OCA Update Memo-Oct 2022
Dear fellow coroners,
It has been a while since the OCA executive have had a chance to communicate with you, our fellow front-line Coroners, regarding where matters stand in our partnership with OPSEU and the efforts being made to initiate some type of negotiating framework with the Ministry of the Solicitor General.
As you are all well aware, we have had no increase in the case fee we receive for completing a case for over a decade, despite significantly increased workloads due to the downloading of office administrative work, not to mention the increased time and effort it now takes to enter case data into QuinC. The OCC is currently reviewing & evaluating the PriceWaterhouseCooper (PWC) report & recommendations, the content of which remains unknown at this time. The OCC has committed to providing the OCA executive an advanced opportunity to review the PWC report & recommendations in order to provide feedback. We anticipate that this will occur before the end of the year & we most certainly intend to hold the OCC to its word.
Since our campaign with OPSEU began last October 2021 and the launch of our Constitutional Challenge to the government for the ability of physicians to unionize, there have been significant developments.
We have a lot to be proud of and we have accomplished some Herculean feats - in less than a year, we rallied the vast majority of Coroners who voted to unionize with OPSEU as our bargaining agent, we signed a cooperation agreement with OPSEU, we successfully petitioned the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) and got an official vote on certifying OPSEU as our bargaining agent at the OLRB, we launched a Constitutional Challenge, we succeeded in getting the attention of the Government through our full page ads in the Globe & Mail and in the Toronto Star, we got the OCC to finally communicate with the Coroners, we developed and presented a 27-page document of recommendations & proposals for improvements to the Death Investigation System(DIS)/OCC, we succeeded in getting the OCC to accept some of those proposals - with more hopefully to be adopted, and we succeeded in having the OCC now taking the OCA seriously and agreeing to work collaboratively with us. Efforts are currently underway to develop a relationship between the OCC and the OCA that’s built on collegiality, cooperation and collaboration, which will be beneficial for all involved.
All of this in one year.
As this memo is being written, there is a schedule and process in front of the OLRB to hear arguments on our Constitutional Challenge over the next year. This will take time. However, the constitutional issue will be addressed by the end of next year.
In the interim, both parties have entered into a process to develop a consensual Framework Agreement that would lay the ground rules for negotiations regarding terms and conditions under which the relationship between front-line Coroners and the OCC would occur.
This process, in order to be successful, will also take time. But it is occurring, and we are willing to enter into such an acceptable agreement with both parties.
But we will not roll over either.
If no acceptable agreement can be reached, we will continue with our Constitutional Challenge to negotiate under the terms of the Labour Relations Act.
Finally, we truly appreciate the support given to the executive of the OCA by front-line Coroners. We are continuing this struggle for fairness for Coroners while also ensuring we have a high-quality Death Investigation System for the public at large.
Stay tuned for further developments - they are coming.
The OCA Executive