voices United: A Newsletter from OPSEU Local 500 – July 2021

Indigenous Lives Matter

OPSEU Local 500 stands in solidarity with Indigenous nations, who are once again mourning the loss of lives of hundreds of children in unmarked graves. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission presented reports of the graves back in 2015, but it took gruesome discoveries for Canada to wake up to the reality. Our national reconciliation work has only just begun. We can do our part by learning about the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: http://www.trc.ca

Our stewards: Brandon Pierre (Research)

Many of you relied on Virginia Ittig-Deland for advice on issues specific to research areas. Since Virginia retired in June, Brandon Pierre has volunteered to be the primary steward helping research staff. Brandon is a Research Analyst with Geriatric Mental Health Research Services, and has been a steward since 2019. Here is what Brandon says about challenges that research staff are facing at CAMH: “Many research staff at CAMH are in the early to mid-phases of their career where they want to start writing publications or gain exposure to the workforce before continuing on their post-graduate studies. This is unlike many other groups in the private and public sector that attract staff who have already established themselves…, and who are looking to settle down somewhere where they can contribute to meaningful, scholarly work… The research departments with the highest turnover rates tend to be those that do not sufficiently invest in their staff in order to attract and retain talent. Due to the high turnover, I have seen many staff who are undertrained… for the many tasks that are assigned to them. There is a great need for standardized training protocols as well as investments into ongoing education and evaluation of best practices.”

Brandon can be reached at brandon.pierre@camh.ca or at ext. 30969.

Article

OPSEU Local 500 stands against any discrimination or harassment, and works to uphold our member’s rights.

ARTICLE 3 – NO DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT
3.01 Definition
The parties recognize the dignity and worth of every individual and seek to create a climate of understanding and mutual respect in the workplace. CAMH and the Union agree that there will be no discrimination, interference, intimidation, restriction or coercion exercised or practiced by any of their representatives with respect to any employee because of his membership or non-membership in the Union or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the Union or by reason of exercising his rights under the Collective Agreement.

3.02 Employer’s Commitment
The Employer agrees to conduct their affairs in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code, as amended from time-to-time, and agree that there shall be no discrimination, restraint, intimidation, harassment or coercion practiced or permitted by the Employer or the Union or any of their representatives against any employee because of any prohibited grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Employer agrees to comply with Ontario Legislation dealing with Workplace Violence and Harassment.

3.03 Ontario Human Rights Code

Every employee who is covered by this Agreement has a right to freedom from harassment in the workplace in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code. An employee who feels that they have been the subject of harassment may utilize the Grievance Procedure of this Collective Agreement, file a complaint under the Ontario Human Rights Code or utilize the process as set out in CAMH’s policy regarding Employment Related Harassment and Discrimination.

Your Local Executive Committee at work

OPSEU Local 500 has been tracking the number of meetings and the types of meetings we have been attending per month.

On AVERAGE the Local does 42.5 meetings a month.

In June 2021, the Local participated in almost 60 meetings with the employer on behalf of our members.

Meetings range from 30 minutes to 90 minutes in length.

This does not include time spent on phone calls, emails, paperwork, and walk-ins we support when we are in the office!

The Local participated in 255 meetings from January to June 2021. The meetings were further categorized (in order of highest to lowest percentage) as

  1. Fact Findings Meetings (33%): Organizational investigation meetings into member concerns related to either interactions or performance management flagged by management
  2. Layoffs/VEO Meetings (20%): Part of the organizational wide Layoffs or VEO’s offered to OPSEU employees this year to manage budgetary bottom lines Post COVID. OPSEU members and non-clinical staff were the only ones affected
  3. Accommodations/RTW Meetings (19%): Providing support to members who require support with accommodations, returning to work from leaves, support short term leaves, long term leaves and other WSIB related matters.
  4. Follow-ups/Miscellaneous (19%): Includes all other meetings related to members including completing investigations, committee meetings (Joint Health and Safety Committee, Horizontal Violence Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression Committee, Labour Management Relations meetings, Recruitment and Retention meetings, Leave of Absence meetings etc.)
  5. Grievances (9%): This includes member meetings with management and labour relations that are part of the grievance process.

