The Official Publication of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association SPRING 2004 Vol. 12, No. 1 The Members of the Safety Committee representing the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association. Left to right, Ellard Beaven, Timmins, Richard McCurdy, Vaughan, Daryl Stephenson, London, (Chairperson) Gery Pedwell, Pickering. The high interest in the OPFFA Safety Seminar is evidenced when nine (9) consultants from one Association attend this worthwhile event. From the Burlington Professional Fire Fighters Association, left to right, front row, Mark Arnett, Todd Fryer, Jim Simmons, Paul Maunder, John Connolly, left to right, back row, Mark Kippen, Mark Mehlenbacher, Dan Vanderlelie, Clint Smith. ONTARIO PROFESSIONAL FIRE FIGHTERS ASSOCIATION executive board SPRING 2004 Volume 12, No. 1 President: Fred LeBlanc Executive Vice-President: INDEX… Two-Hatters…Bad Judgment…And Destructive Brian George Executive-Director: Wayne De Mille President-Emeritus/Editor: Pat De Fazio, Editor .................................................................................................................2 Patrick J. De Fazio OPFFA 7th Occupational Health And Safety Seminar Vice-President No. 1 District: Pat De Fazio, Editor .................................................................................................................4 Greg Colton Leadership – What Is Required Today? Vice-President No. 2 District: Fred LeBlanc, President .............................................................................................................9 Barry Quinn Executive Vice-President’s Report Vice-President No. 3 District: Jim Byatt Brian George, Executive Vice-President ......................................................................................10 Vice-President No. 4 District: Collective Bargaining – The Part That Makes Me Go Hmmmmm! Jim Simmons Greg Colton, Vice-President, District #1 .....................................................................................11 Vice-President No. 5 District: Not Everyone Runs At The Same Pace Ed Dickson Barry Quinn, Vice-President, District #2 .....................................................................................12 Vice-President No. 6 District: Report from District #3 Randy Richards Jim Byatt, Vice-President..........................................................................................................13 Vice-President No. 7 District: Joe Adamkowski Report from District #4 Jim Simmons, Vice-President .....................................................................................................14 Publications Mail Agreement No. 40065059 Report from District #5 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: Ed Dickson, Vice-President .......................................................................................................15 Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association 292 Plains Road East The Over Managing Of The Fire Service Burlington, Ontario L7T 2C6 Randy Richards, Vice-President, District #6 .................................................................................16 The comments expressed by an individual Health and Safety Representative may not necessarily reflect the official Daryl Stephenson, Chair, Health and Safety Committee .........................................................................17 position of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association. Ontario Federation Of Labour Occupational Disability Response Team Programs Douglas Wendorf, Member, WSIB Committee ...............................................................................18 Published & Designed by: Contributions Erik Leicht, Chair, Pension Committee .............................................................................................19 NATIONAL OFFICE: Kapuskasing Fire Fighters Win Fight Against Terminations 420 O’Connor St., Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1W4 Fred LeBlanc, President ...........................................................................................................20 (613) 230-0721 / Fax (613) 230-4964 Toll Free: 1-800-267-1266 Art Director Richard J. Robertson e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant Art Director On The Cover: Heather LaFleur Layout Designer / Print Production The Occupational Health and Safety Committee are Ina Silva responsible for getting out information to the membership across the Province of Ontario. They do ABOUT THE PUBLISHER: this by mailings, questionnaires, district meetings and The Intrepid is published for the Ontario Professional the holding of an Annual Health and Safety Seminar. Fire Fighters Association by CBU Publications Ltd. Reproduction by any means is strictly prohibited They are an important integral component of the without the prior written consent of the publisher. service provided to the OPFFA membership. They CBU Publications Ltd. assumes no responsibility for statements of fact or opinion made by any contributor. do an excellent job. Congratulations. Pat De Fazio, Editor TWO-HATTERS… BAD JUDGMENT… AND DESTRUCTIVE O ne of the greatest, if that we have to them as well as not the ultimate of those who are working on our occupations in the world is behalf today. What I have said so that of a professional firefighter. far, from my point of view, is It does not matter where “But if you look into that totally indisputable. We should you live or work, there is a sense of belonging. You can mirror and you know today be, and most are, grateful for the type of representation that we feel it when you walk into a room. The conversation flow, that I am a full-time have received over a great number of years. the air of confidence, the professional firefighter and But there are some of our crisp handshake, the quick members that just “don’t get it.” bonding, and that obvious sense I am going to work part-time When you get up in the morning of collectivity that permeates and look in the mirror and the gathering. You have an in another Municipality for a you are a full-time professional immediate sense that we are unassailable, that our adver- lower wage and lesser benefits, firefighter, and part of that family that I talked about saries can not hurt us no matter how great the might, or the (better known as two hatters) earlier, you should be immense- ly proud of yourself. But if surreptitiousness of the attack. It is a comfortable feeling, one you should feel shame and you look into that mirror and you know today that I am a we have earned and fought for repulsiveness. Because you full-time professional fire- over a long period of time. Protections that have been have without a doubt sullied fighter and I am going to work part-time in another entrenched in our constitutions and collective agreements and your own reputation and Municipality for a lower wage legislative edicts. Benefits that and lesser benefits, (better are drenched in the sweat of struck a damaging blow to known as two hatters) you representatives who have come should feel shame and and gone, fought and left, and the word professionalism in repulsiveness. Because you have some that are a distant memory without a doubt sullied your in the minds of those of us who the fire service.” own reputation and struck a are still around. And many who damaging blow to the word have died and are completely professionalism in the fire forgotten. We owe everything service. Yes, you can cloak it, 2 INTREPID “The continuance of “two-hatters” would firmly entrenched. What we need is a lot more of the Whitby local resolve to seriously impair the inviolability of our this serious situation. This membership stood united in their effort to solve organizational structure and we can not the two-hatter issue in their municipality. And