OPSEU Welcomes Delay in PPAO Divestment to CMHA

“I applaud Deb Mathews for announcing that her ministry will put divestment on hold to give time for a full review of its controversial decision and to
allow all stakeholders, including patients and their advocates, an opportunity to make their views known,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President. 


Toronto (8 August 2011) – A decision by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to delay divestment of the Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office
(PPAO) to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) pending consultations with key stakeholders is an overdue but welcomed step in the right direction.

“I applaud Deb Mathews for announcing that her ministry will put divestment on hold to give time for a full review of its controversial decision and to
allow all stakeholders, including patients and their advocates, an opportunity to make their views known,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the
Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) which represents advocates working on behalf of those with mental health issues.

“However, we will oppose any divestment that smacks of a conflict-of-interest,” said Thomas. “To do otherwise would be a grave disservice to thousands of
people who rely on the integrity and independence of the PPAO.”

In a memo last week to PPAO employees, the ministry said it would put off any divestment until early 2012 to give more time for consultations with those
affected by the proposed change. Under the original plan, divestment would have taken place effective September 1, 2011 when CMHA (Ontario), which delivers local mental health services, would have taken over supervision of the PPAO officers.

Under this arrangement, PPAO officers would have found themselves in a flagrant conflict-of-interest, said Thomas, who added he believes the PPAO should
report directly to the provincial Legislature through the Ombudsman’s office or by way of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada’s largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

Reproduced from http://www.nupge.ca/content/4427/opseu-welcomes-delay-ppao-divestment-cmha