Local 500 Executive Committee

Thomas Andersson, President
1001 Queen Street West Unit 1, B-2A,
416 535-8501 x32330
Thomas.Andersson@camh.ca / OPSEU.Local500@camh.ca

Tony Ivanoff, Vice-President
100 Stokes Street, 3rd floor
416 535-8501 x34935
Tony.Ivanoff@camh.ca

Chantelle D’Mello, Lead Steward
1001 Queen Street West, Unit 1 B-2A
416 535-8501 x33217
Chantelle.Dmello@camh.ca / OPSEU.Local500@camh.ca

Yvonne Hinds, Secretary
160 Horner Avenue, Toronto South-West Detention Centre
416 535-8501 x36022 or 31916
Yvonne.Hinds@camh.ca

Robert Edgar, Treasurer
Robert.Edgar@camh.ca

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A Newsletter from OPSEU Local 500 – June 2021

A Newsletter from OPSEU Local 500
June 2021

In March of 2020, the world was engulfed in by the Covid-19 Pandemic on a scale not seen since the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919. From the day the Pandemic was declared all members of OPSEU Local 500 have been on the front lines of the crisis experiencing the hardest challenges of your careers. You have all been dealing with redeployment and reassignment of your duties, additional health and safety procedures, to follow, and facing the unknown on a daily basis. You are all heroes to CAMH, your Union, families and friends. You have stayed incredibly committed to your patients and to each other! Work volumes have increased, and the stress on frontline health care workers, whatever your jobs has been enormous. The employer has been accommodating non-clinical staff to work from home, though many of you have been seen at the COVID screening stations set up across CAMH. As the President of OPSEU Local 500 I have been awed, humbled and moved by your enormous efforts and sacrifices.

Throughout the pandemic members of the Local have been given invaluable support by the OPSEU co-chair of the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee; Carol Mundley. Thank you Carol for all your hard work in support of our members.

The pandemic has caused hospital across the province to see revenue generating streams dry up. CAMH was not immune to this and is running a deficit. Ontario hospitals are forbidden by law from running deficits. CAMH, to balance the books laid off contract staff across the organization. IMG members took the brunt of the layoffs. Half of the Local’s members in Public Affairs were laid off as well. There were NO cuts to front line clinical staff. The OPSEU Staff Rep and I fought the layoffs very hard. The number of layoffs were significantly reduced, through other efficiencies being identified and vacancy management. I fought hard for enhanced entitlements for every member who was impacted in this round of layoffs.

The Local’s office has stayed open throughout the pandemic. We have shifted to representing members through virtual meetings online. We do have to respect social distancing the local office. However the office is open for members. Please call ahead to schedule to meet with myself or Chantelle. (Contact details at the end)

In Solidarity,
Thomas

Phase 1C Buildings and Engie Services

In the midst of the pandemic, the new C1 and D1 buildings were opened at the end of November. Members of the Local rose to the challenge as always and helped CAMH’s to move and settle into the new spaces. Five CAMH maintenance workers transferred to Engie Services, the custodian of the new buildings OPSEU Local 500 is now a composite Local. The Union preserved the Collective Agreement rights for our transferred and newly hired Engie members.

The moves into the new buildings have not gone entirely smoothly. Both Unions in pre-occupancy inspections had expressed concerns to the employer that the PICU nursing stations doors in the new units were not safe. After a serious incident, the employer is now in the process of replacing them with Dutch style doors. Non-clinical staff were shown workstations at a furniture fair two years ago. They did not materialize as presented then. Non-clinical staff are working in open spaces filled with desks that do not allow for privacy or undisturbed work. The new buildings advance patient care, unfortunately at the expense of sacrificing decent working spaces for non-clinical staff.

