HAMILTON – The decision by Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) to shut down the citys only mens detoxification centre for three months is unfair to both clients and staff, CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan told a support rally today.
What kind of management has to shut down a whole service in order to make program changes? Ryan asked. This move looks more like a way target certain staff than an effort to provide better service to men at severe risk from substance abuse.
The excuse offered by HHS – that it is simply implementing new staff qualifications mandated by the Withdrawal Management Association of Ontario – just doesnt wash, Ryan said. He noted that the associations program standards refer to requirements for recruitment and hiring of new workers. The same standards also say the program should provide staff development activities and have an annual education plan for individual staff.
There have been changes in hiring requirements before and the detox centre stayed open, Ryan said. Staff experience as well as training was taken into consideration at that time. Existing staff were grandfathered accordingly.
HHS is not giving current staff any opportunity to hold onto their jobs through training or grandfathering, Ryan said. The fact that only one out of 15 staff so far has been deemed to qualify to continue working tells me theres another agenda at work. If HHS really cared about the wellbeing of detox centre clients, they would have kept the centre open and helped the experienced, dedicated staff meet the new qualifications over time.
He called on HHS to reopen the centre and work with CUPE Local 4800 to implement the standards in a way that serves the best interests of the clients.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadas largest union, represents 180,000 workers in Ontario employed by both public and private sector organizations in health care, emergency services, education, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation and airlines, and front-line water services.
For further information, please contact:
Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario President
Pat Daley, Communications Representative