8Steps to. Keeping Up With CHANGING TIMES. HALIFAX At A Glance: International Perspectives: Vocational Rehabilitation in Japan

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1 SUMMER 2014 The Official Publication of VRA Canada HALIFAX At A Glance: 2014 Conference in Review 8Steps to Protect Yourself International Perspectives: Vocational Rehabilitation in Japan Keeping Up With CHANGING TIMES

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3 Official Publication of the Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada FEATURES CONTRIBUTORS On the Flip Side: Flipping the formula for progress in rehabilitation Mindful Practice: A new role in vocational rehabilitation Eight Steps: Avoiding and Minimize Professional Liability Claims Halifax at a Glance: The 2014 national conference in review Nature Calls in Waskesiu: The birth of a conference Le contexte québécois / The Quebec Context: Les lois du travail / Labour Laws Silver Linings: Why a shattered limb doesn t equal a shattered life Katherine Abraham, Hons. BA Jacinta Aungier, BAA, CCRC, CVP, OTDipl Shawn Bonnough, BComm Suzanne Chomycz, PhDc Francois Paradis, MA, CVE Jac Quinlan, BA, RRP, CCRC, CVP Andrew Spencer, Hons. BA INSIDE EVERY ISSUE SUMMER 2014 A lot of people take it easy over the summer months but here at VRA Canada, we never slow down! There are so many opportunities to engage and take part in the association over the summer. The annual national conference and AGM took place in June and was a resounding success. The beautiful city of Halifax, Nova Scotia played host to 175 VRA members, partners, and stakeholders for three days that included educational, networking, and professional development opportunities. Along with all the great seminars and guest speakers, the members welcomed new VRA Canada president Addie Greco-Sanchez into service, and said a heartfelt farewell and thank you to the now past-president, Lesley McIntyre, for her years of service and dedication to the association. With summer now coming quickly to a close, we look forward to everything that the rest of 2014 has to offer. Sincerely, Katherine Abraham Editor, Rehab Matters Magazine LETTER FROM THE EDITOR Society News: The latest VRA developments from across Canada A Message from the National President: Addie Greco-Sanchez LMS PROLINK Protector Your questions answered CAVEWAS Corner: A Japanese perspective on vocational rehabilitation Membership Updates: The latest VRA members and achievements 20/20/2: Answer 20 questions for 20 dollars and earn 2 CEU credits PUBLISHED BY VRA Canada Account Manager: Pam Lyons 4 Cataraqui Street Suite 310 Kingston, ON, K7K 1Z7 Tel: Toll-free: Fax: Web: Editor: Katherine Abraham Design: Candace Morgan MCI Strategies Advertising Sales Director: Audra Leslie Tel: Ferrand Dr. Suite 800 Toronto, ON M3C 3E5 Tel: Fax: Web: Rehab Matters is published four times a year by VRA Canada. The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the policies of the association. PUBLICATION NUMBER: RETURN UNDELIVERABLE MAIL TO: VRA Canada 4 Cataraqui Street Suite 310 Kingston, ON, K7K 1Z7 SUMMER

4 Society News: Updates from across the country Alberta VRA Alberta Society held an Education Day on May 9, 2014 at the Providence Renewal Centre in Edmonton, AB. Nineteen individuals registered for the event, with 22 individuals attending. CEUs were pre-approved for CVRP and VRA Canada. Presentations included: Presenter: Lorna G. Bramley, MRC, CCC, MCVP, RRP, RVP, CCDP Topic: Work Wellness: A practical approach with lasting effects Presenter: Kent Ziegler, Chief Administrative Officer for the Ethics Commissioner of Alberta Topic: Emerging Issues in Privacy Law in Dealing with Client Information, Hidden IT Security Threats in a Social Media World, and Thought Models and Paradigms in Ethics Decision Making Presenter: Dean Cross, BScPT Topic: Central Mechanisms of Chronic Pain and its Role in Vocational Rehabilitation VRA Alberta Society is proud of the conference we put on and is looking forward to the next one. For more information on Alberta Education Days, please visit vracanada.com/alberta. Ontario The Ontario Board continues to build relationships with members and stakeholders. Our board of directors (BOD) has established efforts to be proactive in our accountability, ownership, and management of the business and affairs of VRA Ontario and we continue in this direction with respect to our fiduciary responsibilities. 