Happy Retirement Virginia!

Virginia Ittig-Deland, a long time Steward of the Local, co-chair of the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee for College Street and Ursula Franklin sites and Acting Lead Steward for the Local since September 2020 retired on June 4, 2021 after a storied 45 year career working at Addiction Research Foundation and then CAMH. Virginia’s knowledge and experience, both as a Research Analyst with in-depth understanding of research work and her expertise in Health and Safety, developed over decades of experience, will be sorely missed. All of us at the Local will miss your wisdom, eloquence, consistently principled stands in support of our members, Virginia. You made a huge impact, and you are leaving really big shoes to fill! Enjoy your new chapter in life, Virginia!

Rossana Coriandoli, Rossana.Coriandoli@camh.ca will be taking over as OPSEU co-chair of the College and Ursula Franklin sites’ Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee. Thank you Rossana for taking on this important role supporting our members.
Welcome Back Chantelle!

Please welcome back Chantelle D’Mello. Chantelle was away on maternity leave since September 2020. We have been eagerly awaiting your return to support our members!

Scheduling a Vacation

With the summer vacation season approaching, I wanted to remind everyone of the Vacation Schedules language in the Collective Agreement. If you are having any challenges scheduling a vacation, please do not hesitate to reach out to any member of the LEC or a Steward for assistance.

21.08 Vacation Schedules
CAMH will generally endeavour to accommodate the employee in scheduling vacations in accordance with specific periods requested. However, where the granting of all such requests would prejudice the efficient operation of the department, seniority will prevail in determining the time a specific employee’s vacation is scheduled.

Vacations may be taken at any time of the year between January 1 and December 31 inclusive. The vacation application schedule shall be posted by February 1 and completed by March 1 of each year. The final vacation schedule shall be posted by April 1 each year and once posted, changes may only be effected with the Employer’s agreement.

Vacation requests submitted after the vacation application period will be granted on a first come first served basis once the vacation schedule has been posted and subject to the efficient operation of the department. Vacation requests submitted after the vacation application period will be granted on a first come first served basis once the vacation schedule has been posted and subject to the efficient operation of the department. Requests shall not be unreasonably denied and CAMH will respond to such vacation requests within fourteen (14) calendar days.

In the interests of equity an employee may not utilize more than two (2) consecutive weeks of accumulated vacation/vacation credits during prime vacation time if it limits access to another employee during this time. This will not preclude the Employer from scheduling more than two (2) weeks where possible. In addition, an employee may not utilize the same vacation period two (2) years consecutively, in prime-time, if it limits access to another employee. Prime-time shall be defined as; March Break, June 15 –September 15 and the period from December 24 – January 2 inclusive.

Local 500 Executive Committee

Thomas Andersson, President
1001 Queen Street West Unit 1, B-2A,
416 535-8501 x32330
Thomas.Andersson@camh.ca / OPSEU.Local500@camh.ca

Tony Ivanoff, Vice-President
100 Stokes Street, 3rd floor
416 535-8501 x34935
Tony.Ivanoff@camh.ca

Chantelle D’Mello, Lead Steward
1001 Queen Street West, Unit 1 B-2A
416 535-8501 x33217
Chantelle.Dmello@camh.ca / OPSEU.Local500@camh.ca

Robert Edgar, Treasurer
100 Stokes Street, 6th floor
416 535-8501 x33277
Robert.Edgar@camh.ca

Yvonne Hinds, Secretary
160 Horner Avenue, Toronto South-West Detention Centre
416 535-8501 x36022 or 31916
Yvonne.Hinds@camh.ca

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Region 5 New Member/Steward Orientation

DATES:

Option #1 will run two consecutive 3 hour evenings Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021 and Wednesday Sept. 15, 2021 6:00 pm – 9:15 pm

Option #2 will run one day Saturday September 18, 2021 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

