468 News – 1055 Princess St. Fire Impact

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For those who have not yet heard, Friday night there was a fire on the first floor of the 1055 Princess Street Government Office Building. The alarm was sounded just after 7pm and I am happy to say that by all reports, the evacuation of the building went without a hitch thanks to the calm response of the MGCS staff who were the only occupants of the building at the time. It seems that their training and understanding of the evacuation plan have paid off.

1055 Princess is home to a couple of OPSEU locals and about 5 ministries. Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS – 1st floor), Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC – 2nd and 3rd floors) and the already mentioned staff of Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS – 4th floor) are all ministries within Local 468 at 1055 Princess.

From all reports so far, there was heavy damage throughout the building and the smoke damage was extensive on the fourth floor. Management for all Ministries have initiated their COOP plans to help keep their business processes moving along and have taken steps to relocate to other office locations in Kingston with the MTO building on John Counter, in the Beechgrove complex and MCB at 49 Place d’Armes all taking in staff from the different groups. I thank those who have or will welcome the displaced employees and I hope that at this tough time of year the spirit of the holidays is something that can be maintained.

I was in contact with the management of MGCS from early Friday night right through the weekend, including being able to participate on a teleconference with both Senior Management and the local managers impacted by this unfortunate event. They have provided me with open and honest answers and assessments, details of their plans on how they are adapting and handling the situation as well as inviting me to participate in a “Welcome to JCB” meeting for some of the staff at 8am today.

Their commitment to the well-being of their employees as well as the professionalism and extent to which they are willing to commit to support them is refreshing and awesome to witness first hand. Local management and some support staff spent most of their waking hours on the weekend organizing the seating, equipment, communications for staff, meeting materials (including a little something extra) and contacting staff to organize meeting times so that they would all benefit from the same information in regard to their new temporary “home” for what will no doubt be at least 5 to 6 weeks as the inspections and review of the state of fitness for occupancy at 1055 is evaluated.

Even though I was not able to communicate with the management of MOHLTC and TBS over the weekend, emails and conversations today show that they too were as busy and committed to the needs of their staff in the preparations for temporary accommodations as the MGCS management were. All management involved are to be commended for the work they have done and steps they have taken. I thank them and truly appreciate their extensive and dedicated efforts. In each case I have assurances that first and foremost ahead of any return to 1055 Princess, each ministry’s Health and Safety Committee will be participating in the assessment and review of testing results as they are completed. This is reassuring and greatly appreciated as well.

I have offered any support that our Local Executive Committee can provide and I am sure that all of our members who have some of the 1055 employees in there are will do their best to support them and to help them have a comfortable adjustment period and beyond.
I will share any other news that comes my way that is important for you to know in relation to this situation.

Frank Wendling
President, Local 468

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