Newsletter November 2011

How Decisions Get Made!

By: Dave Najduch, WTA President

The Association (President, Vice-President and Business Agent) meet regularly with representatives of the WSD. We discuss a range of topics and are always asking questions, inevitably the response to some of our queries has been, “that was a school-based decision” or “the staff in the building decided to do that.”

  • Why are the meetings of the __________________ being held during the noon hour?
  • Why are teachers not getting access to the two days release time to complete the CAP?
  • Why are all the teachers at every grade level being required to complete the_____________ form of assessment?
  • Why was the due date for the completion of CAP moved to a week or two weeks prior to the Divisional due date?
  • Why is every teacher being required to attend a _____________________?
  • Why is the school focus for PD this year _______________?
  • Why is _____________school piloting the ______________ program?

Over the coming months, I would like to hear from members about how these and other decisions are made in your building. How and where are these topics discussed? Who puts them on the agenda? How are “staffs” involved in the discussions? How is the staff decision made? How is the “staff” decision enforced? Tell me your story or experience in this area. You can call the office at 831-7104 or e-mail me at pres@wta.mb.ca.

I will also be asking the WSD for information regarding Divisional expectations regarding school based/staff-based decisions. What policy and guidelines exist for this process to be occurring in the schools and how does the Superintendents’ Department ensure that these processes are being followed? How are these processes and expectations communicated to the school administration and staffs in each building?

School based/staff-based decision making has become a process which has had significant impact on the work lives of every WTA member in every work site. Depending on your perspective, the WSD has either given more autonomy to schools to make decisions or downloaded responsibilities to schools. In either interpretation, the end result is still the same, decisions have to be made that impact the programming and work load in each building.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about the information provided in this article, please call me at the WTA office.

I look forward to hearing your story!

The Salary Grid

The Association has sent to the WSD four signed copies of the new collective agreement to be reviewed and signed by the Division. It is our hope that this will occur soon and the new salary grids will then be posted on the WTA web page and members can then check their salary statement against the new amount posted in the collective agreement. A special thanks to Nathan Martindale (WTA VP and Negotiations Chair) for his energy and efforts in working with me to review the grids and proof read the new contact.

New Workplace Safety and Health Regulations

Nathan Photo

By: Nathan Martindale, Vice-President

On August 31st, 2011, the Provincial Workplace Safety and Health Regulations were amended to include the following:

Section 10 – Harassment

  • Employers must develop and implement a written policy to prevent harassment in the workplace and ensure that workers comply with this policy.
  • Employers must develop this policy in consultation with its worker groups.
  • Employers must include certain statements regarding harassment and ensure that a copy of the policy is posted in each workplace.

Section 11 – Violence in the Workplace

  • Employers must assess the risk of violence to a worker in the workplace and must be done in consultation with the workplace committee.
  • Employers must develop a violence prevention policy, train their workers in the policy and ensure that workers comply with the policy. The policy must be developed in consultation with the workplace committee.
  • Employers must inform each worker about the nature and extent of the risk of violence to a worker in the workplace. (A requirement to report.)

These amendments will have major implications for teachers across Manitoba. It is important for all teachers to be aware of the RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES that accompany these amendments and the impact of the Workplace Health and Safety Regulations in general.

RIGHT to Know

  • Workers have the right to know about hazards within their workplace
  • Workers have the right to access Material Safety Data Sheets regarding hazardous materials

RIGHT to Participate

  • Workers have the right to participate in the Health and Safety concerns of the workplace
  • Workers have the right to sit on WPSH committees and/or as school reps
  • Worker groups have the right to select reps for the Division WPSH Committee

RIGHT to Refuse

  • Workers have the right to refuse to do a job when they have reasonable grounds to believe that the task or condition of work may be dangerous to themselves or to a co-worker or to any other person

In terms of RESPONIBILITIES, workers need to ensure they are adhering to Provincial Regulations and School Division Policies. When a Workplace Safety and Health Incident occurs, it is essential that the proper paperwork be completed and submitted in a timely fashion.

Over the next several months, the WTA will make an effort to educate the membership regarding the above changes. Information will appear in subsequent newsletter articles, reports at Council Meetings from the WTA Workplace Safety and Health Committee Chairperson, pamphlets for each school/worksite as well as information on the WTA website.

Included in this month’s newsletter is a pamphlet from SafeWork Manitoba in PDF form.

