Tyler Hutchinson – Executive at Large – Election

Hello, my name is Tyler Hutchinson and I serve as an “Executive at Large” for Local 21. Currently, I sit on the local’s executive board as the chair of the “Contracting Out Committee”, and I also act as the local’s representative to the “Casual and Employee of Municipality Pension Plan (EOMPP) Board”.

My job on the contracting out committee is to try and ensure that as much work as possible stays within the local and that any work that is contracted to the private sector is properly justified and does not violate the terms laid out in the “Collective Bargaining Agreement” (CBA), while my role on the “Casual and (EOMPP)Board” is to monitor how the casual pension plan is being managed on behalf of the Local.

Background Currently I hold a MA in Social Studies with a Major in Sociology and a BA (Honours) in Psychology. Additionally, I have, in the past, worked for the Saskatchewan Department of Education as an assistant researcher and I’ve presented papers to conferences on issues surrounding P3’s (Private Public Partnerships).

I have also been a casual employee with the City of Regina in the Parks Department for over eight years, and as such, I am glad to have a chance to represent the interests of my fellow casual employees.

Approved by Local 21/ wz

 

 

Employee Guide – COVID-19

Please take a moment to read this guide and feel free to share it with your co-workers. This guide will be updated regularly to ensure you have the most up to date information.

For more employee information visit CityConnect. For health information visit the Ministry of Health website.

Novel Coronavirus will be referred to as COVID-19 throughout this guide.

https://www.regina.ca/export/sites/Regina.ca/about-regina/job-opportunities/.galleries/pdfs/COVID19-Employee-Guide.pdf

Mental Health Week

Hello Everyone!

As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, this years Mental Health Week reminds us of the importance in recognizing and taking care of your mental health.

May 3rd marks the start of the Canadian Mental Health Associations 70th annual Mental Health Week. The CMHA theme this year is – Get ready to #GetReal about how you feel. Name it, don’t numb it.

We suggest having a look at some of the great resources offered on the CMHA site that offer practical advice, articles and information on mental wellness.

Info & Articles – Canadian Mental Health Association (mentalhealthweek.ca)

Day of Mourning

Every year on April 28, workers, families, employers, and others come together to remember those who have lost their lives, or suffered physical or mental injury or illness as a result of workplace accidents, hazards, or harassment.

Although COVID-19 restrictions prevents us from physically gathering this year, we invite all CUPE staff to take a moment of silence on April 28 at 11:00 a.m. to remember those we have lost, and to renew our commitment to creating safer workplaces.

Phase 2 of Vaccine Delivery Plan Launches – Special Vaccination Leave Introduced

Released on March 18, 2021

Today, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the launch of Phase 2 of the Vaccine Delivery Plan with the introduction of booking eligibility online and by phone for residents 67 years and older.

Effective at 12:00 PM on Thursday, March 18, eligibility for the online and phone-in booking system is expanded to the 67 years and older age group and those considered clinically extremely vulnerable.

Phase 2 also includes select congregate living settings such as group homes for persons with intellectual disabilities and emergency shelters.  The expansion comes earlier than anticipated and is due to the rapid and successful rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations through the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s vaccine booking system.

Anyone who is 67 years old as of March 18, 2021, can go online to book an appointment at www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-vaccine.  You will need a Saskatchewan health services card and an email or cell phone in order to receive notification reminders of the appointment.  Those without email or cell phones can call 1-833-Sask-Vax (727-5829).

“The implementation of the online and telephone appointment booking system has enabled the rapid deployment of vaccinations across the province,” Health Minister Paul Merriman said.  “This move into Phase 2 is ahead of the anticipated schedule but with the vaccine and the ability to move forward swiftly we do not want to delay.  This achievement is great news for our residents and our province as every vaccination delivered brings us one day closer to returning to normal.”

While the eligibility categories have broadened into the Phase 2 recommendations, vaccinations and eligibility for individuals identified in Phase 1 will continue until completed.  This includes completing all first and second doses for long-term care and personal care home residents and staff.

As more vaccine becomes available in the coming weeks, clinics will be expanding across the province.

Individuals who may be considered clinically extremely vulnerable will receive a letter with instructions for booking appointments.  A complete list of clinically extremely vulnerable conditions is available at www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19.