2 Yvonne Neumann was approved as a VRA Ontario BOD candidate effective July 1, VRA Ontario members will receive information about Yvonne in our fall conference promotions. At the upcoming AGM on November 7, 2014, VRA Ontario members will vote regarding Yvonne s official placement on the VRA Ontario board. Over the summer, we will be working with a designer to create a new interactive Ontario website that will offer upfront access for board members and external businesses to purchase advertising space (with reduced rates for board members). Internal member options will include promotions from the president/bod, as well as personal member profile boxes to allow users to upload and store conference documents by date, including conference agenda/descriptions, signed authorization of attendance forms, and receipt of conference payments. The personal profile area will allow members to track the documents that are forwarded for review/renewal of credentials. Users will be able to hide profiles if desired, otherwise the program will allow searchers to find active Ontario members by name/ . Fall Conference: Our fall conference will be held on November 7, 2014 at the Famous People Players theatre in downtown Toronto. In our efforts to offer relevant presentations from enthusiastic and passionate speakers, we are working on topics that include medical marijuana, compassion fatigue, a motivational speaker ( From Skid Row to CEO ), and two hours of ethics programming. Additionally, our national president, Addie Greco-Sanchez, will be in attendance and will extend a welcome to all attendees. We are working on sponsors and welcome any suggestions that you may have. Breakfast and lunch will be served. Our conference will conclude with a live performance by the renowned and joyful Famous People Players! This conference will also be promoted to external case management service providers, so be prepared to register early once our promotions open at the beginning of September. In addition to a full day of CEUs, there will be opportunities to win some great prizes including a draw from those who registered early for a pre-paid 2015 VRA Ontario membership. Mark your calendars for the fall conference of November 7, 2014! Don t miss this great educational and networking opportunity. Quebec The VRA Quebec Society is growing steadily. Many documents have been translated in French with many more are in the process. It is our mission to ensure that both official languages are well represented in the province of Quebec and for French colleagues across the country to support the growing membership. The formation of a Board of Directors (BOD) for the Quebec Society is underway and we are looking for a few more members to join. Currently, we are three members, Leeann Tremblay, Jacinta Aungier, and Sylvie Roseberry. The purpose of the BOD is to be the voice of the members, to provide educational opportunities, and to support the development of our society in the months and years to come. With this objective in mind, a BOD is comprised of a number of individuals with skillsets that will complement its operation. So bring your talents! An exciting opportunity awaits each one of you in establishing and solidifying our profession in Quebec. Please forward your interest to: To see news from your society in this section, please submit your updates to your society s representative!

5 SUMMER 2014 A Message from the National President Addie Greco-Sanchez, President Welcome to Your Rehab Matters Magazine The 2014 Conference in Halifax was a great success from start to finish. The calibre of speakers was outstanding; the topics were relevant and enlightening. However, the warmth and welcoming nature of the local Maritime people and Atlantic Society members was definitely the secret sauce to the success for this conference. Our AGM was a milestone for VRA Canada. The membership agreed upon a new set of bylaws and articles of continuance, which are now on their way for government sanction. This was no small task. It took one year and hours of time by VRA Canada, our support team, and the lawyers, to see this come to fruition. Once the bylaws receive approval from the government to be passed into law, a finalized set will be posted online in the member section of our website. I encourage everyone to plan to attend next year s National Conference and AGM in Ottawa in June This occasion will mark our 45th anniversary; that in itself is a cause for celebration. Stay tuned to our website and other official publications for further details as planning moves forward. As I indicated in my introductory Rehab Matters message (spring issue, 2014), I believe communication is vital to the positive growth of any organization. I encourage members to contact me with their ideas and concerns. I welcome all comments and solutions at I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their kind words and best wishes as I assumed my new role as president of VRA Canada. I would also like to thank Lesley McIntyre for her hard work over these past two years and for her excellent stewardship of the association. I look forward to making a difference in the association and getting to know all of you along the way. Sincerely, Addie Greco-Sanchez President, VRA Canada Your Opinion Counts Going forward, each issue of Rehab Matters will pose a question to all our members and stakeholders. Your input is vital to the strategic initiative and direction of this association. At our 2013 AGM, the VRA Board of Directors was challenged about the Scope of Practice; in this discussion we agreed to seek more input from our members. The Question: How might VRA improve service to you as a member/stakeholder? (100 words or less) Your opinion is important to us; please submit your responses to: VRA CANADA Vocational Rehabilitation Association of Canada 2014/2015 Board of Directors Addie Greco-Sanchez President Lesley McIntyre Past President Audrey Robertson Director, British Columbia Society Shelley Longstaff Director, Alberta Society Ralph Schultz Representative, Saskatchewan Society Lisa Borchert Representative, Manitoba Society Wanda Yorke Director, Ontario Society Leeann Tremblay Director, Quebec Society Ann Maxwell Director, Atlantic Society Paul Holtby Representative, CAVEWAS Jac Quinlan CVRP Liaison to VRA Sharon Smith VRA Liason to CVRP National Office VRA Canada 4 Cataraqui Street, Suite 310 Kingston, ON, K7K 1Z7 Tel: Toll-free: Fax: Web: SUMMER