they won. They went the trial let that happen.” route under the IAFF procedure and withstood all kinds of pressure but the trial board decision was in their favour. disguise it, make it out what you want it to be, but you I am not going to get into all the details of the know in your heart it is wrong, terribly wrong and trial and what transpired as this information will only create acrimony and bitterness within our can be acquired from the OPFFA office. Suffice to membership. You have probably witnessed it already. say that the “two-hatter” in this instance has left the To get us fighting from within has always been a Whitby department and is now working for the loathsome “management tactic.” In this instance, you office of the FMO. That in itself is another story that are a pawn of your own making which others will use drips with hypocrisy and was clearly set out in the article to drive the proverbial wedge of division within our “Two-Hatter or Two Faced” written by OPFFA President organization. Those who would attempt this will never Fred LeBlanc in the summer 2003 issue of the Intrepid, succeed. They never have in the past, and they never volume 11, No. 2. will in the future. My advice to you is “don’t get in bed In some instances two-hatters will defy everything that with management.” They will toss you out quicker than a is right and proper and continue to spurn the “team municipal CEO picking up his outlandish severance concept.” They could care less about you, your shift, pay on his way out of town. For some inexplicable the whole association, or for that matter the entire reason there are some members of our Association that organizational structure. They are not a team player and notwithstanding the amount of factual evidence that has are strictly in it for themselves. When it gets to this point been presented by the IAFF and the OPFFA against and all conventional methods of eradicating the problem “two-hatters” they continue to participate in this very have been exhausted, then its time to employ some good harmful practice. How much consultation and dialogue old “peer pressure”. There is nothing more humiliating does it take to convince these members to stop carrying and embarrassing than being rebuked by your own people. on in this manner. This is an issue in my view that In short, tell him or her to get lost. Don’t get involved impacts on the very structure of our profession. Does that not mean anything to those of you who insist with them in any venture. If they come in the room, on performing this so-called community initiative? I would then you walk out. You may have to work with them think so. But if it does not, then you as a result of to do your job properly and protect the public, but you your own action have “drawn the line in the sand.” do not have to tolerate them even for a minute. We must defend our position at all costs. We can not If this approach sounds too tough, just think for a do anything else. It is repugnant in the extreme to have moment what they are doing to you as a professional to battle with our own members, but that is what it has firefighter and those who have gone before you. It’s time come to at this point in time. We are left with no to take a stand and do what you have to do. The alternative whatsoever. The continuance of “two-hatters” professionalism of our occupation is at stake. This is would seriously impair the inviolability of our something we can not afford to lose in any way shape organizational structure and we can not let that happen. or form. I know that I am a d m o n i s h i n g a relatively small group of our members who “In some instances two-hatters will defy are carrying on this practice but that is how everything that is right and proper and continue these damaging situations begin. They have to be to spurn the “team concept.” They could care stopped in the incipient stages or little by less about you, your shift, the whole association, little they become more or for that matter the entire organizational structure.” INTREPID 3 TH OPFFA 7 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY SEMINAR FEBRUARY 2,3,4,5, 2004 COURTYARD MARRIOTT HOTEL, TORONTO, ONTARIO y T here were one hundred and sixty-nine (169) consultants that Canadian Safety Equipment. attended the foregoing Safety Seminar. This included the y Clarica. executive board of the OPFFA and the guest speakers. Lots of new faces permeated the audience and the interest level was high. y Class “A” Fire and Rescue. The Health and Safety Committee working very hard on behalf of y Draeger Canada Limited. the OPFFA consists of Daryl Stephenson from London who is the y Family Services Employee Assistance Programs. chairperson, Gerry Pedwell, Pickering, Richard McCurdy, Vaughan and Ellard Beaven from Timmins. The President of the OPFFA, Fred y Fire Service Management Limited. LeBlanc introduced the safety committee and the members of the y Hazmasters Environmental Equipment Inc. executive board to the consultants and thanked them for the work y M & L Supply, Fire and Safety. they are doing on behalf of the membership of the OPFFA. y Metz Fire and Rescue. Subject matter for the Safety Seminar included some of the following: y Mi-Cell Fire Systems Limited. • Westray Mine Tragedy and Bill C-45. y MSA Canada Limited. • Firefighter Nutrition and Wellness. y MWG Apparel Corporation. • Auto Extrication and Firefighter Safety. y Operation Respond Institute Inc. • SARS - Are we prepared for another possible outbreak? y Respan Products Inc. • Update on SCBA air quality in Ottawa and a respiratory y ResQtech Systems Inc. protection program. y Safedesign Apparel Limited. • Critical Injury Insurance for firefighters. y Team-1 Emergency Services Inc. • Operation Respond. y Technical Standards and Safety Authority. • MSA - Firefighter SCBA facepiece - new information. y Total Fire Group. • Elevator Emergency Response Training for Firefighters. By all accounts, this was an outstanding Safety Seminar and • Ontario Health and Safety Act Overview. thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. The OPFFA Safety • Firefighters and Heat Stress. Committee is to be congratulated for their work in this regard. A thank you goes out to all of the guest speakers for their excellent • Firefighter Rehabilitation. presentations to the consultants. The OPFFA Safety Committee • Reading Smoke. are a key element in providing information and knowledge to the firefighter safety representatives, and others, so they will bring There were a large number of manufacturers who exhibited their back this material to the local level, and use it to the betterment products at the Safety Seminar and they consisted of the following. of health and safety for their respective memberships. y Acklands Grainger. There is a huge interest within the OPFFA with respect to y Angus Fire. health and safety and this specific Safety Seminar is getting bigger each year. This was clearly evidenced when you had nine y Association Fire Equipment Research. consultants from one local attend this Safety Seminar. y Bacou-Dalloz. Until the next OPFFA Safety Seminar. Stay safe! 4 INTREPID President Fred LeBlanc opens the safety seminar and welcomes Caroline Smith speaks to the consultants on firefighter nutrition Peter Methner, Professional firefighter from Niagara Falls gives a the consultants. and wellness. presentation on auto extrication and firefighter safety. TH OPFFA 7 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY SEMINAR Denis St. Denis from the Ottawa Fire Department gives an update District Chief John Lane from the Toronto Fire Services speaks to the Robert Gray, Senior Advisor, Occupational Health and Safety for on the Ottawa air quality situation and discusses a respiratory consultants on SARS and are we prepared for another possible out- Via Rail makes a presentation to the consultants. protection program. break, and what your department must do to protect its firefighters. INTREPID 5 Assistant to the General President of the IAFF responsible for Canadian Operations Jim Lee, on the left and Sean McManus, Nelligan O’Brien Payne address the consultants on the “Westray Mine Tragedy” and the impact of Federal Bill C-45. Kerin Sparks, MSA, makes a presentation on a firefighter SCBA facepiece and new information in this regard. Adam Marton from Operation Respond provides information to the consultants when responding to hazardous material incidents and talks about free software and free training provided for firefighters. Ken Langer, Technical Standards and Safety Authority makes a Nicola Burton from Clarica speaks to the consultants about Joel Waterman gives a complete overview on the Occupational presentation on Elevator Emergency Response Training for critical injury insurance for firefighters. Health and Safety Act to the consultants. Firefighters. 