Normally you would expect that when your employer takes the time to prepare documents that spell out specific processes and provide information about how a policy that they have instituted will work, it will be truthful and accurate. When your employer is the government of Ontario, then you hope that they take extra time and put extra effort into getting things right.
With the information and documentation regarding ASMP, you hope that they provide a full and honest account and that it meets their values in that what you read is fair and it seems to be fair.
What it actually looks like to me, is that they have taken an authoritarian tone and pushed a point of view while using irrelevant and misleading information that is often contrary to even other information that they have shared, in the hopes that the masses will accept what they say as fact and not question the legitimacy of the process or the statements made.
I have reviewed a lot of what the employer has shared and from that I have put together a file in a PowerPoint format. For many of the slides there are some expansive notes to support the stand I take on many of the points I share about ASMP documentation. The presentation file is posted as well.
I am here to pull back the curtain to show you that the documentation is biased, flawed and in a few instances, if you accept it at face value, you will be deprived of your rights under the Human Rights Code and Privacy legislation.
With any documentation that you would read about something that will impact you, you want the meat and potatoes to see what it all boils down to and not a lot of extra info that does nothing to enhance your understanding. If extra information is added, then you want it to be relevant and accurate. The history that the employer shares in the Employee Guide to the ASMP, it is neither relevant or accurate, nor does it enhance your understanding. See slides 2-4.
When you look for evidence of bias in anything, you can look at the language used when statements are made. Case in point, in the guide on page 3 the employer states that the meeting that is triggered by your absenteeism exceeding a threshold is a “proactive step” meant to help you. Really? That shows a cause and effect relationship which is indicative of a “reaction” to something. If they truly wanted to be “proactive”, they would meet with you several absences before you exceed the threshold for a level. Even if it is to make sure you understand ASMP, since OPS-wide training has never happened (“HR – 6.28. Provides advice about the interpretation and application of this policy and advice on OPS-wide training with respect to this policy.”).
For anyone who has any basic knowledge of ASMP, they know that if you have absences you want to have them precluded if at all possible. That would be the number one overall preference without a doubt. That should be the first consideration when discussing absences – can they be precluded?
In the ASMP document for employees, preclusion finally gets mentioned on page 4 in the last paragraph, almost as an after-thought. However, Bundling is prominently displayed later in its own section with its own larger type/bold heading. Why is that? The reason is simple, when your absences are precluded you will not be under the employer’s control as you pass through levels – because those absences are not counted for advancement whereas absences that are bundled will still be counted to the point where you will advance one level for a bundle that exceeds a threshold! So why would they highlight or promote preclusion?
From the ASMP Guide on page 14 it states, “Provide health information in accordance with this guide, policies, applicable collective agreements or as directed by the employer.”. Under current privacy legislation you are not obligated to provide any more information than is absolutely necessary for the employer to be able to meet their legislated obligations to accommodate employees. What this piece does not share is “as consistent with all privacy legislation”. As it is written I see it as an authoritarian directive that it is presumed everyone will blindly follow. Always ensure that you have a clear and acceptable explanation of why what they are asking for is required and that you understand clearly whatever it is you are asked to sign in relation to YOUR medical information.
So you have seen a few concerns I have raised in this presentation and you are invited to peruse the document which is by no means a finished work. I will be adding to it as I work through additional information on this program. If what you read causes you concern regarding how you are being treated in regard to ASMP or Medical Accommodation, reach out to a steward and ask for their help. Due to the complexity of this program, no one should take any action in regard to it on their own. There is too much that is not clearly understood, not consistently applied or is mishandled to the detriment of the employee – no matter if they are OPSEU, AMAPCEO, Management or other OPS members subject to this policy.
Feel free to send in questions or comments on the website for others to see what you are concerned about and we will do our best to post answers as quickly as possible (no personal or medical information please). Or send an email to the local email address posted on this site.
President, OPSEU Local 468