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Children's Aid Society / La Société d'aide à l'enfance Nipissing Parry Sound

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Frequently Asked Questions – February 4, 2017

Feb 4, 2017

View newly released FAQs and answers.

Did the letter sent to employees on December 8, 2016 from the CAS Executive Director signal an intention by the CAS to lock out workers well in advance of the December 23, 2016 strike/lockout date?  

No. The letter from CAS was informational only and was issued as a courtesy to employees so that they could prepare for a possible strike or lockout. The letter was provided to staff after CUPE requested the ‘no board report’ on December 6, 2016 and the possibility of a strike or lockout was evident.

The CAS made the difficult decision to lock out workers in late December, based on strong evidence that, had this action not been taken, we would face a serious risk of disruption to the services we provide to children and families. In the days leading up to the lockout, it became necessary to implement a contingency plan that involved the lockout of workers on December 23, 2016.

 

Is the CAS open to revising its workload management policies and practices, including the creation of a dispute resolution mechanism that involves union representation?

Yes. The CAS in its Final Offer proposed that the Workload Review Process be attached to the new Collective Agreement as a Letter of Understanding. Additionally, we have committed in writing to joint monthly meetings to review service volumes and trends in order to proactively resolve any potential workload concerns. 

We have expressed a willingness to have union representation incorporated in the Workload Review process and have proposed conflict resolution options.

 

How frequently do workload-related concerns expressed by staff get resolved?

The majority of the time. The established “informal” CAS procedure for employees to advise their supervisor of workload concerns succeeds in most cases. In the three cases over four years in which employees escalated concerns to the formal Workload Review Process, all were successfully resolved at step 1.

The Workload Review process is initiated when an employee believes that workload concerns are not being addressed by the immediate supervisor.

 

Does the CAS replace employees temporarily when they take sick leave?

It depends. Leaves of absence such as sick leave along with long term disability, vacations, vacant positions or maternity leave are typically addressed with replacement staff unless service volume does not justify a replacement worker. For shorter unanticipated sick leave absences, vacancy management (using existing staff to fill in) is necessary to ensure no disruption of service.

Vacancy management is only used to address unanticipated shorter term sick leaves and only if the workload does not require bringing in replacement staff.

  

Does sick leave impact workload?

Yes. When staff are off on a short term sick leave, staff who remain at work must provide coverage of those cases to ensure ongoing service to children and families. Due to the skills, qualifications and training required to do this very important work, it takes time to recruit and train staff to replace workers who are on leave when this is required.

 

Are there additional costs associated with the Sick Leave Benefit?

The Sick Leave Benefit adds costs as the CAS must simultaneously pay both the employee on sick leave and, when required because of workload, a replacement worker.

In one year, the Children’s Aid Society incurred a cost of $389,423 as a direct result of the Sick Leave Benefit, for unionized staff who were not at work. Three prior years reflect similar costs for sick leave benefit costs.  Without changes, the organization can expect to incur similar costs in each of the next three years.

 

Are sick leave rates at the Nipissing and Parry Sound CAS in line with provincial averages?

No. Nipissing and Parry Sound CAS unionized workers take sick days at nearly twice the provincial average, placing them in the #1 rank for average sick days in Ontario. This draws significant resources away from front line services to children and families. (Please see the Overview of Sick Leave Benefit that shows the provincial averages as provided by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies).

 

Is CAS open to negotiating its position on the Sick Leave Benefit?

Yes. CAS presented a significantly enhanced Sick Leave Benefit offer when it met with CUPE on January 19, 2017, and is open to further dialogue on this critical issue.