Is there a special Nurse in the house?

For the 15th year, the Toronto Star is honouring the nursing profession with a call for nominations for the Nightingale Award.  We know all nurses deserve recognition for the selfless work they do, but this year, let’s make it an SEIU Healthcare member!

In order to nominate that special nurse, you will need to provide the following info:

  • The first and last name of the nurse
  • Your name and daytime telephone number
  • Workplace of the nurse (specify which hospital, ward, healthcare location, department or organization) where the care or association with the nurse took place
  • Approximate dates of care provided (must be between Jan 1, 2015 and Feb 29, 2016)
  • Your relationship to the nurse (patient, patient’s family member, co-worker, etc.)

Provide a personal account in 250-500 words, explaining why this nurse deserves to be recognized with the Nightingale Award. This may include a description of his/her qualities, care of the patient, specific examples of the nurse’s efforts and dedication and the difference he/she has made in your life or the lives of others. The nurse must be registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario and may not be nominated by a member of their own family.

If you know an extraordinary example of the nursing profession, please send your nomination no later than March 16, 2016 to:

Nightingale Award Nomination
One Yonge Street, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON  M5E 1E6

Or submit online.


Our say on the newly proposed WSIB model


Shifting the conversation from employers to employees

It is clear the current WSIB system is not working for employees across the province.

The WSIB appears to be recognizing the archaic nature of the current model and is in the process of creating a new “reformed rate framework model” to address the current model’s many shortfalls.

We commend the staff at WSIB for their thorough consultation sessions and the in-depth resources provided on the new model.

However, we want to shift the conversation from the commonly asked “What will this mean for employers?” to “What will this mean for employees?” The cost of workers’ health and lives must be the central consideration, as opposed to on the periphery of cost-savings for employers.

Topics we addressed in our October 2015 submission to the WSIB included:

  • Expansion of coverage (i.e. mandatory, universal)
  • Implications for temporary workers and agencies
  • Surcharges and surcharge refund programs
  • Positive incentives for good health and safety records
  • Internal and third party review of new WSIB model
  • Implications for incident report dynamics
  • Rates between non-union and unionized workplaces
  • Specifics of new rate classifications for healthcare employers
  • Corporate penalties for convicted Workplace Safety Insurance Acts (WSIA) offence
  • Physical monitoring (audits) of workplaces and internal staffing levels

The first topic – expansion of coverage – is an essential element of creating a more equitable compensation system. According to an article by the Injured Workers Group, Ontario has one of Canada’s lowest workplace insurance coverage rates, with estimates of coverage ranging between 70-72% of the Ontario workforce.

Within the healthcare sector, retirement home and group home employees are not covered, many of whom SEIU Healthcare represents. Expanding WSIB coverage to all workers in Ontario would benefit not only workers but also the WSIB system in general, and would also reflect one of the original intentions of Ontario’s workers’ compensation: a system founded on collective liability.

Therefore, expanding compensation universally across Ontario is one of SEIU’s strongest recommendations in our submission.

We do not believe that a fair system can be delivered by experience rating models in general, as the system inherently disadvantages injured workers. Yet, we want to make sure our members’ voices are still at the table and have therefore offered suggestions on the proposed model which would reduce the model’s impact on workers.

Read the full submission here.

Meeting of the Minds

Sandee Green at Choices

Sandee Green is an SEIU Healthcare member who has been very busy talking about the important role Developmental Service Workers (DSWs) play in our healthcare system. When she isn’t helping support the needs of people with a developmental disability at CHOICES Association Inc., in Dundas, she is an active member of Meeting of the Minds. It’s an advocacy group dedicated to becoming leaders and advocates for people with developmental disabilities.

The group has only been around for two years but they have very active. They have been busy speaking at numerous events held by the Rotary Club, Down Syndrome Day, the Optimist Club, and others. But they aren’t doing all the talking. An MPP from the Hamilton area will be addressing them in the near future.

This year on DSW Day, which takes place on January 20, the group plans to bake some food to give to members and other staff in recognition for the good work they have done caring for their clients. Also this month, they plan to pay their respects to all those who suffered from a developmental disability and died in an institution. Before the days of independent and supervised living, many people with developmental disabilities spent most of their lives in a large institution, closeted away from the public.

