In the fall of 2006, the McGuinty government introduced legislation that would end mandatory retirement. As people are healthier and living longer, it has been deemed unfair to insist that people end their employment because they turn 65. The legislation would protect existing rights to pension, early retirement and benefit plans. However, the legislation continues to allow mandatory retirement where it can be justified on ?bona fide occupational requirement, (this is determined under the Human Rights Code, regarding essential job duties).
Compassionate Care Leave
Employees are entitled to up to 8 weeks of compassionate care leave to provide care and support to a gravely ill family member. A medical certificate is required from a qualified physician, stating that the family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death within 26 weeks. There is no requirement that an employee be employed for a particular length of time to be eligible for this leave.
Employees can take the leave in one or two periods. Each period must be at least one week long and the definition for ?family members? is defined broadly and can include those who are not related to the employee, but are considered a family member.
Personal Emergency Leave
Personal emergency leave, on the other hand, is an unpaid leave of up to 10 days in each calendar year which can be taken because of personal illness, injury or medical emergency and the death, illness, injury, medical emergency or urgent matters relating to certain family members and dependent relatives. Only employees who work for employers that regularly employ at least 50 employees are entitled to personal emergency leave and the persons with respect to whom a personal emergency leave may be taken may differ from the family members specified for family medical leave. An employee can be eligible for both Personal and Compassionate Leave in one year.
On December 20th ‘successor rights? were returned to OPSEU via amendments to the Public Service Act passed by the Ontario Legislature. Further information can be found by connecting to this link (http://www.opseu.org/ops/frontlines/frontlinesjan152007.htm). With this change a member of the OASIS Labour Relations Committee raised this issue with MCSS; questioning how this was going to affect agencies across Ontario and their involvement with the facility closures. The concern is, with this amendment it could have OPSEU’s collective agreements (wages, benefit and seniority) follow the individuals leaving the facility and in turn having agencies become unionized if new staff are hired to support the individuals leaving the three facilities.
In order to be proactive, the LR Committee has taken the following measures:
? Spoken with senior Ministry representatives identifying this matter as a potential serious concern with respect to the facility closure initiative
? Spoken with representatives of OPSEU
? Raised the topic at the January 18th OASIS Board meeting
? Spoken with legal council & obtained a legal opinion
The legal opinion was shared with OASIS members and is available on the OASIS website.
The LR committee has been meeting with representatives of WSIB to discuss the discrepancies in rates across the DS Sector. The OASIS web site has information on the historical issues that agencies have had with WSIB. One of the main issues that the LR committee is trying to tackle with WSIB is the discrepancies within the rates between different job classifications within an agency. Employees that are in essence doing the same job have different rates and other agencies that have all staff classifications covered under one rate. There is clearly not a consistent formula across the Ontario and that needs to be resolved.
WSIB will be presenting at the OASIS Conference and they are also considering regional presentations if there is an interest in this from our members. The LR Committee will determine if regional presentations should take place after we had an opportunity to determine how it was received at the Conference. The next meeting with WSIB will take place in May where we will have draft recommendations of changes we feel will improve WSIB coverage for our members.
As many agencies across Ontario have been in meetings with their unions around negotiating their Collective Agreement, the LR Committee would be remiss in not mentioning the ?Secure site? that is available for members.
Many Executive Directors have also taken advantage of the OASIS on line directory to communicate with each other about various negotiation items; including Workplace Violence language and Pension issues. This method of sharing information has been very useful to the agencies especially since there has been such a push by the Unions to work collectively in their bargaining meetings.