6 On the Flip Side: Flipping the formula for progress in rehabilitation By Dennis Radman, HBSc, RRP, CBIST In rehabilitation, the formula for progress often starts by targeting one or a small set of skills. Treatment is structured to move that skill in a graded manner where there is a gradual increase in difficulty and skill level. For example, a client can learn the basics of using a smartphone, then learn how to use the basics of a calendar app, and lastly progress to the point of using all the features of the calendar app. Rehabilitation is filled with such examples of helping clients successfully progress on a domain-by-domain or skill-by-skill basis. The challenge with a narrow focus on one or more specific skills is the limited transferability to other skills. Are there strategies that are far-reaching in their impact? Absolutely, and quite a few at that! There is a place for reconceptualising the rehabilitation process for a sustainable and broader impact. The formula for progress in rehabilitation starts with the premise that if a client works hard he ll progress further and further. The more the client progresses, the more his confidence grows, the happier he ll be and his well-being will follow suit. The research is showing us that this formula is backwards. By tying happiness and well-being to goal-posts that continually move, just as you approach them, we re paradoxically reinforcing an impossibility. We think we have to see persistent progress to feel good. We ve got it backwards; our brains work in the opposite order. If you can raise a person s level of positivity in the present, performance improves. From creativity to energy levels to productivity in the workplace, performance levels are substantially and consistently increased following this method. Under the umbrella of positive psychology, there is burgeoning research that shows us that we can flip the formula for progress on its head. If we first develop skills for well-being, happiness, and related skills (such as our attention), our performance and progress will increase across myriad domains. The vehicles for positivity are numerous. There is mounting evidence in the literature illustrating the wide-ranging benefits of strategies and interventions designed to develop positivity. These strategies can thus serve as the foundation for well-being, success, and progress in life and certainly in rehabilitation. Applying these strategies in rehabilitation can have immediate and longterm benefits. In the short-term, an increase in progress will be seen when working on a skill-by-skill basis. By their nature, positivity strategies are broad in their scope and thus carry sustainability for the long-term. Let s review three areas of research that support the use of such strategies. Based on his research and 12 years of experience at Harvard, Shawn Achor has shown that creating positive transformations can ripple into more successful outcomes throughout one s life. Here are three strategies that Achor s 2011 research has shown to lead to an increase in positivity. The first is, Writing down what you re grateful for. Writing down three new things you are grateful for each day into a journal will have lasting and significant effects on your optimism and success rates. Second, Focus on the positive. This strategy calls for writing for a couple of minutes per day describing one positive experience you ve had over the past 24 hours. This transforms the lens through which you view the world from a task-based thinker to a meaning-based thinker, increasing workplace happiness and productivity. The third and final step is Thank a colleague. This strategy works just like it reads: each day you write an thanking or praising a member of your team. Our focus of attention an overlooked and underrated asset is the Hidden Driver of Excellence, argues Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and researcher. He shares that the practice of attention turns out to be a powerful tool to create positive change. The ability to stay focused on the task at hand and ignore distractions ranks among the most basic and most important skills in your cognitive toolbox. The more focused you are, the more successful you can be at whatever you do. Mindfulness is one of a number of strategies that serves to improve your focus. Mindfulness can be described as an active attention to notice that your mind has drifted, and a mental effort to end that reverie and revert back to the original course you were on. This cognitive exercise, if done with regularity and persistence, will make it easier to keep your focus where you need it to be. Martin Seligman, the so-called father of positive psychology, is a world-renowned researcher. The goal of the positive psychology movement is to make people s lives more fulfilling, rather than simply treating mental illness. He, along with his colleagues, developed the Character Strengths and Virtues Handbook (CSV). The CSV identifies By tying happiness and well-being to goal-posts that continually move, we re paradoxically reinforcing an impossibility 4