6 INTREPID Manufacturers Display Their Respective Products At The OPFFA Safety Seminar February 2,3,4,5, 2004 INTREPID 7 Manufacturers Display Their Respective Products At The OPFFA Safety Seminar February 2,3,4,5, 2004 8 INTREPID President’s REPORT Fred LeBlanc, LEADERSHIP– WHAT IS REQUIRED TODAY? President “T he toughest job in our union is local President” - it standard of living. Our leaders need and deserve your support. has been said many times but it is as true today, if not They should never be put in the position of asking themselves - more so than ever before. Looking back in recent why am I doing this? years our leadership has been tested with legislative attacks, What is clear today is that we are now truly witnessing the vast legislative change, municipal amalgamation, budget fallout of legislation that introduced drastic changes to our restraints, and high membership expectations. collective bargaining environment and resolution process to We are finding ourselves in an environment where local deci- laws that facilitated agonizing municipal amalgamations, to sions have come under intense scrutiny and challenge. Legislation direct attacks on our democracy. has introduced uncertainty, where there was What I have realized is that while the once clarity, as we continue to experience ‘uncharted waters’. Low tolerance of these “What is clear today names and faces may be different, our organization has faced many similar issues combined with a protracted resolution process (mediation/arbitration) has resulted is that we are now challenges and has been successful by remaining true to the principles that in membership frustration which has unfortunately been misdirected at the local truly witnessing founded our proud union many years ago. These principles have been captured in our leadership. While these emotions can be expected we cannot simply focus on the the fallout of constitution and polices. Their very existence and our belief in them are constantly being individual effects of the decisions but rather than the advances of the whole. The constant legislation that challenged whether it be from the legislature, the bargaining table or from within our grind of being reminded how a decision made for the whole has potential negative introduced drastic own membership. These principles were founded by the same leaders whose determi- individual effects can be extremely draining. It is these attacks from within which present changes to our nation to provide a working environment to sustain a livable wage and fairness within the the most difficult test of one’s leadership. This type of frustration and discontent directed collective bargaining workplace forged much of the legislation that protects our rights. at the elected officials despite their best attempts to provide proper representation environment and Our members must realize that today’s standard of living was not simply a gift leads to apathy within the membership. Apathy presents a dangerous situation resolution process to from benevolent employers but a result of struggles to have the essence of our whereby important and sometimes life altering decisions are made by the minority laws that facilitated profession properly recognized. There were many hard fought battles that occurred at yet disputed in the fire hall and not the union hall by what is seemingly the agonizing municipal all levels – locally, provincially and internationally. This hard work, commitment majority. This style of criticism rings hollow as every member is given the right to amalgamations, to and honouring our values have provided professional fire fighters in Ontario with be heard on an issue facing its local union. That time is at the local union meeting. direct attacks on excellent working conditions that provide for our members and their families. Attendance at local meetings is expected by all members and represents a small sacrifice our democracy.” Despite the ‘new’ challenges (both external and internal) our principles remain in comparison to those who choose to step resolute in our collective ability to address forward and lead. We all enjoy the benefits of membership, and them. It is incumbent upon today’s leadership, and membership there are many, but we must acknowledge and accept that there to understand, respect, and uphold these principles. are also burdens of membership. Facing adversity can be difficult but remaining true to the Leaders at all levels dedicate much of their personal time with principles that have established the professional fire fighters as great sacrifice to themselves and their families to preserve and one of the most envied unions anywhere makes our choices easy. enhance our collective and individual rights as well as our Remember union membership doesn’t cost it pays! INTREPID 9 Brian George, Executive Vice-President Executive Vice-President’s Report T his years fall season has come and gone in no time at all it seems. firefighters to be able to collectively bargain and run the their own The fruits of our labour in Political Action are still waiting to be organizations our association will be under attack from organizations seen. The new government is attempting to claw themselves out and individuals such as Ted Arnott. These members would gladly from underneath the weight of a rather large albatross called debt. see legislation forwarded to dismantle our recognition clauses in This year’s OPFFA Legislative Conference was another success- order for them personally to make good wages as part time fire ful event. While there were some real trials and tribulations with this fighters at the detriment of everyone else. Let’s not allow them to call conference, we did succeed in our goals. The conference was placed themselves volunteers any longer, because they certainly are not!! in jeopardy when the sitting government did not call an election as it They don’t care about the how long it took to see these rights was anticipated in the late spring, early summer, mid summer, or late included into our Collective Agreements, and they don’t care if summer. When it was finally called there was so much change to the “Right to Work” legislation is allowed to enter into our legislation. If face of the government we did not know what to expect. we continue along this path, we will lose much of our ability to The change to the government left many obstacles for the new achieve the rights and decent wages fire fighters have worked so government, a new set of cabinet ministers needed to be set, along diligently to acquire. You can hear the screaming and whining if their with ministerial staff and executive assistants. These were set full-time wages aren’t protected though! They will likely blame it on only four days prior to our conference and that made scheduling their local executive not doing a good