During our last round of Central Negotiations with the Ministry of Education and the Trustees Associations, OSBCC agreed to Letter of Understanding #14 which states:
The parties reconfirm their intent to participate in the Provincial Health and Safety Working Group. The purpose of the working group is to consider areas related to health and safety in order to continue to build and strengthen a culture of health and safety mindedness in the education sector.
Three priorities were identified:
The first priority was to develop MOL guidance material to better inform inspectors and workplace parties on compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1990 (OHSA) as it relates to workplace violence.
The second priority was to provide advice on the issue of ‘information sharing’ – namely, information being shared with board employees pertaining to student behaviour that may present a risk of harm. Some of this information may be contained in the Ontario Student Record (OSR). The advice of the PWGHS will inform next steps to expand access to this important information by spring 2018.
The third priority addresses the need to clarify and streamline Ontario’s existing reporting requirements for incidents of violence in schools. The PWGHS advice is intended to inform implementation of next steps to be taken this spring for implementation during the 2018-19 school year.
The Committee, which includes representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour, school board sector unions and associations (i.e. CUPE, OECTA, OSSTF, ETFO, etc.) and the various Trustees Associations (i.e. OPSBA, OCSTA, etc.) met several times over several months with these priorities as our focus.
Discussions were fruitful and our CUPE PWGHS, along with other unions and associations were successful in pushing the MOL and EDU outside of their comfort zones with respect to holding School Boards accountable for the health and safety of our members.
Officially released on Friday, March 9th by Ministers Naidoo-Harris and Flynn, the Resource Guide “Workplace Violence in School Boards: A Guide to the Law” provides leading practices for developing violence policies and procedures, assessing and re-assessing risks of workplace violence, developing student safety plans, reporting violent incidents, and sharing of information with workers so they may recognize and be protected from workplace violence. The Roadmap “Workplace Violence Reporting Process in School Boards” details violence reporting requirements of the EDU, MOL, and WSIB, complete with links to the various reporting forms, Ministry PPMs, and OHSA legislation. Work is continuing on the development of training modules and a common online reporting system which we hope will someday be used across the Province.
It is important to note that these are “living documents” which we will continue to modify and improve in response to user input and evaluation of the documents.
Both documents (the Roadmap is in Appendix H of the Resource Document) can be viewed on the Province’s website by following the link below:
Your CUPE PWGHS Committee
Don Postar, Dan Mills, Vicky Evans, Michele Lalonge-Davey, Chris Sutton, and Bridget Pridham