Ontario Winter School – course descriptions

September 19, 2016

Arbitration advocacy

This course is intended for union staff and local union activists who have handled grievances up to the point of Arbitration and now wish to begin to present lower level grievances at Arbitration. The course is ‘hands-on’, topics covered, and include preparing witnesses, leading evidence, cross-examination and final argument with an emphasis on role-play exercises. This course will provide participants with the skills and understanding of the process such that they will be ready to begin presenting cases at Arbitration.

Facing management effectively 

This course will examine the roles & rights of each group and the different types of union/management relationships & styles. We will look at the power, bias and privilege dynamics between union and management and how we can communicate effectively. We will focus on problem solving – understanding issues, developing strategies, finding and presenting facts and argument, finding areas of agreement, building solutions, implementing and maintaining solutions. Participants can expect lots of participation, interaction and role-plays along with practical skills and tools for communication, analysis, strategy and critical thinking.

Instructor training: level 1

This course introduces participants to adult and popular education practices and facilitation techniques that focus on learning, action and inclusive movement building. Participants learn skills and knowledge required to facilitate short courses or workshops and adapt materials for a diversity of learning needs and styles.  

Labour Community advocate training program: level 1 

This foundational course is offered to new Labour Community Advocates and other union members who are responsible for providing community referrals in the workplace. In Level 1 participants will learn about the social issues faced by working people and the resources available in their community. Participants are trained in communication skills, interviewing and referral techniques. In addition to providing a link between the workplace and community social services and agencies, participants will explore the ways in which unions and other labour bodies can help build resilient and respectful communities.

Member engagement – member action 

This course is designed for experienced shop stewards, local union leaders and union staff who want to transform how members engage with their union and how their union engages with members.

This course will train participants on the three-step approach to effective member engagement (Go, Listen, Build) and connect it to a three-step approach for building an active membership (one-on-one communication, taking action on worksite issues, and designing a strategy and plan to win).

This training is particularly helpful for unions with upcoming contract negotiations, a backlog of unresolved grievances, a particularly disengaged membership, or a diverse membership that is not reflected in local leadership.

Each participant will leave the training with a worksite specific plan for creating an engaged and active membership as well as a series of measurable goals to evaluate outcomes.

ODRT level 1 & level 2

Level 1 – Rights & Obligations

This introductory course begins by exploring the history of the health & safety and compensation systems in Ontario and the development of compensation legislation and the general principles of both systems. Participants will learn the basics of a disability prevention framework and how the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) determines whether an injury is compensable and learn about some workplace injuries and occupational illnesses. The course covers how to properly file a claim, and includes the timelines that are applicable.

Worker and employer obligations are covered as well as roles and responsibilities with respect to work reintegration. The WSIB work reintegration policies are discussed and the new direction that the Board is taking with respect to returning workers to their pre-injury job with the injury employer. Disability Prevention best practices and shared responsibilities are also discussed and ways in which unions should participate in work reintegration are explored. Leading research shows that a collaborative and cooperative approach to disability prevention and work reintegration leads to better outcomes for both workers and employers. Protections under other pertinent legislation are also discussed should a work reintegration plan does not provide sufficient protection to a worker in a work reintegration plan.

Finally, participants discuss how to effectively implement the new skills that have been acquired through this course and what additional resources are available. (12 hours).

Level 2 – Benefits & Services

Participants will learn the significance of legislation (OHSA & WSIA), regulations and policy, including changes to the legislation and the effects these changes have had on benefits. Benefits available under the WSIA, in the three different eras, are discussed. These include: Temporary Partial (PT), Temporary Total (TT) disability, Future Economic Loss (FEL), Non-economic Loss (NEL) and Loss of Earnings (LOE). LOE calculation, maximum and minimum levels as well as exclusion periods and offsets, are discussed. Participants will explore detailed examples of benefit calculations and parameters affecting the final numbers.

The structure of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and appeal system are described in relation to the New Service Delivery Module and the roles of each WSIB position. The adjudication process is described and participants follow the flow of a claim through the process. Problem resolution and the process for an appeal are presented.

Participants will learn about funding, including which employers are covered, optional insurance, how the health and safety and compensation system is funded, how incentive programs and experience rating work and when claim costs can be transferred. They will also learn how to make a case plan for a successful outcome and different types of evidence to use. Communicating effectively, both verbally and in writing, with the many professionals involved and workers and witnesses are discussed. The organization of a Board file is presented and participants explore how to effectively review a file, make a case plan to proceed to move a claim forward and use this knowledge to review a case file. (12 hours).

Young workers in action

This introductory-level course is designed to give young union activists the skills they need to be effective in their workplace. The course will cover basics such as how to read your contract, grievance handling, and the basic collective bargaining process, as well as leadership skills such as public speaking, member engagement, and political action. Participants are requested to bring a copy of their collective agreement. This course is for union members age 30 and under. (Young Workers Level 1).