“Being proactive is key”
The 3rd edition of the Network of OHS Union Representatives was held on October 11 and 12, 2017. Over 120 union reps discussed current issues related to occupational health and safety in the health network and the importance of effectively implementing a prevention strategy in all health institutions. They also attended conferences, tested their knowledge and learned more about the OHS Committee’s topic for the 2017 OHS Week.
“2017 is a special year because the Federation has been celebrating OHS Week for 30 years. As early as 1987, the Federation was aware of how important OHS is to women’s health and that government policies in this sector are clearly inadequate. It then founded its first Occupational Health and Safety Committee,” said Linda Lapointe, Political Officer for the Occupational Health and Safety Sector, in her opening message.
To underline the 30th anniversary, FIQ President Régine Laurent also wanted to attend the Network and, with her usual conviction, talked to the union reps about how important the culture of prevention is in OHS. “The culture of prevention is an ongoing battle. You have an action plan to start with today,” she said, referring to the many tools the participants received over the two days.
Will there be a permanent Network of OHS Union Representatives?
Occupational health and safety is a major issue for healthcare professionals, but up until 2015, local OHS officers did not have a place where they could discuss their experiences—a place where they could acquire knowledge and tools and come together to find solutions to problems encountered in the field.
In 2014, the delegates adopted a recommendation at the Convention of the Federation in order to start a pilot project, which led to holding two editions of the Network of OHS Union Representatives in fall of 2015 and 2016.
As the 2017 Convention was held at the end of the year, the delegates at the Federal Council held in March 2017 also agreed to hold a 3rd edition of the Network of OHS Union Representatives during the year.
The FIQ will then conduct an evaluation to be shared with the delegates at the 2017 Convention, the goal being to eventually make the Network of OHS Union Representatives permanent and establish regular meeting times and a method of operating.