“We continue to be a leader in Canada at getting vaccines into arms quickly and safely,” Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone said.  “Achieving this milestone ahead of schedule is a reminder for us to celebrate and thank the health care workers who are working long hours to make this possible.”

Special Vaccination Leave Introduced

The Government of Saskatchewan has also amended The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020 to allow for paid time off from work for an employee to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and are effective immediately.  Special Vaccination Leave is similar to provisions allowing residents to vote during a general election.

The new section 6-22.1, Special Vaccination Leave, establishes that during the pandemic:

  • Workers are entitled to three consecutive hours leave during work hours to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Workers are entitled to more than three consecutive hours if the employer determines the circumstances warrant a longer break from work.
  • Workers do not lose any pay or other benefits while receiving a COVID-19 vaccination.

“We want to ensure that everyone in the province gets vaccinated,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said.  “The amendment today ensures workers also have paid time off during the work hours to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

The new regulation comes into force on March 18, 2021.

Faces of Pine Lodge: former clients say it saved their lives

Several people who have struggled with addictions credit Pine Lodge Treatment Centre with saving their lives.

Author of the article: Heather Polischuk Publishing date: Mar 13, 2021/ Leader Post

Pine Lodge Treatment Centre’s Indian Head facility was badly damaged by fire in December, triggering both a search for a new site and debate over its proposed location.

The issue of allowing an addictions centre as a permitted use on the site of the former Prairie Christian Training Centre is slated to return to Fort San village council on Tuesday.

As the future of Pine Lodge hangs in the balance, they credit the program with not only changing their lives but saving them.

Peter Nokonechny

With nearly nine years of sobriety under his belt, Peter Nokonechny choked up for a moment as he talked about Pine Lodge. “It was the hardest time of my life and the best time of my life,” he said.

Nokonechny didn’t mince words about the state his life was in prior to treatment.

“On paper, I had all the things you’re supposed to have — a wife and two beautiful young daughters, a house and garage and cars and a good job and all that stuff,” he said. “But 30 years of drinking had taken its toll.”

Around the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death, he hit bottom. That was in 2012, the year he finally decided to ask for help. He entered the 28-day treatment program at Pine Lodge with trepidation but knowing he needed to confront his illness.

“Pine Lodge saved my life, for sure,” he said. “In the first couple of weeks it convinced me — they beat it into my head — that this was a disease, that I was not a bad person, I was just a sick person.”

Nokonechny said it gave him a basic set of tools he’s been able to use in his long-term recovery ever since. He sees his life now as a “miracle” compared to where he and his family once were.

He’s since joined the ranks of former clients who return to talk to new clients, to provide hope they too can get better. Nokonechny said Pine Lodge detractors don’t have a good understanding of the centre, its residents or its benefits, and he would like that to change. He noted clients were treated very well in Indian Head.

“There was no moment in time where I felt looked down upon or felt ashamed to be walking around in that community,” he said.

“Gary”

“Gary” — who requested anonymity — said some people continue to have misconceptions about what the disease of addiction looks like. “We have a misperception out there, a stigma that an alcoholic is a guy with a brown paper bag sitting on a bench with a two-dollar bottle of wine,” he said. “Well, that’s not the case.”

Gary calls his time at the centre “the hardest 28 days of my life.” He admits to being terrified and having his “butt kicked” by the program, but said it ultimately saved him.

Prior to entering Pine Lodge in 2016, his life was, in his words, “chaos.” Alcohol ran his life and hit his family as hard as it hit him, culminating in his wife of 40 years asking him to move out.

An addiction counsellor was eventually able to get him into Pine Lodge, where he learned about the disease and developed tools to cope.

He said staff were far from lenient. Rule-breaking got you kicked out. Like others, he buckled down and took in everything he could, enabling him to move forward with his life in a positive way.

Gary said the “not in my backyard” attitude some people show regarding treatment centres doesn’t come from a place of understanding of the people or issues.

“I was a sick person trying to get better,” he said.

Dave Kilbach

During his time at Pine Lodge 16 years ago and ever since, Dave Kilbach has met numerous others who shared his illness.

“I’ve met people that have gone through treatment facilities — they’re doctors, they’re lawyers, they’re dentists, they’re nurses, they’re police officers, there’s firemen,” said Kilbach, a contractor by trade. “I even met a pastor in the program. It’s not that we’re bad people. We’re people with a disease of alcoholism or drugism.”