enough job even though it was arrangements next to impossible. Some of the problems that we that member who pulled the rug out from under them. Many of these encountered were the lack of addresses for the new government. members had committed to serving notice to their paid part-time Offices had not yet been assigned in Queen’s Park. Many of the new employers that they would be resigning these positions in the future. staffers for the MPP’s were still unsure in their roles, and what kind As well as Arnott’s letter, the Fire Marshal sent out a directive to all of commitments they could make to scheduling of appointments. As fire chiefs to inform him of any department that had members resign true fire fighters, we were able to overcome these obstacles and from their part-time positions and whether or not it will be a threat move on. Our members persevered and were able to get into see a to public safety. When it was requested of him by the OPFFA to large majority of the 103 MPP’s. Several more of the MPP’s had measure the impact of full-time fire fighters acting as part-time in committed to visits back in their constituency offices, so by all another municipality, Bernie Moyle thought the career department accounts, we had succeeded in our goal in getting our message to as chiefs could do that on their own. It is high time that the full-time many of the MPP’s as possible. We will now hopefully be able to municipal chiefs and Administrators started realizing what it is achieve some of our objectives over the next while with a new costing their taxpayers for allowing these two hatters to make a good government that speaks of seeing “change” happen in the province of Ontario. I want to emphasize that we are working with the dollar off of their tax base! As usual the Fire Marshal of Ontario different ministries and that we need to be patient as this new apparently doesn’t have the care or concern of full time fire fighters government attempts to find it’s course. We don’t intend to wait in Ontario. It certainly is a one way street for Bernie Moyle and he forever and we are looking for the assurances on different issues. doesn’t mind proving it any time!! Stay tuned, we will let you know things are progressing. As a membership we are growing again, we have a new local in The issue of two hatters is slowly creeping back into the land- Orangeville, IAFF Local # 4328. We would like to welcome these scape. At our legislative conference MPP Ted Arnott sent a letter to new members to our growing family. This new local started out the Association threatening action if any two-hatter was asked to with three members and added seven more full time professional uphold their obligations to our constitution and by-laws. Imagine fire firefighters to that municipality. The local executive is that! Someone being asked to live up to the obligations they working with District Three Vice President Jim Byatt in an effort willingly agreed to in order be able to derive the benefits that protect to bring about a first contract. With Jim’s past experience in their livelihood. Ted as usual could care less that some of these working with locals getting new contracts we hope to see members are using that very moratorium as a shield to hide behind Orangeville come up with a good working agreement. and are now using that moratorium to prod our local’s executives. We are currently gearing up for the Spring Educational Seminar. This practice has to stop before it destroys the fire service as we The spring will go quickly as the convention creeps closer. I am know it. Ted Arnott’s private members bills is nothing more than looking forward to seeing the members again during the district “Right to Work” legislation. His intent is to eliminate the ability of meetings and the 2004 convention. Hopefully the members fire fighter’s to have closed shops. Until such time as our own will attend in full force to Richmond Hill and make this year’s members stop putting their own greed ahead of the rights of convention a great success. See you in June and stay safe. 10 INTREPID Report from District #1 Greg Colton, Vice-President District #1 COLLECTIVE BARGAINING – THE PART THAT MAKES ME GO Hmmmmm! W ell, it’s that time of year again and a number of locals respective fire station. Let’s give that the importance that it in District One are just entering the collective deserves. But what we do know, is that a company officers bargaining process. Some are fortunate enough to be abilities are really tested when the rubber hits the road or just wrapping it up. when the “shit hits the fan.” The one item at the table that never seems to be an easy I think that we can all agree that the company officers of one to resolve is the promotional issue. You will have today are not going to learn everything they need to members that support the merit based system, and others learn just by attending the fire college. It is a balance of that will swear by the senior qualified system. My experience that takes time to acquire. The training and experience has been that your best bet is to want the one willingness to be a good company officer. Somehow we diametrically opposed to the one the Chief wants. Fire need to convince our employers that we know what we are Chiefs and Corporations are willing to go to boards of talking about when it comes to promotional issues. This is arbitration on an issue that costs them absolutely nothing in one instance when we believe that we definitely know what the way of overall compensation. That’s what I mean about is best for our member and the fire service. things that make me go Hmmmmm! Let’s break down why the Chief would like to be able to hand pick his officers, “My experience has been that your best and in a number of merit based systems that is exactly what happens. There are bet is to want the one diametrically opposed a number of locals in District One where that one issue will break their union to the one the Chief wants.” apart. If Fire Chiefs are able to promote who they want, it can, and will have a very serious impact on morale. Firefighters like anyone else have The key I believe is to find that equilibrium between merit to believe that they have an opportunity for advancement. and experience and that is not an easy task. If all of our Fire Chiefs quite often will select, not on ability or locals stay true to our core values, bargain hard and fair, experience, but on the members willingness to carry out the I believe every firefighter in Ontario will benefit. I don’t Chiefs wishes. It appears it has less and less to do with profess to have all the answers to the promotional dilemma, firefighting ability or fireground management. but I do know that a promotional policy where the Fire Chief We all know that part of a company officers duties and can select or reject a candidate on a whim, is not in the best responsibilities is the day to day management of their interests of your membership. “Fire Chiefs quite often will select, not on ability or experience, but on the members willingness to carry out the Chiefs wishes. It appears it has less and less to do with firefighting ability or fireground management.” INTREPID 11 Report from District #2 Barry Quinn, Vice-President District #2 NOT EVERYONE RUNS AT THE SAME PACE A significant experience of servicing a District is the privilege Every one of these actions take a piece out of your representa- of meeting members from the various Locals. Most are tive and eventually it’s the Local that begins to scar. I am not firefighters who became interested in specific issues in times advocating that you resist questioning the actions of your past. Some remained interested long enough that they never representatives – in fact you must to ensure accountability. realized they were hooked on presenting these initiatives, as well