19th Annual Healthcare Stewards Conference
April 20, 2023
The 19th annual Health Care Stewards Conference took place April 17 – 18, 2023.
The conference kicked off with a welcome from Local 175 Recorder and Registered Nurse (RN) Karen Vaughan who welcomed everyone to the two-day event.
President Haggerty addressed the group as well. He gave a big thank you to the Stewards for their compassion and dedication to providing an amazing level of care. President Haggerty also spoke of the realities of working in healthcare under the current government and the everyday challenges that workers face.
“We know that healthcare and community health workers are facing some serious challenges these days,” said President Haggerty. “Your Union is here to advocate on your behalf and ensure that you have the support you need every step of the way.”
On day one, participants heard from several speakers who not only relate to the healthcare field, but were there to inspire and encourage Stewards to continue advocating for themselves, their co-workers, and their residents.
Stewards were also able to participate in discussions and share their experiences surrounding topics covered by the guest speakers.
Sherry Simo, Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Occupational Health & Safety Inspector, spoke to delegates about Workplace Harassment and Violence and the Right to Refuse Unsafe Work. Simo advised Stewards that this year, Workplace Violence in healthcare is the primary focus of the Ministry.
All workers deserve respect, dignity, and fair compensation for their work. But that they also need to ensure they are taking care of themselves first. David Benjatschek spoke to delegates about the importance of self-care through the lens of stress management essentials which are highly effective tools for all workers. He encouraged Stewards to prepare a stress management plan, ensuring it is clear, achievable, and effective, and discussed how chronic stress can take a toll on both ones’ physical and mental health.
Day two saw Stewards participate in various town hall meetings where discussions and shared experiences shaped the day.
Participants spoke with Local Union experts in:
- Health and safety,
- Workers’ compensation,
- Legal matters,
- Workplace representation, and;
- Pay equity.
In addition, lawyer Wassim Garzouzi was on hand to discuss the HLDAA process. Through these sessions, Stewards were able to bounce ideas of panelists and each other, and gain a better knowledge and understanding of different scenarios and the recommended way to handle issues.
Workplace investigations are difficult. But through training and open discussion, the Union aims to empower our Stewards to be advocates in their workplaces. Legal Director Jane Mulkewich ran through a recommended step-by-step guide to performing investigations in the workplace through a legal lens, which was well received by the delegates. Stewards asked questions, shared scenarios, and learned how to empower themselves as labour advocates.
“As we look towards the future, we know that workers will continue to face challenges and obstacles,” said President Haggerty. “But I want to assure you that we will never stop advocating for a system that truly puts workers first. I want to express my gratitude and admiration for all the work that you do, you are the heart and soul of our healthcare system.”
Thank you to all of our Healthcare Stewards! Your open and respectful participation throughout this year’s conference made it a great success. See you next year!
And congratulations to the members who won draw prizes from the Cooperators Insurance booth!
- Nespresso Coffee Maker: Valbert Spencer – Briton House
- Cineplex Odeon Tickets (Set of 4):
- Teresa Lubbers – Caressant Care
- Ana Rugumas – Access Alliance
- Galine Bromberg – AIM Health
Read Negotiation Updates from the Local 175 HOPE Sector! What’s HOPE? It stands for Health, Office & Professional Employees.