The group has also opened up a snack shop to raise money to help members learn more about advocacy. They plan to send some of their members to a self-advocacy conference in Port Elgin in the fall of 2016.

If you would like to know more about Meeting of the Minds, please contact Sandee Green.

The power of quilting

My name is Jennifer Wilson and I have been working with people with developmental disabilities for over 25 years. I have worked with so many wonderful people over the years and have many wonderful memories. My current employer is Community Living Burlington where I have worked for over 15 years.

The power of quilting

The last nine years I had worked as a support worker with a wonderful group of men, assisting with lawn maintenance. Then I was moved into another program, called Start It Right, and I didn’t know what to expect. But I kept a positive attitude and wanted to bring something to the program that I could initiate and look forward to.

I approached my manager about my passion for sewing/quilting and suggested teaching people with a disability how to sew…so that eventually we can make blankets for charities…and give back to our community. My manager loved the idea and supported me in this endeavor.

I approached a sewing store in our community and they graciously opened their classroom space up for us to use weekly, including many of the supplies needed. I was amazed at this generosity and went forward with finalizing the project.

One of our volunteers is a retired resource teacher, and I can honestly say she glows when she is working with us. She says she enjoys and looks forward to it each week. The first sewing project we started in September 2014 was a small blanket to take home as a keepsake.

The people in this class with a developmental disability have been proudly sharing their hard work with others. The pride and confidence in their abilities to learn new skills and to help out other people in our community has given people a feeling of satisfaction and achievement.

We all have talents and skills that we can share with others…I would like to encourage you to look at what you can bring to your workplace to make a difference in the lives of the people you support, and my hope is that you too, will feel the satisfaction and achievement from using your talents to change the lives of others!

Jenn is an SEIU Healthcare member and a DSW at Community Living Burlington.

“Inspiring”: An inside look at a special place for adults living with disabilities

DSWs help clients cope
Andrew Miller from the SEIU Healthcare communications team toured Choices in Hamilton, Ontario and spent a day meeting the centre’s clients and learning about the special contributions that developmental service workers make in our society.

“On paper, I knew what a Developmental Service Worker did. But […] I got to experience part of what they deal with on the day-to-day,” said Andrew, calling the visit “inspiring.”

This video shows DSWs from Choices working closely with clients, who live with a range of developmental disabilities and/or mental health issues:

DSWs at Choices work with adults with high-intensity behaviours and have experienced high much success in helping clients integrate into their community. Using a “person-centred” approach, DSWs assist clients with many life tasks and therapeutic skills, including working with animals, running errands, and doing physical exercise. DSWs also help clients with housing and job training, among other services.

It is clear that DSWs make a big difference in their communities and we applaud the work that they do every day.


New Year’s resolutions: how to keep them?

Happy new year 2016!

Whether you love or hate them, we have to talk about New Year’s resolutions this time of year. It seems like everyone wants to know if you’re making any or not, and what they are if so.

There is a sense of newness, just after the holidays, as we begin another year – and why not try to start on a good note?

The idea of self-improvement has been common in many different eras and religions throughout history, and the tradition definitely continues today.

An Australian data website surveyed millions of people at the end of 2015 to see how well they’d respected their new year’s resolutions from the year before – and discovered some things that might help us keep ours.

Three-quarters of people found it difficult to stick to their goals. The survey found that we often neglect our resolutions when we promise too much, too soon.

“The most common reason for failing a resolution was setting impossible goals, with 35 percent of those who failed admitted their goals were too unrealistic. One in three (33 percent) said they didn’t keep track of their progress while almost one in four (23 percent) forgot about it. One in 10 people claimed they made too many resolutions.”

Lots of people make resolutions that are health-related. Among the most popular top ten resolutions are losing weight, getting fit and healthy, and quitting smoking. But others are about spending more time with family and helping others – a mix of personal and outward-facing goals.

If you’re taking the time to think about self-improvement in early 2016, remember: be patient with yourself. Set realistic goals, and not too many of them; and if you remember them in the first place, track how you’re doing throughout the year. You just might surprise yourself come next December!