  • ANY MEMBER may apply for this class. This is not limited to Stewards.
  • Lost Wages will not be provided for this Educational.
  • As this meeting is being held virtually, no expenses outside of Family/Care Attendants claims (if required) will be reimbursed except in special circumstances where expenses have been pre-approved.
  • Union Activity Form MUST be completed and signed by ONE LEC.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: 4PM FRIDAY, AUGUST 27, 2021 – LATE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED

**Please be sure to submit your completed application to r5educationals@opseu.org in a timely manner as spots are limited and not guaranteed.**

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Reminder: deadline to register is July 9 – OPSEU/SEFPO Young Workers Conference Online

Conference Call Out

Dear Young Workers:

The Provincial Young Workers Committee (PYC) invites you to submit your application for the 2021 Young Workers Conference! It will take place virtually on August 14, 2021. In addition to welcoming previous conference participants, we would like to extend a special invitation to those who have not attended in the past. We welcome all members who identify as young workers, 35 and under. We look forward to meeting you!

“Young Workers in the Post Pandemic World: How to Organize, Mobilize and Strategize using Digital Media” will provide today’s young workers and leaders in the labour movement with powerful tools for mobilization. This conference, including the guest speakers and related activities, will focus on how social media has changed traditional mobilization structures, increased the speed and interactivity of communication, and has transformed the landscape of campaigns and political protest.

Event participants will be selected by the PYC with assistance from the Equity Unit. The selection process will try to achieve a diverse group of attendees, representative of the young workers within our membership.

Do not miss this opportunity to network, learn, share experiences and have some fun. Please submit your application no later than end of day on July 9, 2021. You can apply directly by logging onto OPSEU/SEFPO’s member portal. Only online applications will be accepted for this event. We will be applying the criteria as set out in questions 1-10 of the application form. Incomplete applications will not be considered. For any additional requirements, please contact the Equity Unit directly.

In solidarity,
Provincial Young Workers Committee (PYC)

About the Conference

The 13th Annual Young Workers Conference: “Young Workers in the Post Pandemic World: How to Organize, Mobilize and Strategize using Digital Media”

In recognition of the PYC’s motto, this event will EDUCATE, MOTIVATE and MOBILIZE young workers into action whether it is in their local communities, workplaces or in the labour movement.

The event is open to all OPSEU/SEFPO members in good standing, regardless of their union experience, who identify as young workers. Members of equity-seeking groups are especially encouraged to apply.

Tentative Conference Agenda

Saturday, August 14, 2021

8:45 to 9:00 AM – Zoom Room opens

9:00 to 9:10 AM – Statement of Respect and Land Acknowledgment

9:10 to 9:30 AM – OPSEU/SEFPO President, Smokey Thomas and OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer, Eddy Almeida Conference Opening Remarks and Welcome

9:30 to 10:30 AM – Labour History and the structure of OPSEU/SEFPO

10:30 to 10:45 AM – Break

10:45 AM to 12:00 PM – Guest Speakers Nour Alideeb, Executive Director at University of Toronto Mississauga Students Union & Munib Sajjad, Political Organizer, Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Discussing the pros and cons of organizing around social justice issues during a pandemic.

12:00 to 1:30 PM – Lunch

1:30 to 3:15 PM – Guest Speaker Saman Tabasinejad, Project Manager
Progress Toronto: Social media as a tool to engage members and to build and execute successful campaigns

3:15 to 3:30 PM – Break

3:30 to 4:30 PM – Break Out Rooms: Using the tips received from presentation #2, create social media campaign outlines for the following platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok.

4:30 PM – Wrap-up and adjourn

Apply to attend the 2021Young Workers Conference

Apply to attend the 2021Young Workers Conference FR

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Register by July 9: OPSEU/SEFPO Young Workers Conference Online

Reminder: deadline to register is July 9, 2021

Conference Call Out

Dear Young Workers:

The Provincial Young Workers Committee (PYC) invites you to submit your application for the 2021 Young Workers Conference! It will take place virtually on August 14, 2021. In addition to welcoming previous conference participants, we would like to extend a special invitation to those who have not attended in the past. We welcome all members who identify as young workers, 35 and under. We look forward to meeting you!

