“Home care is key to health system reform, yet the government has done little over the last decade to stabilize the sector." — Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President.
Toronto (03 Feb. 2015) — The Ontario Public Services Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) is asking its members to support professionals on strike at 9 of the province’s 14 Community Care Access Centres (CCACs).
CCACs accused of giving executive bonuses but telling front-line workers the "cupboard is bare"
About 3,000 members of the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) walked off the job on January 30 over an impasse in bargaining with the nine CCACs. ONA’s last contract expired at the end of last March.
“Ontario’s Community Care Access Centres have no shame,” says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the 130,000-member OPSEU/NUPGE, while visiting an ONA picket line in Kingston today. “While giving their executives lavish wage increases, the staff who do the difficult front-line work are told once again the cupboard is bare.”
The Community Care Access Centres came under fire last February for CEO salaries that jumped by as much as 50 per cent between 2009 and 2012 while professional staff were undergoing a two-year wage freeze.
The subsequent Sunshine List revealed that the party didn’t end there for these CEOs.
High turn over in home care sector directly related to poor wages and benefits
Richard Joly, who had already taken a substantial increase between 2009 and 2012 as CEO of the North East CCAC, saw his pay rise by another 16 per cent in 2013 according to the Sunshine List. That’s an increase of almost $40,000, bringing his salary to $288,000. Now his CCAC is one of nine who cannot reach an agreement with their front- line staff.
Cathy Szabo, the former CEO at Central CCAC who left in 2014, already experienced a 50 per cent wage increase between 2009 and 2012. Last year, her board added another $7,000 to her remuneration in 2013 — a raise of a little over 2.5 per cent. That’s in addition to $12,077 in taxable benefits. Central CCAC cannot reach an agreement either.
OPSEU/NUPGE says the high turnover of professionals in the home care sector is directly related to uncompetitive wages and benefits.
OPSEU/NUPGE fully supports ONA members as they try to reach a fair and reasonable collective agreement
OPSEU/NUPGE is offering ONA its full support and is encouraging its members to do the same.
“Home care is key to health system reform, yet the government has done little over the last decade to stabilize the sector,” says Thomas. “We would ask Gail Donner to pay close attention to this issue as she finalizes recommendations from her expert review to the Minister of Health.” In 2014, the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care released A Vision for Home and Community Care in Ontario (The Vision) to communicate the Ministry's commitment to home and community care for clients and patients. To support the implementation of the Vision, the Minister also appointed an expert panel. Donner is the chair of the panel and will deliver recommentations to the Minister.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE