Being there for one another
Publish date: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 presidentsMessage
Visit our COVID-19 information hub at amapceo.on.ca/covid19
There’s no denying that these are uncertain times.
AMAPCEO staff, Vice-President Cynthia Watt, and I continue to be in close communication with each bargaining unit employer to ensure the safety of our members and the continuation of critical public services.
Each employer will maintain regular contact with you through their usual channels, and we’ll continue to provide updates where appropriate. Our COVID-19 information hub is being continually updated. We’re also updating AMAPCEO’s Facebook and Twitter accounts regularly.
Our goal is to ensure that no AMAPCEO member is required to go into their workplace unless absolutely necessary, and to protect the health and safety of those who must.
If you are being told to report to your office, and you do not think it is necessary, please contact an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative in your bargaining unit right away by phone or by email.
Your union has negotiated strong collective agreements, rights and entitlements that you may find especially helpful during this time. If you are ill, you are protected. If you are caring for a loved one, consider using attendance credits, including special/compassionate leave, to cover care needs. If you need assistance with any of your entitlements, please contact an AMAPCEO Workplace Representative by phone or email.
On Monday, I spoke directly with the President of the Treasury Board, Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, who reaffirmed his commitment to supporting our hardworking AMAPCEO members and other public servants in these difficult times.
The reality is that this crisis is going to impact our neighbours and our communities in ways we can’t even begin to predict yet.
So, in addition to protecting you, your health, and livelihoods, we will also be working with the rest of the labour movement to advocate for increased protections for all workers, and in particular, those who are precariously employed or otherwise vulnerable. Earlier this week, I joined other unions for a teleconference with Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton about strengthening the Employment Standards Act to provide income protection for those most affected by this crisis.
We’ll also be pushing to ensure public services are adequately funded, affordable, and accessible for every Ontarian—for now and in the future.
We want to ensure that no one falls behind in this time of need.
Many of you have reached out over the last week asking how you can help. Thank you.
Here are some thoughts:
- Follow the advice of public health experts and stay home as much as you are able. If you must go out for essentials, keep a distance from others as best you can. Flatten the curve!
- If you fall ill, self-isolate to protect others.
- Check in on your colleagues, loved ones, and neighbours and see how you can offer support.
- Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need assistance.
As this situation develops, I’ll have more to come.
Until then, thank you for your patience, professionalism, and hard work keeping Ontario’s public services as operational as possible.
Having spent my public service career in emergency health services, and having worked through SARS in 2003, I am thinking especially of AMAPCEO members in the Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care, at Public Health Ontario, and at Ontario Health – Quality (formerly HQO), who are working tirelessly to fight COVID-19 and to ensure we all have access to one of the world’s best health services.
Lastly—be thankful for the first responders and medical professionals on the frontlines, be kind to your colleagues, your neighbours, and strangers alike, and most importantly take care of yourselves.
There is strength in community, and we’ll get through this by being there for one another.
President & CEO
More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; Health Quality Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).