7 Rehabilitation often needs to operate in narrow domains. Specific deficits need addressing and likewise specific skills need support for development. By flipping the formula around, we can adapt our rehabilitation models to incorporate the positivity vehicles of well-being and success at the outset. Using positivity strategies leads to increased productivity and performance across the board. Framing rehabilitation in this manner serves to make progress in rehabilitation successful and sustainable. REHAB MATTERS APPROVED E DIT O RIA L C O M M IT T E E We think we have to see persistent progress to feel good. We ve got it backwards. six classes of virtues (ex. courage and temperance), which are further made up of 24 character strengths (ex. persistence and gratitude). Seligman s CSV research has led to the development of interventions and strategies that improve character strengths. The results are impressive. For example, one study, as described in his 2004 handbook, found that employees who used four or more of their signature strengths had more positive work experiences and work-as-acalling than those who expressed fewer than four. Another study concluded that, across occupations, curiosity, zest, hope, gratitude, and spirituality are the Big Five strengths associated with work satisfaction. To view references for this article, visit our website Dennis Radman, HBSc, is a Registered Rehabilitation Professional (RRP) and a Certified Brain Injury Specialist and Trainer (CBIST) with 18 years experience in cognitive, behavioural, and psychosocial rehabilitation. As a manager at Brainworks, he is a part of an extraordinary team devoted to developing clinical tools to provide clinically excellent services. LMS PROLINK Protector To have your insurance questions answered by the pros, submit them to What is Commercial General Liability insurance? Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance will respond if your business is sued alleging that it is responsible for causing bodily injury, property damage or personal injury (i.e. libel and slander) to a third party. The most common example of a CGL claim is a third party slipping and falling and suing for lost income and pain & suffering due to injury. In this situation, your Commercial General Liability Insurance through your VRA Canada member group plan will arrange for legal counsel to respond to the lawsuit. If you are indeed found to be negligent with regards to ensuring a safe environment for third parties on your premises, the policy will pay for court awarded damages or a settlement. What is Professional Liability insurance? How is it different from Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance? Professional Liability insurance and Errors & Omissions (E&O) liability insurance are synonymous terms used to describe the exact same type of coverage. This type of insurance protection via your VRA Canada member plan will respond if you are sued alleging (frivolously or with merit) that your business provided a negligent service specific to a vocational rehabilitation professional. The policy will pay for both legal defence costs (e.g. lawyer fees, expert testimonial feels, court costs, etc.) and any damages or settlements awarded to a suing party. Note well: if you obtain Professional Liability insurance from another source independent of your VRA Canada membership, be certain that there are no policy exclusions that may be applicable to your vocational rehabilitation services. I have Professional Liability insurance and one of my clients has indicated that they are very unhappy with my services and are threatening to sue. What should I do? If you have any reasonable inclination to believe that you could be sued (e.g. an unhappy client has threatened litigation or you are aware of a serious mistake that you have made that will possibly result in litigation), contact your insurance representative right away. Your insurance company will have an expert contact you shortly thereafter to discuss the appropriate steps to take from there (side note: if you are participating in the VRA Canada member plan, your future insurance rates will not be effected unless you are successfully sued and found to be negligent so always err on the side of caution and make a report if unsure). It is a condition of most Professional Liability insurance policies that you contact the insurance company in as timely a manner as possible so that they are best positioned to defend you. For more information on LMS Prolink and VRA Canada s insurance program, visit SUMMER

