HAPS: How Is it Possible to Lay People Off?

Greetings Members,

I was recently sent an e-mail and asked by one of our members, if it was possible for CAMH to be laying people off.

I was surprised by the question, as over the past few years, representing our members during a lay off meeting with HR/Management has been a bulk of L500’s business.

In 2005 under the leadership of Dalton McGuinty, a legislative change occurred which impacted the health care sector in a manner which altered its course significantly.

The Liberal Government declared that all Hospitals had to operate on a zero balanced budget-they had to be accountable and responsible to the Government. If things went awry and Hospitals continued erratic spending, the Government would appoint a committee to run the hospital!

Since 2005, CAMH has issued such a budget directive to its Directors/Managers–trim the budget, and in most years by 10%.

This year is not different for your OPSEU representatives, just more difficult.

We will see the largest lay off of front line clinical staff since the grand merger of 1998.

We know through the years, most people who remain at CAMH, are doing the work of two people. We know breaks and lunches are not taken, we know staff are working overtime and not claiming money/time, we know staff morale is at an all-time low, we know you are fearful.

We struggle with the issues you face every single day.

The budget cuts, do not take into account the COLA (cost of living allowance) for managers/Directors/Senior leaders–2% this year–nice on those 100k plus salaries. Workers who carry out the CAMH agenda (whatever that is) have seen 0% increases for 3 years–2014/2015 being the first increases at a whopping 1.4%.

In many instances over the years, senior managers have received 12 to 14% “bonuses” on their frozen salaries–some at 270k plus…brings a tear to your eye, how they have suffered.

In the fall of every year, we know budgets are being examined and we know the majority of savings will be found by eliminating your jobs. CAMH hired assistant managers to help the managers manage during this difficult time (yes, another layer of management with large wages).

We know from time to time there is a “hiring freeze” so no jobs get posted in categories where a layoff might occur. We need those vacancies to preserve your job, to maintain your work and to make every effort to “keep you whole”: job-benefits-pension.

We meet with Finance, Directors and managers along with their representatives, Human Resources who all advise the local Union of the years’ savings and who will be part of the HAPS process this year.

Sometimes they get it wrong–as we see this year. We often make arguments to keep programs and staff, but it usually falls upon closed ears. We made our arguments this year, valid and evidenced-based. We expect, as in the past folks will grieve, the Union proper will grieve this year, we believe when altering a person’s life CAMH needs to “get it right”.

I know the following months will be difficult for our bargaining unit moving forward. Be assured, we know your rights when a lay off occurs, we will be with you and we will support you all during this process.

Cheers & Solidarity,


About opseulocal500

Union office Unit 1, B-2A, (Basement, room 2A), Queen Street West Site 1001 Queen Street West Toronto, ON M6J 1H4 Tel: 416 535-8501 x32330 Fax: 416-583-1254 Email: OPSEU.Local500@camh.ca
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