More detailed information regarding the above can be found on the following websites:

Workplace Safety and Health Everyone’s Responsibility

Safe Work

The Workplace Safety and Health Act supports every worker’s right to a safe and healthy workplace. It assigns responsibility to each person in the workplace for creating and maintaining a safe and healthy workplace, to the extent that they have the authority and ability to do so. Everyone has a personal and shared responsibility to work together cooperatively to prevent workplace injuries and illness.

General Duties under the Act

Employers: Because they have the greatest degree of authority and control over the operations of the workplace, employers have the greatest degree of responsibility for workplace safety and health. Employers’ legal safety and health responsibilities include:

  • Taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety, health and welfare of workers;
  • Providing and maintaining a safe workplace, equipment, tools and systems;
  • Ensuring all workers and supervisors are aware of hazards in the workplace as well as the precautions necessary for their protection;
  • Providing workers with competent supervision;
  • Providing the necessary training to protect workers’ safety and health before they begin a new job;
  • Taking necessary precautions to ensure that other persons are not exposed to safety or health risks due to the activities of the workplace;
  • Consulting and cooperating with the workplace safety and health committee or representative;
  • Cooperating with other people on workplace safety and health matters.

Supervisors have the responsibility and authority to oversee a group of workers within a workplace. The legal safety and health duties of supervisors’ include:

  • Taking necessary precautions to protect the safety and health of workers under their supervision;
  • Ensuring that workers comply with safety and health procedures and use safety equipment, clothing, and devices;
  • Advising workers of safety and health hazards in the work area;
  • Cooperating with the workplace safety and health committee or representative;
  • Cooperating with other people on workplace safety and health matters.

Workers are responsible for their own actions or inaction. Workers’ legal safety and health responsibilities include:

  • Taking reasonable care to protect themselves and others who may be affected by their actions or omissions;
  • Proper use of safety equipment, clothing, and devices;
  • Cooperating with the workplace safety and health committee or representative;
  • Cooperating with other people on workplace safety and health matters.

Contractors are described under the Act as persons who hire an employer or selfemployed person on contract and direct their activities. Contractors’ legal safety and health duties include:

  • Taking necessary precautions to ensure that activities and hazards within their control do not create a safety and health risk;
  • Cooperating with other people on workplace safety and health matters.

Prime Contractors are required on construction projects where more than one employer or self-employed person are involved. The legal safety and health responsibilities of prime contractors include:

  • Coordinating, organizing and overseeing the work on the project to ensure the safety and health of workers and others who may be affected by activities on the project (this includes coordinating the safety and health programs of employers working on the project);
  • Setting up an effective system to ensure everyone working on the project fulfills their legal safety and health responsibilities;
  • Cooperating with other people on workplace safety and health matters.

Self-Employed Persons are responsible for their own actions or inaction. Their legal safety and health duties include:

  • Taking necessary precautions to ensure that their activities do not create a safety and health risk to themselves or others who may be affected by their activities;
  • Cooperating with other people on workplace safety and health matters.

Owners of buildings or land used as a workplace have legal safety and health responsibilities which include:

  • Taking necessary precautions to ensure that property under their control does not create a risk to safety and health;
  • Cooperating with other people on workplace safety and health matters.

Suppliers’ legal safety and health duties include:

  • Taking necessary precautions to ensure that tools, equipment and other materials supplied to a workplace are safe when used according to instructions provided;
  • Cooperating with other people on workplace safety and health matters.

Workplace Safety & Health Committees and Representatives play an important role by providing input and advice to employers on safety and health matters, however they are not responsible for managing safety and health in the workplace.

  • Employers are required to establish a safety and health committee in workplaces with 20 or more workers;
  • In workplaces with 10 to 19 workers (or on a construction project), employers are required to designate a worker as the safety and health representative;
  • Prime contractors are required to establish a project safety and health committee on construction projects expected to last more than 90 days where 20 or more workers are expected to work.

The legal responsibilities of committees and representatives include:

  • Making safety and health recommendations to the employer;
  • Dealing with safety and health concerns of workers;
  • Participating in developing and promoting of safety and health precautions, as well as safety and health education and training programs;
  • Conducting regular workplace inspections;
  • Participating in safety and health investigations;
  • Cooperating with other people on workplace safety and health matters.

For specific requirements, please refer to the Workplace Safety and Health Act (W210).

Safe Work Bulletin No.279

Safe Work
No. 279 July 2011

Amendments to the Workplace Safety and Health Regulation on Violence Prevention

The Workplace Safety and Health Regulation was changed to include new requirements to protect workers from workplace violence. Amendments to Part 11 (Violence in the Workplace) will take effect on August 31, 2011.

Key changes to the Regulation are summarized below. Please refer to Part 11 of the Regulation for all requirements on violence prevention in the workplace.