8 Mindfulness Practice: A new role in vocational rehabilitation By Suzanne Chomycz, PhDc Vocational rehabilitation can be considered a dynamic process, with research in the field consistently being developed. Subsequently, integration of research from various disciplines has led to the continual modification and improvement of best practices for client care. Recently, the discipline of clinical psychology has been focusing its attention on the practice of mindfulness. Although mindfulness originated from Eastern meditation traditions, it has been growing in popularity and is a hot topic in psychology research. It can be described as a therapeutic process of being attentive to the current moment. Individuals practicing mindfulness focus on moment-tomoment experiences (including one s thoughts and feelings) while at the same time being accepting and non-judgmental about them. Mindfulness meditation is different from concentration meditation, where one focuses and holds their attention on only one object or thought for a prescribed period of time. Mindfulness meditation allows the mind to wander, and then gently and non-judgmentally guides it back to the current moment. There is no goal of slowing down the breath or feeling more relaxed. As with the development of any new skill, continuous practice is encouraged. Mindfulness has been incorporated into a wide range of intervention approaches, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and dialectical behaviour therapy. One reason behind its popularity is that it is free of religious and cultural values. It is also very accessible and can be adapted to suit personal preferences and busy schedules. For instance, a short mindfulness exercise can be done in the car while waiting at a red light. Likewise, there are different exercises conducted individually or as a group, sitting or standing, and walking or motionless. There has been a surge of research supporting the benefits of mindfulness practice for a wide variety of physical and mental health conditions. For instance, it has been successfully implemented to treat major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. More broadly, mindfulness has been shown to decrease stress and increase overall well-being in the general population. Mindfulness meditation allows the mind to wander, and then gently and nonjudgmentally guides it back to the current moment An informal review of the current vocational rehabilitation research resulted in an extreme lack of literature available pertaining to the implementation of mindfulness in this area. This is surprising, given the strong evidence of its benefits for a variety of conditions that are typically reported in clients involved in vocational rehabilitation, such as chronic pain. Therefore, it can be argued that mindfulness practice would be beneficial to incorporate into the research and practice fields of vocational rehabilitation. Not only can it be useful for vocational rehabilitation professionals themselves to prevent burnout, it should also be considered for clients at any stage of the rehabilitation process, even those who do not have reported psychological concerns. What would the results of mindfulness practice look like? Clients may have reduced stress, increased job initiation or job retention, reduced interpersonal conflict, improved concentration and problem solving, and greater vocational success. One of the few relevant studies available in the literature was conducted in Norway and investigated the effectiveness of a counselling rehabilitation program that involved mindfulness practice in a group of employees on sick leave. The study concluded that the program was beneficial in assisting the employees in the process of returning to work by increasing their self-awareness, strengthening their communication skills, and providing them with a new positive perspective on taking on challenges in the workplace. This provides preliminary evidence of the potential benefits of mindfulness in this area. Ultimately, continued research, including rigorous empirical testing and replication of studies, is the only way for a true foundation for mindfulness practice in vocational rehabilitation to be built. In the meantime, spread the word: mindfulness practice is here to stay! REHAB MATTERS APPROVED E DIT O RIA L C O M M IT T E E To view references for this article, visit our website Suzanne Chomycz is a recent member of VRA and works as a psychometrist in the vocational rehabilitation field. She is in her third year of the PhD program in Clinical Psychology at Lakehead University. She is also interested in program evaluation and cultural issues relevant to vocational assessments and intervention. 6

