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Five years on, union’s governance model working well

Publish date: Wednesday, June 09, 2021 update

Photo of delegates voting at SDC

Yesterday, AMAPCEO quietly reached a milestone—the five-year anniversary of the Special Delegates’ Conference (SDC) on Governance Reform, held June 8, 2016. At that SDC, Delegates voted to modernize the way the union was governed, adopting the model in use today.

In the union’s original, “Chapter”-based model, members were divided into chapters based primarily on which Ontario Public Service (OPS) Ministry they worked for. When AMAPCEO was founded in 1995, its 4,500 members were more evenly distributed between Ministries and across the province. However, as the union grew—eventually more than tripling in size—the model became unbalanced.

Over that time, through divestments and organizing, AMAPCEO also came to represent members in the Broader Public Service, who found themselves underrepresented in the original model.

“It wasn’t as democratic as a union ought to be,” President Dave Bulmer reflected. Bulmer, who was elected President in 2014 after four years on the AMAPCEO Board, was a driving force for the changes. “It didn’t reflect our membership or our growing influence in the Broader Public Service.”

Further, the union’s initial model, which featured both a Board of Directors and a Provincial Council—and a blurry separation between the roles and authorities of each body—created distance between members and the leadership of the union.

“We wanted to make the union’s leadership more representative of, and directly accountable to, its members,” Bulmer said. “I think we achieved that.”

AMAPCEO’s governance model, adopted by Delegates at that Conference in 2016, divides members into more evenly balanced geographic districts. Each District’s members directly elect their own District Director, who joins the Executive Officers (President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer) on the union’s Board of Directors. Executive Officers are elected by Delegates every two years.

“It was an enormous undertaking that was years in the making,” President Dave Bulmer said. “But the results have paid off.”

Since adapting the current governance model, activist and member engagement within the union has flourished.

It has also allowed AMAPCEO to focus more on its key responsibilities as a professional union—strong labour relations, inclusive member engagement, effective outreach, and efficient operations.

“We’re stronger today than ever before,” Bulmer said. “That’s in no small part thanks to the wise decision of the Delegates at that special Conference five years ago.”

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).