Perhaps the methodology, location and motives are the question- as many more as time ticked by. For the latter, many years have able variables that should be scrutinized before launching an past, now the battle scars don’t heal inquisition. I have not perfected this and quite as quickly, and yet they still carry still find myself embroiled in discus- the torch into the fray protecting those “Indeed some of our sions that would be better suited in a dif- who protect others. ferent environment. Not everyone attacks objectives in the members seem strangely As a District; at the time of writing same manner. Some are slower and Smiths Falls have successfully fought meticulous, others quicker and sometimes satisfied when phoning to four grievances which pertained to offensive, others vary their offence to suit contracting out, disciplinary action, acting the situation or even the foe. What we threaten law suits or confirm pay, and recognition for FPO duties. must remember is to remain focused on Congratulations to Randy and his our common goals. We all strive for the they have commenced membership. Brockville has avoided betterment of the membership as a whole going to interest arbitration by negotiating at the end of the day – how that is attained legal action against the a one year agreement that included is up to the individual or group you have entrusted with that task. It is much easier Association for whatever benefit and wage enhancements. Kingston is about to embark on a trial to fight issues on one front than to fight obstacles on both sides of the barbed wire. flavour of the month a lawyer 24 hour shift and Pembroke’s president and health and safety chair may seek All too often I hear of how so and so has decided to see what life outside the union might have convinced them redress from a misguided management attack aimed at them. All is relatively is like. With them goes a decade or better of dedication, education, experience, and to put forward. Most are quiet in Quinte West while Belleville is investigating the demutualization issue. knowledge. Some say it’s because of the time away from family; others declare frivolous and disappear – Gananoque and Deep River have made their submissions and are waiting for their tired of fighting the same olds battles over and over, and some are just worn out but some, even though they bargaining to commence. Cornwall was still waiting the outcome of a strange from taking the hits from both sides of the fence. It’s bad enough that management have vaporized, leave a round of negotiation which will be decided by an arbitration award. Nearby takes an inch or two of skin over the course of a union activist’s life span – now scar deeper than anyone Hawkesbury is discussing certain work- ing conditions for their communications we have our own members threatening them with this and that and throwing in would expect.” officers. Things are quiet in Renfrew and Prince Edward County while the Ottawa some other things for good measure. Airport Local is working out the wrinkles Indeed some of our members seem strangely satisfied when phoning at the new airport terminal that recently opened. Napanee is to threaten law suits or confirm they have commenced legal action wondering what has happened with their OFM review as it appears against the Association for whatever flavour of the month a lawyer to have come to halt. And lastly, the Ottawa Local has exchanged might have convinced them to put forward. Most are frivolous and submissions for the 2004 round of bargaining. disappear – but some, even though they have vaporized, leave a scar Well that pretty well raps it up for this article. Take care and deeper than anyone would expect. stay safe. 12 INTREPID Report from District #3 Jim Byatt, Vice-President District #3 I must start by updating the EMS issue in the City of in many other municipalities in Ontario who were sitting Owen Sound. As members, you are well aware that back watching. this has been an ongoing saga. Well here is the latest Unfortunately for all the workers involved (firefighters twist. The OLRB decision finally came out in favour of and paramedics) this has been three or four years of the Corporation (as I last reported, Intrepid, winter 2003). hell! The not knowing and not being informed of the As it turns out the Corporation had never received passage plan caused the rumour mill to run rampant within the of this model from the upper tier level of government. paramedics and firefighters. And without a plan on paper In most cases the Provincial Government downloaded to keep workers abreast, it contributed to the demise of this service to the respective County, and in this case it was this whole issue. Grey County. Well, the Corporation wins the day at the The Corporation’s vision had lots of merit and would OLRB and now goes to the County council with their vision have improved service to the residents of Owen Sound. only to be turned down! The saddest part of this issue is the simple truth that it came Anyone who says that political action (lobbying) does down to a representation issue. not work needs to pay attention to this case. It now For the citizen of Owen Sound who is laying on the appears that enough time had elapsed and the municipal elections took place. The union representing the local paramedics lobbied the “Unfortunately for all the workers involved politicians and raised enough doubts with the Corporation’s plan that they were able to win (firefighters and paramedics) this has the day at the County level when this issue finally came to a vote. been three or four years of hell!” Unbelievable you say! Well you can imagine the cost implications of this issue that started back in the 1990’s. Everyone from the local, sidewalk requiring assistance (maybe life or death) provincial and international associations have invested not TIME is the single most important factor. Trained only financially, but with countless days and days of time, firefighters may be able to assist this taxpayer sooner due travel, stress and meetings dealing with “what if scenarios.” to fire station location, response time, availability as well On the Corporation side of the question they probably as other factors. have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars when you Throughout this whole exercise this issue has been look at the number of staff consumed with this issue overlooked, and the simple truth is that the politicians for years. Not to mention legal costs for a particular Toronto failed to recognize the potential improvement in service law firm representing you for years and years. delivery as well as cost efficiencies. Once again, you can see Anyone who has been to arbitration recently is well politicians who are guided by emotions and falsehoods, aware of legal costs and can only imagine the cost and facts were not allowed to cloud the issue when it came implications of this long drawn out process. The to a vote. Corporation’s model of how this integrated department This model will one day re-surface in another area and was to be put into place was in all probability the may well be implemented to pave the way in Ontario. correct way to go. It certainly would have paved the way Take care and stay safe! “For the citizen of Owen Sound who is laying on the sidewalk requiring assistance (maybe life or death) TIME is the single most important factor.” INTREPID 13 Jim Simmons, Vice-President District #4 Report from District #4 A s we approach five months into the new Provincial be useful in the next round of bargaining for firefighters in Government mandate, I suspect this may be a repeat of the Halton Region. an old movie. The newspapers are all reporting The Oakville firefighters are in the process of electing a that salary restraints might be in order and public servants new President as Don Davis