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OPS Employer’s new return to workplace plans anything but gradual

Publish date: Tuesday, March 01, 2022 update

Queen's Park

This morning, CTV News reported that the next phase of the Ontario Public Service (OPS) Employer’s return to the workplace plan would begin Monday, April 4, at which point all OPS employees would be expected to be in the office a minimum of three days a week.

Secretary of Cabinet Michelle E. DiManuele has since notified all OPS employees of their new plan, which is light on details.

What is clear is that this plan represents a departure from the Graduated Return to OPS Workplaces Plan (GROW), which AMAPCEO provided feedback on since its inception to help ensure the OPS Employer made decisions that prioritized the health and well-being of AMAPCEO members.

The union is awaiting further details of the OPS Employer’s latest plan to make sure it is as flexible, gradual, and safe, as they first promised.

Given this promise for a gradual approach, AMAPCEO leadership says they are surprised and disappointed to see the Employer change the policy to a minimum of three days a week in the office. Previous plans were far more graduated, and Bulmer says the union would have preferred to see that in today’s announcement.

“The health and safety of our members is of the utmost importance, and today’s announcement did not provide enough details for members to feel confident in their return to the workplace. We want to review this new plan as soon as possible, and will compare it against local public health protocols,” Bulmer said.

While AMAPCEO and its members anticipated that a return to the workplace would begin in the weeks ahead, the union also takes issue with how its members—and all OPS employees—were notified.

“Ontario Public Service employees shouldn’t be finding out when they’re due back in the workplace through news outlets,” AMAPCEO President Dave Bulmer said. “They deserve to hear it directly from their Employer first.”

Bulmer pointed out the peculiar timing of the announcement, given that the news article, based on anonymous sources, was out mere hours before the union and the Employer sat down at the virtual negotiations table for the first day of bargaining in this round.

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; the Ontario Arts Council; Ontario Health (Quality Unit); 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).