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.


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

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

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

Robert Edgar, Treasurer

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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