stepped down due to personal should be part of the solution. The phrase “Dalton Days” reasons. A number of grievances are currently pending has a disgusting ring to it, but every decade since the over staffing and time off. seventies has had some form of The Hamilton Local has settled a Collective Agreement for 2003 through government interference in our Collective Bargaining Process. “I wonder whether the 2005 that mirrors the Police settlement. The legislative conference held in November 2003 has failed to produce, to liberals have deserted There is a problem with their memorandum identifying Part 1X Firefighters and the date, the desired results with OMERS us? If that be the ultimate resolve may be litigation. Down Niagara way, the Thorold autonomy, staffing and the audit of the Fire Marshal’s office is still in limbo. case, watch the next volunteers are taking a strike vote and there is a contingency plan in place, but has not I wonder whether the liberals have deserted us? If that be the case, watch the elections with a been revealed to the firefighters. The Port Colborne local had a member next elections with a slogan that might be “The Road Back.” slogan that might be wanting to stay past 60 and the City agreed, District #4 has some stability with 9 out and members of the local decided to change of 10 locals having a current collective “The Road Back.” the collective agreement to age 65. agreement. Halton Hills is currently As the winter trudges on, the number of bargaining, as their agreement expired December 31, 2003. issues seems to be expanding throughout The Halton Police has ratified an agreement for 2003-2005. the Province. The Burlington local will host the District #4 The details are available in the office, but the significant item meeting on April 21, 2004, and I look forward to a productive I believe is the 3,6 and 9 bumps for experience pay, which will meeting prior to the 2004 Convention. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: If you are in the process of moving, or have recently Name: moved to a new address, please advise us of the following information so that we may continue to provide you with a Old Address: copy of this magazine. Postal Code: Please forward to: New Address: Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association Postal Code: 292 Plains Road East Burlington, Ontario L7T 2C6 Date: 14 INTREPID Ed Dickson, Vice-President District #5 Report from District #5 D ue to the different durations of most of our Collective start negotiations anew without the weight of an unratified Agreements, the locals in the 5th District are at varying agreement to interfere with the process. President Bernier stages in their respective bargaining processes. and his executive board are to be congratulated for hanging The following is a brief synopsis of how each are doing tough and accomplishing as much as they have under at this time. very difficult circumstances. As mentioned above their Woodstock: Currently in the last year of their contract and agreement runs till the end of this year. President Bloomfield is happy to report that all is quiet. Chatham/Kent: The Association held elections recently A new Chief has been appointed and former Association and congratulations to Dan Parent on becoming the president Scott Tegler now has the job. new Association President! Former President Mike Vinall London: London’s agreement expired at the end of decided to step down and I know I speak on behalf of the 2003 and their negotiations are expected to start sometime Chatham/Kent local in thanking Mike for his hard work in March. The London Police Association should be and dedication. Currently they are putting together their well into their negotiations and a better idea of where submissions for the next round of negotiations. they are going will help out President Holmes and the La Salle: Their agreement expires at the end of 2004 London negotiating team. A threat of lay-offs may have and they are looking at the trend toward senior fire been avoided after a series of public meetings were held fighter rates as a basis for the next round of negotiations. at local malls at which a lot of the Association members Don Howson is happy to report that other than a string attended. As a result the city re-allocated $1million back of car accidents and a major oil spill things are moving into the Department’s budget so the future looks better along well. as far as lay-offs are concerned. The city is still looking for a Fire Chief, and has recently hired a Deputy Chief Amherstburg: President Brush has submitted proposals from Cambridge his name is Dan Oldridge. for this year’s negotiations as the agreement was up at the end of 2003. St. Thomas: President Scott is happy to report that the final hirings has taken place which now brings the Windsor: Currently in the middle of a three year deal that on duty complement up to 10 fire fighters daily. A total expires at the end of 2005. Not a lot else happening other of 16 additional fire fighters were hired as a result of than the usual day to day issues. the inquest following the line of duty death of Brother That is briefly what is happening in our district. I look Redman. In a surprise move the City fired several of forward to seeing everyone at the April Seminar and the top executives at city hall and have chosen to I hope everything goes your way in your own locals. eliminate the position of CAO and instead strike a Keep the faith! committee from the various Department heads to do the job. Negotiations will start at the end of 2004 when their current agreement expires. “In a surprise move the City fired several Sarnia: After a bumpy couple of years and after a lot of very hard and of the top executives at city hall and have dedicated work on the part of the Sarnia Association Executive Board, things have chosen to eliminate the position of CAO and turned around some for the local and they are looking forward to the end of this instead strike a committee from the various year when their agreement expires, to Department heads to do the job.” INTREPID 15 Randy Richards, Vice-President District #6 Report from District #6 THE OVER MANAGING OF THE FIRE SERVICE I, like you, have seen many changes at the fire hall. Some good, some bad. We have had red trucks, yellow trucks, and then back to red ones. Some departments even have black ones. We used to be a Fire Department, now we are a Fire Service. But one change that is most disturbing is the proliferation in the number of people that are now deemed necessary to manage our emergency responders. This is a relatively new phenomenon. They come with many names, Deputy Chiefs, Assistant Chiefs, Assistants to the Chief, Division Chiefs, Assistant Deputy Chiefs, Manager of Emergency Services, ad nausea. There is a cost and the citizens are paying. They are paying with fewer fire fighters at their local fire hall in some communities. The ranks of management are swelling at a time when the number of on-duty fire fighters has remained the same, and unfortunately in some jurisdictions, on-duty fire fighter numbers have decreased. I don’t know why municipal councils are not questioning this increase in managers. Were fire departments that poorly managed before that an increase in management is necessary at this time? One thing I’ve noticed is that in some instances, it is the same people doing the same jobs, but now as managers they are eligible for the management pay packet. It is pretty obvious that management costs have ballooned. Doesn’t make any sense to me. If as many tax dollars were spent on developing a plan to implement NFPA1710 in our communities as has been spent swelling the ranks of management, just imagine the possibilities. It’s time for this madness to stop. “If as many tax dollars were spent on developing a plan to implement NFPA 1710 in our communities as has been spent swelling the ranks of management, just imagine the possibilities.” 