Kilbach — who, tongue in cheek, said his new addictions are to fishing and hunting — said those attending programs like Pine Lodge aren’t what some believe. While some clients have criminal histories, many don’t. Different backgrounds, genders, races, economic situations, levels of employment and education — this is what Kilbach has observed of those attending treatment centres.

What they have in common is a desire to get better, he said.

“The people that go through Pine Lodge could be your brother, your sister, your mom, dad, your aunt, uncle, your niece, nephew, your daughter, son,” Kilbach said. “Those are the type of people that go through Pine Lodge … It’s just normal everyday people.”

Harvey F.

As a born and bred “farm boy,” Harvey F. — who did not wish to use his last name — said he grew up around alcoholism. It was a disease that eventually came to plague him until he found Pine Lodge.

A professional engineer, he was working for a Crown corporation when his employer confronted him about his problem. While his illness never resulted in job loss, missed mortgage payments or impaired driving charges, it did come close to costing him his marriage.

He began confronting his addiction and entered treatment at Pine Lodge in 1990. “It was absolutely scary, but it was absolutely liberating because for the first time ever, I really felt hope,” he said.

Harvey compared addictions treatment and ongoing recovery work to building and maintaining a house. Pine Lodge provided the foundation. Ongoing use of recovery tools and programming — which he still uses — provided the walls and roof that have continued to shelter him.

Pine Lodge was intensive because it needed to be, breaking through the barriers he — like others suffering from addiction — have built within and around themselves. But, he added, it then served to build them back up.

“I’ve been sober for over 30 years,” he said.

He would like people to understand those with this disease come from all walks of life and most are not the stereotypes some seem to think.

“These are really good people just trying to get better,” he said.

hpolischuk@postmedia.com

Regina City council approves efficiency review of City Hall operations

Mayor Sandra Masters promised to find 15 per cent in efficiencies at city hall. Though that figure is absent from a report before council, a review is coming down the pipe, nonetheless. 

Mayor Sandra Masters is on pace to make good on one of her key campaign planks — to conduct an efficiency review at city hall.

In a 10-1 vote, council decided to move forward with Masters’s plan to conduct a review of city operations and to create an efficiency review sponsor team to provide advice to council on how to build back after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

Now that the review — which will cost up to $250,000 — has been approved, city manager Chris Holden said the city will issue a request for proposals “almost immediately.”

Masters’ campaign promise was to find 15 per cent in efficiencies at city hall, but that figure is absent from the report before council.

Coun. Landon Mohl (Ward 10) said while door knocking during the campaign, city efficiencies was the number one concern he heard.

Masters said Coun. Andrew Stevens (Ward 3) and a member of the community will co-chair the committee and will collaborate with Holden and local stakeholders.

“We’re trying to keep the committee small to keep it nimble,” said Masters.

Coun. Bob Hawkins (Ward 2) said he felt committee membership should be decided by council, and moved a motion to that effect. “If we’re going to have a committee with any credibility that’s advising council, council should vote the membership on that committee,” said Hawkins.

Council agreed and the motion passed unanimously though there was no further discussion of potential members, the size of the committee or when it would be chosen.

Coun. Cheryl Stadnichuk (Ward 1) said she had some concerns about what the efficiency review will mean, specifically regarding cuts to services and jobs. “What’s considered efficient can be subjective,” she said, adding that in the past, efficiency has meant privatization and failed attempts at Lean initiatives.

Echoing Stadnichuk’s concerns, Ward 6 councillor Daniel LeBlanc, the sole dissenter, asked administration what the city’s working definition of “efficiency” is, going into the review.

Holden said the city needs to continue to offer the services it does, “in a municipal setting there isn’t a huge opportunity to slash services,” he said.

Holden said the city will look to do more with the same, while looking to technology, reworking existing systems and streamlining processes to accomplish more at city hall.

“It’s not a goal to reduce the size of the workforce,” said Holden.

LeBlanc asked about the possibility of privatizing certain services offered by the city.

Holden said it was something that “you have to look at” but added that all recommendations from the review will come back to council for final approval, which means council will have final say on any decision.

Six to eight services, which will be picked by council, will be reviewed in the report. The review is expected to be completed in six months. The last such review was completed in 2004.

alsalloum@postmedia.com