An Open Letter To The Citizens Of Ontario


    Ontario Ombudsman guilty of "puffery" and unfairness

    The members of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union,
    Local 343 employed at the Ontario Ombudsman's office are set to strike on
    February 18, 2008.

    TORONTO, Feb. 6 /CNW/ - After almost a year of trying to get the
Ombudsman to negotiate a fair deal, members of the collective bargaining unit
at the Ombudsman's Office are fed up. The bargaining unit is made up of early
resolution officers and investigators, as well as support and administrative
staff. The last collective agreement expired on March 31, 2007. The primary
issues of contention are the Ombudsman's demands that his staff work more
hours per week for no additional pay and that they surrender certain benefits.
    The bargaining unit is perplexed by this given the Ombudsman's public
comments over the last year; he has said that resources for his Office "are
not a problem"(1), that his Office is the "most cost-effective investigative
body around"(2) and that his Office is more efficient than ever.(3) The
members of the bargaining committee and the people of Ontario have a right to
know, given the Ombudsman's demands, were his statements true or were they
just "puffery"?
    A strike deadline is set for 12:01 am on Monday, February 18, 2008.
Members of the bargaining unit do not want to take this step. The people who
are going to suffer are the hundreds of people in Ontario that Ombudsman staff
helps every week. However, the bargaining unit feels it is has little choice,
the Ombudsman has been intransigent in his demands for concessions. Reasonable
explanations for the concessionary demands have not been forthcoming from the
Ombudsman either.
    Some members of the bargaining unit have been serving the people of
Ontario and the Office of the Ombudsman for over 20 years. They deserve to be
treated better than they have been; they deserve to be treated with fairness
and respect. The Ombudsman has been blasting government for a lack of fairness
and a lack of transparency, yet it seems he cannot institute those ideals in
his own office.

    (1)  Spiteri, Ray. "Fear not, Fort Erie: Ombudsman" Niagara Falls Review,
         November 21, 2007: A1
    (2)  Canadian Press. "Ombudsman Blasts Grits" Timmins Daily Press,
         June 21, 2007: A5
    (3)  Ontario Ombudsman's 2006-2007 Annual Report: Page 21

For further information:

For further information: Janice Best, Director, COPE Ontario,, (416) 703-8515, ext. 225

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