16 INTREPID HEALTH AND SAFETY REPRESENTATIVE Daryl Stephenson, Chair, Health & Safety Committee A fter many months of organizing, the OPFFA Health and Safety “The feedback the committee members received seminar was held this year from February 2-5 at the Marriot from the participants was that this seminar was Courtyard in Toronto. The feedback the committee members received very informative and helpful to our health and from the participants was that this safety representatives across the province.” seminar was very informative and helpful to our health and safety representatives across the province. Thanks to our locals Nicola Burton, Clarica – Critical injury for sending members to the seminar, and the 15 Fire insurance for firefighters Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs who also attended. A total of Adam Marton, Operation Respond – information for 160 firefighters registered for this year’s seminar! A firefighters responding to hazardous materials inci- manufacturer’s display was held on the Tuesday, and the dents, free software available to Departments basement of the Courtyard was completely full. We even had a waiting list for manufacturers who wished to Kerin Sparks, MSA – CBRN face pieces for firefighters attend. For members looking for any new equipment, Ken Langer, Technical Standards and Safety Authority this was the place to be. Displays were set up of bunker gear, boots, helmets, gloves, SCBA, ropes and accessories, – Elevator emergency response training for firefighters thermal imaging cameras, etc. etc. the list goes on and Joel Waterman – the OHSA and firefighters; on. Next year we will move this display up to the main Confined Space Regulation, Bill C-45 and firefighters floor, and expand the number. The seminar continues to grow each year. Dr. Tom McLellan – firefighters and heat stress For those of you who could not attend, here is a list of while wearing bunker gear speakers that attended and the topics for their presentations: David Ross, Toronto Fire Services – firefighter rehabilitation – new information Caroline Smith, M.S. – Fueling the Fire Fighter Sport Sense Co. Peter McBride, Ottawa Fire Services – Reading Smoke! Peter Methner – Auto Extrication and Fire Fighter Safety As you can see, the seminar covered a wide range of topics affecting firefighter safety. The Committee is already John Lane, Toronto Fire Services – SARS – planning for next year, to be held in February 2005. are you prepared? A request was brought forth by members at the seminar Denis St. Denis, Ottawa Fire Services – air quality in for copies of all orders issued by the Ministry of Labour to SCBA and a Respiratory Protection program Fire Departments. As the Section 21 Committee does not receive copies, would all Associations please forward “Displays were set up of bunker gear, boots, helmets, copies of any orders from MOL Inspectors to Wayne DeMille at gloves, SCBA, ropes and accessories, thermal the OPFFA office in Burlington. Stay safe, train like your life imaging cameras, etc. etc. the list goes on and on.” depends on it, because it does. INTREPID 17 Workplace safety and insurance board committee report Douglas Wendorf, WSIB Committee ONTARIO FEDERATION OF LABOUR OCCUPATIONAL DISABILITY RESPONSE TEAM PROGRAMS R ecently on behalf of the OPFFA I had the opportunity to the worker’s reluctance to submit a WSIB claim for working attend a Level Three course, Appeals & Dispute Resolution. injuries. When a worker decides not to submit a claim to the The program took place last October at the same time as our Workers Safety and Insurance Board, for injuries occurred at work, Fall Seminar. they forgo a multiple of legislated worker’s benefits and rights. The program delivered by the Ontario Federation of Labour was The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act legislates the designed to provide the skills necessary to participate at the hearing employer’s obligation to re-employ the injured worker, accom- stage and various other resolution problems that may arise through a modate pre-injury, and permanent impairment, wage loss and WSIB claim. The Appeals and Dispute Resolution Level was benefits to age 65. designed to be built on the previous Levels One and Two that have If the injury is not reported to the joint Health and Safety been offered at the OPFFA seminars. Committee they have no recourse in preventing the incident The Program started on a Saturday evening and ran to the from re-occurring with another employee. This gives the following Friday. This was one of the most intense workshops employer, the Health and Safety Committee an opportunity to I have ever attended. research, investigate the incident and how to prevent further Brothers and Sisters who took the program were from all different injury to the workers. Unions, auto, steel workers etc. Forty-eight took part in the The Ontario Federation of Labour continues to promote workshop where we were each assigned to a group of four. Each Occupational Disability Response Team (ODRT) programs. member was given the opportunity to be involved in a work related These are offered in different levels. case where you were the worker, worker representative, Employer or Level One, Rights and Obligation, is designed to provide an Corporation representative. overview of the Workplace and Safety board. This level will Participants were given in depth analysis of different dispute provide a basic understanding of the WSIB. strategies, including Mediation at the Appeals Resolution Level Two continues from Level One and deals with benefits Officer level, the WSIB Alternate Resolution, Dispute and Changes to Bills in the Act. Members will learn how to Resolution model, and at the Workplace Safety and Insurance examine claim files. Appeals Tribunal level. Each group spent endless hours Disputes and Resolution teaches representatives to properly gathering information about their claims, which were to be represent workers in disputed claims. properly addressed and presented in a professional and Medical Orientation prepares the representative with basic knowledgeable manner. By the end of the course, thirty–six human anatomy, body functions, work related injuries and hours of assignments were completed. Representatives were occupational diseases. This is a complete six-day program. prepared to properly represent workers and employers at all The last is an Early Return to Work. This course is to levels of the WSIB system. identify barriers, duties and suitable work for the worker. The purpose of all this, is for the representatives to be This is a five-day course. prepared; an ill preparation could be costly to the worker. Being I look forward to completing the Medical Orientation and well prepared will result in cost saving to the system. These Early Return to Work portions of the ODRT. representatives will have the skills to resolve issues earlier and The Ontario Federation of Labour has resources, which to develop alternative dispute resolution strategies that will ease may be of assistance to our member. the backlog throughout the appeal structure. Thanks to Colin Argle, of the Federation of Labour for By the end of the workshop I returned home feeling confident. inviting the OPFFA to the workshops. When my assistance is requested I will present an appeal at a I look forward to assisting members if they have a professional level. The recurring concern expressed by the team is W.S.I.B. concern. 