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Time to respect ourselves

Publish date: Wednesday, May 01, 2019 presidentsMessage

Dave Bulmer

As professionals, we take great pride in our work, and doing our utmost to ensure Ontarians receive high-quality public services.

That said, we cannot be expected to do even more with even less.

More than 475 AMAPCEO members, 1,150 OPSEU members, and 450 managers have taken exit packages from the Ontario Public Service (OPS) in recent months. This, coupled with a hiring freeze, is going to put even more stress on you and your colleagues—with increasing workloads and pressure to work overtime. You may already be feeling this in your workplace.

Like you, over my career I’ve worked my fair share of overtime hours without compensation. I’ve done so because I care about what I do, how well I do it, and who I do it for. That sentiment is not out of the norm for all of us as civil service professionals.

However, what is out of the norm, is finding ourselves in workplaces where once there were ten of us and now there are five. Where two or three times a month we willingly stayed an hour late to finish up an important project – unlike today when we could stay every evening for 2-3 hours just to catch up on the routine aspects of our jobs.

Burnout can affect any of us, and it can take a significant toll on your career, your health and your family.

It is for exactly this reason that our Collective Agreement codifies our hours of work and our overtime provisions.

While your manager can ask you to work overtime, with notice and good reason, and/or you may do so of your own accord with your manager’s approval – always record your overtime hours in WIN, and never work overtime without compensation. To do so, is to shortchange yourself, to threaten your health and to enable your Employer to further endanger your job security and that of your co-workers.

Your Employer has made a choice to downsize to your workplace. We encourage you to make the choice to honour your contract.

Article 46 of our OPS Collective Agreement entitles you to receive compensating leave as follows:

  • 1 hour for each hour worked between 36.25 hours and 44 hours per work week;
  • 1.5 hours for each hour worked in excess of 44 hours per work week; and
  • 1.5 hours for each hour worked on your regularly scheduled day off.

For more information on overtime and your hours of work provisions, please see the OPS Fact Sheet.

The Employee and Family Assistance Program is also available, with helpful articles, tools, and even confidential counselling, if you’re dealing with stress or burnout.

And as always, contact a Workplace Representative (WPR) if you experience issues with overtime approvals or repercussions for adhering to your 36.25-hour week. Our WPRs will be there to help you with any individual concerns, while we will continue to address the broader issue of overwork across the OPS with the Employer.

Respect yourself. Respect your collective agreement. And remember, we’re always stronger together.

Dave Bulmer


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 eleven cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth; Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; Public Health Ontario; Health Quality Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council and the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner.