We’re coming close to almost a year with COVID-19 changing how we do things. It’s been a tough one. But now we need to focus on the folks who have been getting us through this – many of whom make less than $15 an hour.
These are workers who are covering shifts when coworkers need to stay home. They are workers who had to do more with less because of public health restrictions. They are workers who show up to work with a smile behind their mask, ready to support you and your family.
Activism and Social Responsibility Recognized in a time of Uncertainty
Like so many, COVID-19 and its global impacts have forced the committed activists of the Grey Bruce Labour Council to hold their annual Labour Activist and Health and Safety Activist awards celebration virtually. While still contributing their expertise and activism in the workplace, the work to celebrate and extend this expertise and activism to help as many people as possible does not take a rest.
Labour Council VP for Grey County, Chris Stephen, provides a description of activism. “No off switch” is often the best way to describe a health and safety advocate or labour activist. This year the labour council has chosen also to recognize Bruce Power with a special recognition award for their efforts to meet and even exceed their value of Social Responsibility.
Current Grey Bruce Labour Council President and OSSTF member, Kevin Smith, having presided over a few activist celebrations, says he is “always proud of the work that the members of the Labour Council undertake and even more proud of the lives improved and in the context of health and safety, most assuredly saved, by the labour council delegates and friends of the labour council. Commitment under normal circumstances barely touches the surface, but to continue the work that must be done in the midst of a global pandemic defies description,” adds Kevin.
Always a champion of celebrating the work of the council, past president and current council VP for Bruce County, Dave Trumble, “believes that in a time of uncertainty, such as that presented to us today, it is all the more reason to recognize and celebrate those that persist and improve the workplace and the community in spite of this uncertainty.” Trumble often quotes an admired leader when he says, “that if we don’t celebrate our successes, we risk our future successes.”
On November 23rd, 2020, the Grey Bruce Labour Council was pleased and proud to announce their 2020 award winners. Claire Wardlow-Barnard, Bruce Grey OECTA, as the Health and Safety Activist of the year and Theresa O’Connor, OPSEU, as the Labour Activist of the Year. In addition, council executive member, Anna Morrison, announced “that Bruce Power is being awarded a Labour Council Special Recognition Award for their profoundly critical contributions to the community, province and nation to provide aid and comfort to so many during the COVID-19 crisis.”
A tradition of the activist dinner is a look back over the previous year. Labour Council, treasurer, Gord Cale, pointed to a number of activities that have continued in spite of the pandemic. Perhaps most proudly, Gord pointed out that “we have continued to operate successfully due to the diligence and efforts of all at the labour council table, but of particular note is the way that labour council president, Kevin Smith, has gone above and beyond what could be expected in difficult times let alone a global health crisis.” Cale also noted the awesome support from our Canadian Labour Congress Staff, Gogi Bhandal and Workers’ Heath and Safety Centre staff, Kim Marshall and all our friends and allies.
The Grey Bruce Labour Council is the voice of workers in our region and welcomes all media inquiries.
Kristen Fry, Nominator, BG Elementary OECTA President (left of picture)
Anna Morrison, Presenter, Grey Bruce Labour Council Sergeant at Arms (right of picture)
Claire Wardlow-Barnard, Retired H&S Co-Chair, BG Elementary OECTA, Grey Bruce Labour Council and WHSC H&S Activist of the Year Recipient
Health-care organizations across Grey and Bruce counties are reaching out to patients, residents, clients and caregivers to solicit feedback on the local health-care system.
As part of the development process to create an Ontario Health Team (OHT) in Grey-Bruce, a survey has been released to hear from the people who are using the health system, states a press release from the Kincardine Family Health Team and the Hanover and District Hospital, issued Friday.
The structure of the Ontario health system is changing, following the government introduction of new legislation in 2019 that will see the creation of OHTs. These would replace the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) to streamline and integrate services of health-care providers in a defined geographic region, and ensure these providers work together to better support patients, clients, residents and caregivers where and when they need it.
This change is intended to ensure all care, including primary care, hospital services, mental health and addiction services, long-term care and home and community care, will be easily accessible with seamless transitions between health-care providers.
In Grey-Bruce, a planning committee has been established to guide the development of an OHT in the region. The committee is now engaging key stakeholders to solicit feedback on the local health-care system.
A key part of this engagement is to better understand the experiences of patients, clients, residents and caregivers when accessing health-care services in Grey-Bruce. This information will be used to help inform the design and implementation of a local health-care system that will meet the needs of our communities.
The Grey-Bruce OHT planning committee is encouraging all patients, clients, residents and caregivers to participate in this survey which can be accessed by connecting to the following link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/6JSL3NL.
The committee is also looking for patients, clients, residents and caregivers to participate in future work of the Grey Bruce OHT. More information can be found at https://www.greybruceoht.ca.
It is surprising how quickly a year passes, this year with COVID it seems to have passed even quicker. Under normal circumstances we would be planning our Annual Activist Day and Dinner to take place in October, this year with COVID restrictions in place we will unfortunately be unable to host an in person Activist Day and Dinner. This does not mean we will be overlooking the tremendous work that our Sisters and Brothers have done during the year. We know that Health & Safety for all workers has been the top priority, but we also know several sisters and brothers have continued to advance and promote the value of Labour. With that in mind we are seeking nominations for our annual Health & Safety Activist Award and Labour Council Activist award. We are working on a plan to host an ‘Online Celebration and Award presentation’ to take place on November 23, 2020, more details will follow as we confirm the agenda for the celebration and presentations.
Please see the attached Nomination forms for these two awards and send your nominations to me no later than October 25th so the GBLC executive is able to review the nominations during our Executive meeting on October 26th for discussion and selection during the regular meeting of GBLC that evening (October 26th at 7:00pm).
We can all agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges. Thankfully, with the power of technology (and a few strategic photo shoots!) we are still able to do cheque “presentations” with our amazing donors and sponsors! You can barely tell that these are two separate photos merged together, right?! Pictured here is Tom Desmond (right) from PWU (Power Workers Union), presenting a cheque for $10,000 to Michelle Lamont (left) of Women’s House. We are SO grateful and appreciative of their generosity!We work with some of the most vulnerable members of our communities – women and children fleeing violence. Because we are not adequately funded by government, we rely upon community generosity to be able serve all women and children who come to us asking for help. With your support, we can continue to meet the needs of those most in need of safety, protection, and support.
Subject: Grey Bruce Labour Council wants to hear about your concerns
We know that working people and their families continue to struggle to navigate all of the various ways that COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our lives.
Working people have struggled with job loses, layoffs, workplace health and safety concerns, access to childcare and fear for parents who may be in long term care facilities.
What has been the biggest challenge for you and your family during the pandemic?
What do you think the Grey Bruce Labour Council should be doing to advocate for working families?
The Canadian Labour Congress has a campaign, “Forward Together – A Canadian Plan”, to advocate for replacing lost jobs with better ones, strengthening public health care, and disaster proofing the social safety nest. For more information, visit https://canadianplan.ca.