9 Eight Steps: Avoiding and minimizing professional liability claims By Andrew Spencer, Hons. BA, LMS Account Executive As a professional compensated for your expertise, the public holds you to a very high duty of care but to err is human and mistakes are made by everyone, no matter how talented and experienced they are. Our society has become increasingly litigious and allegations of professional negligence against all types of professionals are on the rise. A growing number of lawyers in Canada receive compensation on a contingency fee basis, resulting in many frivolous lawsuits, as there are no upfront costs for plaintiffs to hire lawyers on a whim. For example, a vocational rehabilitation professional was hired by an individual to help her transition back into the workforce after a serious automobile accident that left her with post-concussion issues and post-traumatic stress disorder. The individual s recovery appeared to be very rapid as she exhibited terrific progress throughout her rehabilitation sessions and meetings with her return-towork (RTW) specialist. Two weeks after the client had resumed her employment at the recommendation of her RTW specialist, she experienced a meltdown at the office. The client subsequently sued her RTW specialist alleging that she negligently recommended an earlier-than-appropriate return-to-work plan resulting in significant humiliation and lost future income (on the basis that she would no longer be eligible for an expected promotion following the incident). The client sued for $1,500,000 in future lost income. Result? The courts awarded $300,000 in damages to the suing client, partially in agreement with the plaintiff s allegation of negligence and estimates of lost future income. Additionally, the vocational rehabilitation professional incurred $75,000 in legal defense costs, including lawyer fees and expert testimonial witness fees. While the majority of vocational rehabilitation professionals will never be sued for negligence, year after year it is becoming more of a possibility as our society trends in this direction. What can you do to decrease your potential for being sued? What can you do to best position yourself with a What can you do to decrease your potential for being sued? strong defense if you are sued either frivolously or with merit? Here are eight suggestions: 1. STAY WITHIN YOUR REALM OF EXPERTISE. One of the best ways to limit your professional liability risk is to limit your services to those for which you are exceptionally well-qualified. Don t be tempted to take on assignments or casework that is out of your league even as a favor to a friend or to satisfy a client for whom you provide other services. Action Step: List the types of services you feel are your specialty. If you are an employer, make sure that your staff is clear about what s acceptable business. And, make sure those are the only services that are outlined in any promotional material about your company. 2. CLEARLY OUTLINE EXPECTATIONS BEFORE WORK BEGINS. Consider providing your clients with a written letter of engagement or some sort of documentation outlining what services you will, and will not, be providing. Review and sign this document with your client to ensure that you share the same understanding of the work to be performed. Action Step: Your best course of action is to involve a contract lawyer who is familiar with and experienced in handling legal work in your industry, and consider whether any disclaimers, limitations of damages, or other terms are appropriate. There are many strong contract templates available for free on the internet that are certainly a better option than operating in absence of any sort of a contract. However, it is strongly recommended that you contact a lawyer as your best course of action. 3. KEEP DETAILED CLIENT FILES. Make sure that you and everyone on your staff documents every step in the process for any particular service. Encourage everyone who is involved to review documentation on any previous actions before they initiate any new ones. Action Step: Review your documentation procedures. See if there are any holes in your process and take steps to address them. Research whether any provincial or federal laws require that documents for your type of expertise be kept for a specific period of time. 4. REVIEW HOW TO REPORT A CLAIM BEFORE YOU NEED TO. Before you ever need to know, you ll want to know how to handle a professional liability insurance claim. For example, you should know whether your insurance policy requires you to use a certain lawyer or whether you re free to choose your own. Action Step: Review with your insurance professional the procedures for filing a professional liability claim. You ll also want to know when your policy requires you to report a claim or circumstances that could lead to a claim. Document these procedures and file them where you can find them easily. 5. IF YOU ARE EVER SUED, CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE PROFESSIONAL IMMEDIATELY. Remember, any communication between you and your insurance professional is privileged, meaning he or she is legally required to keep your confidences. They will connect you with a lawyer who is an expert in handling litigation in your field of expertise. Be sure not to hold back any details, even if you think they may be unimportant, embarrassing, or incriminating. The more you tell your lawyer, the more prepared he or she will be to defend you in a professional liability case. SUMMER