Applicable Workplaces (Section11.1, 11.2 and 11.8):

Statistics show workers in some sectors are more at risk of violence in the workplace. This section of the regulation outlines which workplaces must develop and follow a violence prevention policy.

  • Amendments to the regulations make it mandatory for workplaces to develop and follow a Violence Prevention Policy (as described in the regulations), if the workplace provides public services, including:
    • Healthcare (see section 11.8 for a description of workplaces)
    • Pharmaceutical-dispensing
    • Education
    • Financial
    • Police, corrections or other law enforcement
    • Security
    • Crisis counseling and intervention
    • Taxi cab and transit bus
    • Retail sales (between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.)
    • Licenced premises (within the meaning of The Liquor Control Act)
  • Employers at workplaces not described above must still assess the risk of violence to a worker at the workplace. The assessment must be done in consultation with the committee or representative at the workplace, or if there is no committee or representative at the workplace, with the workers at the workplace. If the assessment identifies a risk of violence, employers must develop and put a Violence Prevention Policy in place to protect their workers.

Content of the Violence Prevention Policy (Section 11.4)

A violence prevention policy must describe the actions and measures employers will take to eliminate or control the risk of violence to workers. This section has been expanded to include:

  • Measures to summon immediate assistance when violent or threatening situations occur.
  • A description of any worksite at the workplace, where violence has occurred or may (reasonably be expected to) occur.
  • A description of any specific job functions where the worker has been or may (reasonably be expected to) be exposed to an incident of violence.
  • Procedures a worker will follow to report an incident of violence to the employer.
  • Procedures the employer follow to document and investigate any incident of violence, and to put any control measures in place (as a result of the investigation) to eliminate or reduce the risk of further occurrence.
  • A statement that the personal information disclosed, regarding an incident of violence, will be the minimum amount necessary.
  • A recommendation that a worker who has been harmed as a result of a violent incident at the workplace is advised to consult their health care provider for treatment or referral to post-incident counseling, if appropriate.

Workplace Safety and Health Division Contact Information:
Winnipeg: (204) 945-3446
Toll-Free: 1-866-888-8186 (Manitoba only)
24-Hour Emergency Line: (204) 945-0581
Publications/resources available at: www.safemanitoba.com

Information for Workers (section 11.5):

If a risk of violence has been identified at the workplace, employers are required to inform workers about the nature and extent of the risk of violence to workers. Building on requirements already in place, this section has been clarified to include:

  • An employer’s release of personal information, regarding the risk of violence from a person who has acted violently in the past and whom workers may encounter while at work, unless otherwise prohibited by law.
  • The personal information provided (as above) will be the minimum amount necessary to accomplish the purpose.

Annual Report (section 11.7):

Each year, employers must prepare a report on violent incidents that will contain:

  • Records of incidents of violence at the workplace, if any;
  • Results of any investigation into an incident of violence at the workplace, including a copy of any recommendations for control measures or for changes to the violence prevention policy and a copy of any report prepared under Part 2 (section 2.9) of the Regulation;
  • Description of control measures put in place following investigation into an incident.

The annual report on workplace violence must be provided to: (a) the committee at the work place, (b) the representative at the workplace, (c) if there is no committee or representative at the workplace, the report must be provided to the workers at the workplace.

Reference to legal requirements under workplace safety and health legislation:

  • Workplace Safety and Health Regulations: Part 11 (Violence in the Workplace)
  • Workplace Safety and Health Regulations: Part 2 (Section 2.9)

Additional workplace safety and health information available at www.safemanitoba.com

TRAF Parental Leave Purchases

Recent changes to the Teachers’ Pension Act allow plan members to purchase pensionable service for Parental Leaves. The leaves must be Parental Leaves and the member must purchase the whole leave. Parental leaves commencing after June 16th 2011 can be purchased at the contributions required for the first 17 weeks of the leave. The rest of the leave must be purchased at double the contributions required for the balance of the leave. All these leaves must be purchased by 18 months from the commencement of the leave.

Active members can purchase Parental Leaves that occurred prior to June 16th 2011 at their present contribution required for the first 17 weeks and double the contributions required for the balance of the leave. All these leaves must be purchased by December 16th 2012 to qualify for the above contribution rate. Previous leaves purchased after December 16th 2012 will be based on actuarial formula and will be significantly higher.

Applications for purchase of Parental leaves or pervious Parental Leaves are on the TRAF website at www.TRAF.mb.ca.

If you have any questions please contact TRAF directly at 1 204 949 0048 or www.TRAF.mb.ca.