“Young Workers in the Post Pandemic World: How to Organize, Mobilize and Strategize using Digital Media” will provide today’s young workers and leaders in the labour movement with powerful tools for mobilization. This conference, including the guest speakers and related activities, will focus on how social media has changed traditional mobilization structures, increased the speed and interactivity of communication, and has transformed the landscape of campaigns and political protest.

Event participants will be selected by the PYC with assistance from the Equity Unit. The selection process will try to achieve a diverse group of attendees, representative of the young workers within our membership.

Do not miss this opportunity to network, learn, share experiences and have some fun. Please submit your application no later than end of day on July 9, 2021. You can apply directly by logging onto OPSEU/SEFPO’s member portal. Only online applications will be accepted for this event. We will be applying the criteria as set out in questions 1-10 of the application form. Incomplete applications will not be considered. For any additional requirements, please contact the Equity Unit directly.

In solidarity,
Provincial Young Workers Committee (PYC)

About the Conference

The 13th Annual Young Workers Conference: “Young Workers in the Post Pandemic World: How to Organize, Mobilize and Strategize using Digital Media”

In recognition of the PYC’s motto, this event will EDUCATE, MOTIVATE and MOBILIZE young workers into action whether it is in their local communities, workplaces or in the labour movement.

The event is open to all OPSEU/SEFPO members in good standing, regardless of their union experience, who identify as young workers. Members of equity-seeking groups are especially encouraged to apply.

Tentative Conference Agenda

Saturday, August 14, 2021

8:45 to 9:00 AM – Zoom Room opens

9:00 to 9:10 AM – Statement of Respect and Land Acknowledgment

9:10 to 9:30 AM – OPSEU/SEFPO President, Smokey Thomas and OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer, Eddy Almeida Conference Opening Remarks and Welcome

9:30 to 10:30 AM – Labour History and the structure of OPSEU/SEFPO

10:30 to 10:45 AM – Break

10:45 AM to 12:00 PM – Guest Speakers Nour Alideeb, Executive Director at University of Toronto Mississauga Students Union & Munib Sajjad, Political Organizer, Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario Discussing the pros and cons of organizing around social justice issues during a pandemic.

12:00 to 1:30 PM – Lunch

1:30 to 3:15 PM – Guest Speaker Saman Tabasinejad, Project Manager
Progress Toronto: Social media as a tool to engage members and to build and execute successful campaigns

3:15 to 3:30 PM – Break

3:30 to 4:30 PM – Break Out Rooms: Using the tips received from presentation #2, create social media campaign outlines for the following platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok.

4:30 PM – Wrap-up and adjourn

Apply to attend the 2021Young Workers Conference

Apply to attend the 2021Young Workers Conference FR

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Rising Above the Storm: Creating the Future We Want

Sign up for the Indigenous & Workers of Colour Conference 2021, hosted by the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, Saturday, June 12, 2021 9:45 am to 12:40 pm.

This year’s conference will be held virtually over Zoom and will feature a keynote address by Rosemary Power, Executive Director of Toronto Community Benefits Network.

Registration fee ($20) covered by OPSEU local 500. Download the application form and submit your completed form to ssimpson@labourcommunityservices.ca and copy  OPSEU.Local500@camh.ca. Read more at the conference website.

Workshop preference:

  • Environmental racism – facilitated by Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
  • Migrant worker & the impact of COVID – facilitated by Santiago Escobar or United Food and Commercial Workers
  • Land acknowledgements & reconciliation – facilitated by OPSEU Indigenous Circle
  • Challenging racism & racial trauma: Tools and resources – facilitated by the City of Toronto’s Confronting Anti-Black Racism Unit
  • Mental health in the workplace & accommodations – facilitated by OPSEU

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