Region 2 participates in a rally against privatization of health care in Ontario

COPE Region 2 was among the demonstrators who called for an end to the privatization of health care in Ontario at a rally at Queen’s Park in Toronto.

The group from London filled two buses to travel to Toronto to make Prime Minister Doug Ford see reason.

COPE/SEPB represents a wide range of workers in the health sector in Ontario.

Region 2 President Lorrie Vandersluis was at the rally and told CTV that private healthcare companies need a profit margin and that doesn’t work in the best interest of most patients.

“That’s the premise of capitalism, right?. They want the best bang for their buck and their shareholders. The patient is no longer at the heart of the priorities,” said Ms. Vandersluis.

You can watch the CTV report by clicking here.

Due to privatization, Ontario’s health care system is facing unprecedented levels of emergency department closures, especially in small communities, while the Ford government has $22.5 billion for health care. The money comes from federal transfers.

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

COPE/SEPB stands in solidarity with Indigenous communities across Turtle Island on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

We acknowledge the pain, suffering, and intergenerational trauma endured by Indigenous peoples because of the residential school system, systemic racism, and colonization. We recognize the profound impact of these injustices on Indigenous individuals, families, and communities.

We firmly believe that the path to healing, justice, and reconciliation requires not only reflection but also concrete actions, including ensuring that all 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report get implemented.

On this day and throughout the year, we encourage our members to reflect on the history of injustice against Indigenous peoples and to actively participate in reconciliation efforts.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a solemn reminder of the work that lies ahead in our collective journey towards reconciliation. Together, we must confront the truths of the past, listen to Indigenous voices, and work tirelessly to create a more just and equitable society.

As a labour union, we are committed to being part of this transformative process. We stand united with Indigenous communities, reaffirming our support for their healing, justice, and reconciliation.

In solidarity,

Annette Toth
President

COPE-SEPB Stands in Solidarity with Ontario Education Workers

Premier Ford and his Conservative party in Ontario are imposing unfair contracts on education workers with significant wage cuts and then to make it even worse he wants to silence workers and tell them they can’t even protest against his abusive law. This is a slap in the face to workers who have been on the front line during the pandemic and just like all of us are facing massive inflation and price increases.

This abhorrent piece of legislation saddles workers who dare to defy such ruthless and brutal legislation with hefty fines. Ford knows his legislation will break Canadian’s constitutional rights and freedoms. His legislation pre-emptively overrides the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code which leaves workers with no right to challenge the legislation at the Labour Board or in court.

Bill 28 is historic and precedent-setting in all the wrong ways. It seeks to attack and undermine workers and the very democratic principles and ideologies that make a civil, democratic society civil. By invoking the notwithstanding clause, Ford and the Conservative Party are seeking to trample on some of our most fundamental rights while limiting the ability of those he and his government are stomping all over to challenge him and the legislation.

As of Friday, November 4, these brave workers will be off the job and fighting for themselves and for all our collective human rights. We must support and stand with  the members of CUPE OSBCU in this fight.

There are many ways you can support these workers who are bravely taking a stand.

We encourage COPE-SEPB members to show support for Ontario education workers at https://cupe.on.ca/dontbeabully/

For members in Ontario or who will be visiting:

You can find your closest picket line by using CUPE’s Picket Line Finder here: https://cupe.on.ca/dontbeabully/. You can also send an email to Ford using the email form provided on the page. For those who live closest to an NDP MPP office, please consider travelling to your nearest PC MPP’s office to picket. The NDP is standing in solidarity with education workers, and we thank them for their solidarity.

Email your MPP and let them know you’re opposed to this draconian legislation and that you stand with education workers using the OFL’s handy email your MPP tool found here: https://ofl.ca/action/email-hands-off/

COPE-SEPB stands in solidarity with education workers and all workers who are under an unprecedented attack that seeks to undermine our collective Labour and human rights. We must stand together and fight back. If history has taught us anything, the old adage remains true – the workers united will never be defeated.

National survey reports widespread harassment and violence in workplaces

The CLC and its research partners are releasing the initial findings of a national survey on workplace harassment and violence.

For years, workers and advocates have been drawing attention to the ongoing and widespread issue of harassment and violence at work. However, a shortage of Canadian-specific data made it difficult to know the extent and nature of the problem.

To address this evidence gap, in 2020, the CLC and researchers from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto launched the first National Survey on Harassment and Violence at Work. Nearly 5,000 workers took part in the survey offering a clear snapshot of how workers are experiencing harassment and violence. The initial report, “Harassment and Violence in Canadian Workplaces: It’s [Not] Part of the Job,” was released today.

The results in this report are unsettling:

  • 7 in 10 workers have experienced a form of harassment and violence at work.
  • Nearly 1 in 2 workers have experienced sexual harassment and violence in the last two years.
  • Women, trans, nonbinary, and gender-diverse workers are experiencing higher rates of harassment and violence.
  • Indigenous survey respondents experienced significantly higher rates of harassment and violence (79%) and sexual harassment and violence (47.8%).
  • Workers with a disability experienced significantly higher rates of harassment and violence.
  • Third-parties (such as customers, clients, and patients) and co-workers were the two most commonly reported perpetrators.
  • 70% of workers who experienced harassment and violence had to miss work because of the negative effects.
  • 88% of workers who experienced harassment and violence were “transferred, suspended, fired, or lost a shift” due to the harassment and violence.
  • 1 in 4 who reported said that reporting made the situation worse.

“The Report provides an important and sobering insight into the state of harassment and violence in Canadian workplaces today” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).  “We see this as a wakeup call and as an opportunity to reassess what is and is not working. The results will give us a strong evidence-base to decide what actions we need to take next.”

The survey results tell us that workers are not experiencing harassment and violence the same. Indigenous workers, racialized workers, workers with disabilities, and workers who are a part of the 2SLGBTQI+ community are experiencing different forms and higher rates of harassment and violence.

The survey also found that third party violence from customers, clients, and patients is happening at a startlingly high rate, which means we need to do more to protect our members who work with third parties. This important finding will help unions create targeted prevention strategies to keep workers safer.

“We know there is no one-size-fits-all solution and we are ready to do the work to address harassment and violence in all its forms,” said Bruske. “We are particularly concerned by the results around reporting which shows that too few workers are reporting and those that do are often not satisfied with the outcome. Clearly, the reporting procedures that we have in place today are not working.”

The initial Report will help start conversations with members about what changes they want to see from their unions, employers, and governments. Tackling harassment and violence at work will require a commitment from all three. Canada’s unions look forward to working closely with employers and governments to build harassment free workplaces. The CLC is developing a multi-year plan to address harassment and violence that will include education programs, collective bargaining approaches, and a legislative agenda. Targeted reports will dive into the data in more depth to better understand how marginalized workers are impacted by harassment and violence. These will help develop and implement much-needed strategies to help keep all workers safe.

“We want to thank all of the workers who took part in this survey for sharing their stories and experiences. We know that this is an opportunity to create lasting change and the labour movement will not let this opportunity pass. We are prepared to do what it takes to make work safer for everyone,” said Bruske.