General Information

Manulife Claim Forms etc.

Please be advised that if you require ManuLife claim forms they are available from:
(a) for active and retired teachers – you can access a claim form from the Manulife web site www.manulife.ca
(b) for active teachers – your school office and/or the Division (775-0231)
(c) for retired teachers – the WTA office, 202-2639 Portage Ave., R3J 0P7 (831-7104)
(d) Manulife will send a claim form with their reimbursement

ManuLife requires you to put your address on ALL claim forms. If you have a change of address, please highlight it with an asterisk to draw attention to your new address.

Name changes:
(a) for active teachers – inform Sue Lee, WSD Benefits Department (775-0231)
(b) for retired teachers – inform Teachers’ Retirement Allowance Fund (TRAF – 949-0048)

Change in status i.e. single to family and vice versa: (Note: once you are enrolled in FAMILY coverage all dependents are automatically added to your history with ManuLife and adjudicated accordingly.)
(a) for active teachers – inform Sue Lee c/o WSD Benefits Department
(b) for retired teachers – you may not change your status, except in the event of the death of a spouse.

Maternity/Parental Leave and the Dental Plan…

Please be advised that individuals who go on (or are currently on) Maternity/Parental Leave are now covered for the length of the leave 54 weeks.

DENTAL CLAIMS…

WTA members are reminded that dental claims are to be sent to the dental plan carrier – Great-West Life Assurance, NOT Manulife Financial. Manulife is the Extended Health Plan carrier ONLY.

The following electoral units were absent from the October 2011 WTA Council meeting: Champlain, Children of the Earth, Glenelm, J.B. Mitchell, Pinkham, Norquay, Montrose, Meadows West, Support Services and Strathcona.

Open Enrolment Opportunity

Manitoba Public School Employees Group Life Insurance Plan

November 1 to 30, 2011

Full information and application form are available on Employee Connect. Click on the “Benef” tab then on “Benefits/Deductions”.

The Trustees of the Manitoba Public School Employees Group Life Insurance Plan are pleased to provide you with an opportunity to increase your Group Life Insurance coverage without providing proof of good health.

  • You may elect additional coverage of one or two times annual earnings without proof of good health if you apply by November 30, 2011. If you elect more than the additional two times earnings, proof of good health will need to be approved for the excess. The overall plan maximum is now 7 times earnings.
  • You pay the full cost of the additional coverage. To figure out that cost, take your monthly pay times .12% for one time or .24% for two times.
    • For example, with a $5,000 monthly salary, the additional cost is $5,000 x .0012= $6.00 monthly for an additional one time earnings ($60,000 extra coverage) or $12.00 monthly for two times earnings ($120,000 extra coverage).
  • New coverage will start on January 1, 2012, or if you are not actively working, on your return to active work at the same percentage of full-time as before your leave.
  • At November 1, 2011 all employees on:
    • Disability Income Plan For Officers and Employees (other than Teachers) Of The Winnipeg School Division or
    • Manitoba Teachers’ Society Disability Benefits Plan or
    • An unpaid sick leave are not eligible for this opportunity.

If you do not want additional coverage, you do not need to do anything.

If you choose to elect additional coverage, please complete the application form, sign it (in ink) and return it to Pension & Benefit Dept. Admin Bldg #1. Please also keep a copy for your own records.

If using the Divisional courier, allow sufficient time for your form to reach the Pension & Benefits Dept. The completed form must be received by Pension & Benefits Dept. by November 30, 2011 at the latest. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE.

Full information and application form are available on Employee Connect. Click on the “Benef” tab then on “Benefits/Deductions”.

Manitoba Public School Employees Group Life Insurance Plan (M.P.S.E.G.L.I.P.)

Open Enrolment for Employees Wanting Additional Group Life Insurance Coverage

  • As an eligible member of MPSEGLIP, you have the option of electing additional Group Life Insurance coverage of either 100% or 200% of your annual earnings, over and above your current Group Life Insurance coverage. The overall plan maximum is now 700% of your annual earnings.
  • Employees on disability leave whose paid sick leave entitlement has expired by November 1, 2011 are not eligible for the additional coverage.
  • If this additional coverage is elected during the period November 1, 2011 to November 30, 2011, proof of good health will not be required. Additional coverage amounts elected outside this time period will be subject to proof of good health.
  • New coverage elected during November is effective January 1, 2012; or, if you are not actively working, new coverage will be effective when you return to work at the same percentage of full-time you were working before your leave.
  • You pay the full cost of this additional Group Life Insurance coverage.

Download the form here.