18 INTREPID Pension Report CONTRIBUTIONS Erik Leicht, Chair, Pension Committee A s everyone can see from their pay stubs, contributions are back. • No contributions enabling members to put away additional The original plan, for the return of contributions, was to have a money into savings three-year phase in, which would have seen contributions at • Opening the early retirement window from 1998-2004 2/3 the normal this year. Due to the three years of negative returns the OMERS Board had a fiscal responsibility to move the date for Recent federal changes governing pension plan surplus now give full contributions forward to this year. The new full contribution the plan some flexibility regarding reduction of contributions. In rates are higher than full contributions were prior to the contribution 1997, the OMERS Board did not have any alternative than to give holiday. The increase was required to maintain proper contributions employees and employers a full contribution holiday, the law stated for the benefits provided by the plan. Improved benefits gained that if the plan’s value was higher than 110% of the plans liabilities, through the surplus increased the cost of the plan, now those costs the employer received a contribution holiday. The employees need to be fully funded by contributions. The new rates are; for received an equal contribution holiday as it is clearly stated in normal retirement age (NRA) 60 - 7.3% up to the Yearly Maximum the OMERS Act the employers and employees split costs and Pensionable Earning (YMPE) which is set at $40,500 for 2004 and surpluses. The new rules allow for plans to reduce contributions to then 9.8% on any amounts above the YMPE, for the NRA 65 - 6% 75%, 50%, 25% or 0% depending how much in excess of the 110% and 8.8% respectively. mark they are. It is unlikely that current active members will see a A recap of the past six years: contribution holiday similar to what has just ended again. Up to December 31, 1997 Full Contributions NRA 60 - 7% & 8.5% NRA 65 - 6% & 7.5% Statutory Holiday Pay – January 1998 - July 1998 2% contribution reduction Contributory Earnings for OMERS NRA 60 - 5% & 6.5% A bit of background on this issue, in October 2000, OMERS NRA 65 - 4% & 5.5% revised contributory earnings categories from three (must August 1998 - December 2002 Full Contribution Holiday include, may include and must not include) to two (must include No contributions by and must not include). This change was endorsed by the OPFFA employee or employer due to the fact that employers were using the ‘may include’ items January 2003 - December 2003 1/3 of normal contribution rate as negotiable items, which was not the meaning of the category. NRA 60 - 2.43% & 2.93% The revised categories eliminated that problem but created a new NRA 65 - 2% & 2.5% problem. According to the OPFFA and many employers the January 2004 - Forward Full Contributions “Statutory pay in lieu of holiday” (not overtime) was a ‘may NRA 60 - 7.3% & 9.8% include’ item. With the changes in 2000 this item was moved into NRA 65 - 6% & 8.8% the must include category and then later moved into the must not include. The OPFFA immediately expressed its dissatisfaction with the change. The Pension Committee has completed a survey Six years with reduced or no contributions regarding this issue to identify locals that have been contributing Having the surplus, increased some already good benefits, for to OMERS on Statutory pay. Fourteen (14) locals have been example: identified as having contributed to OMERS on statutory pay. • Spousal Benefit increase from 60% to 66 2/3% Therefore, the OPFFA has retained legal representation on this issue. The OPFFA wants to see OMERS contributions remitted • Spousal/dependant maximum from 75% to 100% on statutory pay in lieu of holiday (not overtime). • Canada Pension Plan Offset reduction from .7% to .675% • Inflation protection from 70% to 100% of the Consumer OMERS Autonomy Price Index OMERS Autonomy was one of the issues lobbied by OPFFA • Calculation of YMPE average from 3 to 5 years, (this members during the 2003 OPFFA Legislative Seminar in lowers the CPP offset at 65) November. Our position is unchanged and we trust that the • One time payment to retired members to bring up all Liberal Government will uphold their non-monetary election indexation to 100% of CPI. promise to give OMERS autonomy. INTREPID 19 KAPUSKASING FIRE FIGHTERS WIN FIGHT AGAINST TERMINATIONS Fred LeBlanc, President, OPFFA T he Kapuskasing Association of Professional Fire Arbitrator Kaplan issued his award on December Fighters fought back and won the fight for their 17, 2003. Kaplan agreed with the Association’s livelihood and the full-time protection for the position that the Town breached the Collective Town’s residents. Agreement in five different articles and dismissed the On September 2, 2003 Kapuskasing Council Town’s interpretation that the FPPA (Fire Protection passed three readings of a by-law calling for the and Prevention Act) gave authority for the Town disbandment of the fire department and termination to conduct itself in this manner. The arbitrator of all full-time fire fighters. concluded in his award by stating: The IAFF and the OPFFA responded to the “I conclude that the collective agreement is in force, Town’s misguided action by launching grievances that the grievance is allowed and the termination of on behalf of the terminated members and the four full-time fire fighters must be rescinded.” applying for a Court Injunction. The IAFF approved a request to provide legal counsel under the Canadian Legal Assistance “I conclude that the collective agreement Policy. Sean McManus from Nelligan/O’Brien/Payne was is in force, that the grievance is allowed contracted to represent the local. and the termination of the four full-time On September 23, 2003 OPFFA President Fred LeBlanc fire fighters must be rescinded.” made two presentations to Town Council before a packed Council chamber. Over 60 concerned citizens, and Mitch Lauzon spokesperson for the local said some 40 professional fire fighters who traveled from “this is a great Christmas gift for our members as far away as Timmins, Toronto and London and their families. We cannot thank the OPFFA, were present in a strong show of support for the IAFF and all the members for their incredible terminated members. support. Now it is time to finish negotiating The Town agreed to defer the terminations and our contract.” have them heard by expedited grievance arbitration. The local is now proceeding to interest arbitration The parties agreed to Arbitrator William Kaplan on to conclude this round of negotiations. Their December 6, 2003. collective agreement expired on January 31, 2002. 20 INTREPID The OPFFA Executive Board goes high tech and each are provided with personal lap top computers to further enhance the service that is being provided to the membership of the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association. From left to right, Jim Byatt, #3 District VP, Greg Colton, #1 District VP, Fred LeBlanc, President, Barry Quinn, #2 District VP, Brian George, Executive Vice-President, Wayne DeMille, Executive Director, Randy Richards, #6 District VP, Jim Simmons, #4 District VP, Ed Dickson, #5 District VP. (Missing due to illness when picture was taken, Joe Adamkowski, #7 District VP. There is no #7 District Report for the same reason). Ontario Professional Fire PM40065059 Fighters Association 292 Plains Road East Burlington, ON L7T 2C6 The Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters Association Executive Board visit City Hall on January 15th, 2004 to lobby the Mayor and City Council concerning issues that impact on their Association. From left to right, Fred LeBlanc, President, Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association, Mayor Bob Chiarelli shaking hands with Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters Association President, Dave Stephenson, Ron Phillips, Executive Member, Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters Association.
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