If you work in a courthouse in Ontario, fill out this online survey to ensure you have the proper protection to do your job safely.
Toronto (15 April 2014) — Every worker has the right to go to work and come home safely to their family, says the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE). Following an incident at the Brampton courthouse on March 28, OPSEU/NUPGE has set out to increase the pressure on the employer to ensure the safety of its staff and the public at courthouses around the province.
Criminal justice system overloaded, workers dealing with more and more issues in the workplace
Tens of thousands of criminal charges, civil actions and family law matters are handled by our courts each year. Most of the time court proceedings and the filing of court documents unfold as they should.
However, there is no question our justice system is under pressure. There has been an explosive growth of civil cases, including family law matters, but little in the way of resources to assist families through the process. There is an increasing number of people unable to afford legal representation who are attending court unrepresented and grappling with contentious issues such as child custody.
As well, while the vast majority of people with mental health conditions rarely come into contact with the criminal justice system, mental health emergencies do arise that sometimes lead to a criminal charge being laid. Consequently, there is an interaction with our justice system and a chance for referral to much-needed services and supports.
Courthouse workers face daily pressures
OPSEU/NUPGE represents 5,300 members who work in the province's 167 courthouses, face daily stresses and pressures on the job, including:
- verbal abuse and threats
- members of the public entering restricted areas of the courthouse
- lack of in-court security officers
- in-custody parties travelling through restricted or public hallways in older courthouses
- court locations with no security screening
- large numbers of weapons being seized at locations where there is security screening.
Courthouse safety survey
While health and safety provisions exist, it has been left to OPSEU/NUPGE to seek out the protection. In order to understand what conditions exist for members across the province, OPSEU/NUPGE is encouraging all courthouse employees to fill out this online survey.
The survey is quick and easy to fill out. This survey will gather important information to convince the employer to put in place the necessary precautions to keep all workers safe.
Our courts must be safe for all. A courthouse that is safe for staff is also safe for the public whom rely on those services each day.
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