10 6. DON T SHARE YOUR STORY WITH EVERYONE. While communication with your lawyer and insurance professional is protected, your associates can be subpoenaed to testify in a trial. Action Step: Don t put your associates in an awkward position or harm your own defense. Be discreet about discussing your situation. 7. PROVE YOUR INNOCENCE WHEN POSSIBLE; REDUCE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY WHEN NECESSARY. Of course, if you are accused of being liable for the claim, you ll want to do all you can to prove your innocence. But keep in mind that how much you may have to pay in damages is often related to how responsible a judge or jury finds you. And a judgment against you may be more harmful to your business reputation than a settlement. Action Step: In many cases involving disputes between parties, the defendant faces some possibility, but not a certainty, of legal culpability. Consult with legal counsel and your insurance company about the pros and cons of any settlement opportunities. 8. DON T SKIMP ON YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE. This is one area where you definitely don t want to be caught short. Even a single lawsuit alleging professional misconduct can drain your assets and destroy your business so, make sure you have enough coverage. Action Step: Consult an insurance professional to determine how much professional liability insurance is appropriate for your particular situation. And make sure you purchase this coverage from a highly rated insurer that will be there if and when you need assistance. It s impossible to predict the future, so it is best to be as prepared as possible for any type of situation that may arise. Follow these eight steps and you will be well on your way to professionally protecting yourself and your business. REHAB MATTERS APPROVED E DIT O RIA L C O M M IT T E E Personal injury lawyers focused on client recovery Over 30 years experience dealing with complex accident and negligence claims including: Brain Injury Spinal Cord and Catastrophic Injuries Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Claims Get your life back. Joseph E. Murphy, Q.C. Derek M. Mah Gieuseppe Battista, Q.C. Irina Kordic J. Scott Stanley Kevin F. Gourlay Stephen E. Gibson Leyna Roespies Brian R. Brooke Jeffrey Nieuwenburg Alex Sayn-Wittgenstein Mike P. Murphy Angela Price-Stephens Dianna Robertson Free consultation. You don t pay until your claim is resolved Andrew Spencer, Hons. BA, is an account executive at LMS PROLINK Ltd, the official professional liability insurance provider of VRA Canada. 8

11 VRAPublication_Summer 2014_CredentialsMatterAd(Final).pdf 1 8/15/2014 9:35:33 AM CREDENTIALS MATTER Choosing a personal injury lawyer is one of the most important decisions an injured person will make. C M Y Help your client ask the right questions: CM MY CY CMY K Is the lawyer? selected by peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in Canada rated 5 out of 5 AV Preeminent - Martindale Hubbell selected by peers for inclusion in Lexpert, Canada s Legal Lexpert Directory a Director or Past President of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association a Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation

12 Halifax at a Glance: The 2014 national conference in review From June 3 to 6, the 2014 National Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia at the historic Lord Nelson Hotel and Suites. In attendance were 175 VRA members, partners, and stakeholders who arrived at the conference to experience, learn from, and connect with colleagues from across the country. Through the conference s series of presenters and seminars, vocational rehabilitation continued to prove to be a diverse landscape of fields-of-thought, action, and professionals. The first day of the conference traditionally kicks off with the CAVEWAS session and AGM, and this year was no different! The following day, on June 4, opening keynote speaker, Dr. William Stanish from Dalhousie University, spoke about the changing face of rehabiliation and was well-received by attendees. The following three days saw seminars by Dr. Kevin Kelloway (mental health), Dr. Linda Ferguson (concussion management), and Chris Correia (legal perspectives), among many others. The closing keynote speaker, author Lynne Everatt from StrategicFIT, presented to the members a unique perspective on the effects of exercise on the mind. The many educational and informative sessions of the conference were partnered with social events and networking opportunities. Attendees Bylaws discussion by Naireen Lowe at the outgoing board meeting Dr. Matthew Burnstein, Disability Management in Practice Michael MacDonald on employer points of view when reviewing services A VRA member watches during the keynote presentation by Dr. William Stanish Dr. Linda Ferguson presenting on concussion management Phil Boswell on the ethics of professionalism in vocational rehabilitation Keynote Dr. William Stanish CAVEWAS session on June 3rd 10 Audience engagement on the third day of the conference

13 were invited to dive into the local maritime culture with a lobster social the end of the final full day of events. As always, the conference finished with the AGM, at which Addie Greco-Sanchez took over the role of president of the association. At this meeting, the membership voted on and passed the revision of the association s bylaws and the articles of continuance, which meet the requirements of the new federal Not-For-Profit Corporations Act and allow VRA Canada to continue with the work we do. Our thanks go out to everyone involved in the planning of the 2014 conference, especially the VRA Canada Halifax Society and its Board of Directors. Congratulations on a great event; we can t wait to see what Ottawa 2015 has in store! Members watch during Monique Peats and Paul Radkowski s presentation on the hidden epidemic Chantal Basque Stayner s Wharf Pub & Grill played host to our final evening s social event VRA members contemplating ordering one lobster or two! New VRA President, Addie Greco-Sanchez Thanks to Our Sponsors SUMMER

14 Nature Calls in Waskesiu The birth of a conference By Jac Quinlan, HBSc, RRP, CBIST In January of 2000, I accepted a huge challenge: I left a successful private practice as a senior vocational rehabilitation consultant to come to the Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board as the manager of vocational services. My challenge was to develop a vocational program with processes and procedures more in line with current best practices; the goal being to provide the best vocational services to our injured workers. This was a move to a large, unionized, public organization. I soon discovered that change would take somewhat longer to achieve than in my previous position and resistance was almost a given. In an effort to expose people to new ideas, best practices, and ultimately to facilitate change, I decided to launch an annual conference. The conference was an opportunity for the frontline staff to take a break from the day-to-day grind, network with their colleagues, and hopefully learn something new and useful. It was purposely staged at the neutral, yet somewhat remote, site (albeit very beautiful) of Waskesiu, Saskatchewan, to further remove everyone for a few days from not only their work but also their familial responsibilities. I believed that everyone would embrace this notion with open arms and unanimous support, but what I perceived as a small change and as a perk was viewed by some with suspicion. (Attitudes have since grown to embrace the conference and its location!) There were other practical reasons for developing the annual conference economics and geography, for example. Our professional development budget was modest and, at the time, there were very few opportunities in Saskatchewan to attend relevant training sessions. The old practice had been to send one or two individuals to Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, or some other large centre in Canada, to a conference that was generally related to their work as vocational rehabilitation specialists (VRS). This method was costly, very inconsistent with respect to learning content, and with approximately 18 VRS, it only provided each of them with a learning opportunity every five to six years. Essentially, the old procedure was not perceived as an opportunity to learn new ways of delivering quality/improved services to our injured workers. Information from these events was rarely shared with colleagues and rarely incorporated into practice. It was for these reasons that developing a local conference in Saskatchewan became a necessity. Since our first conference in September of 2001, this annual event has grown and become widely accepted internally as well as by many vocational practitioners outside of VRA and across Canada. Well known experts in the field are eager to present at Waskesiu as we have developed a reputation as a good-quality educational experience, an excellent opportunity to network with VR professionals from across the country, an opportunity to engage in informal learning at social events (there is ongoing access to the presenters throughout the conference), and, hopefully, a chance to have a little bit of fun at the same time! Additionally, it is a reasonably cost-effective way to obtain a minimum of 15 CEUs towards maintaining professional designations. In 2012, we began partnering with the VRA Canada Saskatchewan Society to provide their members with the opportunity to attend the conference. This has proven to be an excellent arrangement as VRA members can now obtain a significant number of CEUs at a reasonable cost without having to travel outside the province. We hope to continue this partnership well into the future and continue to grow and improve the conference. Jac Quinlan, HBSc, RRP, CBIST. Before joining Saskatchewan s Worker s Compensation Board in 2000, Jac worked at Associate Rehab Inc, he co-founded Western Health Management, and he spent 15 years as a youth counsellor. What Attendees Are Saying; As far as professional development events/conferences go, