The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO) has announced that as of 12:01 a.m. on July 21, safety inspectors who are in charge of inspecting elevators, amusement park rides, boilers and pressure devices, nuclear power plants, and facilities that store and handle fuels will be in a legal strike position.
On July 4, the Ministry of Labour released the "no board" report, starting the 17-day countdown to a legally sanctioned strike or lockout. OPSEU/SEFPO is the union that represents the 170 inspectors at the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA).
OPSEU/SEFPO Local 546 members first began contract negotiations in November 2021 after unionizing earlier that year. The members voted 89% in favour of a strike mandate in May 2022 due to their employer's lack of cooperation during negotiation meetings. Mediation sessions have been set between the OPSEU/SEFPO Local 546 bargaining team and the TSSA in advance of the July 21 strike deadline.
The safety inspectors work in every corner of Ontario, ensuring compliance with safety legislation.
OPSEU/SEFPO Local 546 Bargaining Chair Cory Knipe stated,
“We're bargaining for a stronger voice at TSSA because we are qualified experts on the frontlines who know what's needed to keep Ontarians safe. We're determined to negotiate fairly and achieve a strong contract – one that reflects our value and respects our expertise. It's our hope that TSSA will start doing the same so that we can avoid a strike and focus on keeping Ontario safe.”
Message from the Canadian Elevator Association of Canada (CECA)
TSSA's Elevating Devices Director Roger Neate let CECA know that they are hopeful that the negotiations will not result in a strike.
Neate stated that if a strike does happen, TSSA has contingency plans to ensure that a reduced number of initial inspections, modernization inspections and other critical field functions can continue. The inspections will be prioritized for items like critical infrastructure, safety locations, high priority sites, etc. (for example a modernization of a high building with a single elevator would be prioritized over the modernization inspection of one car in a triplex).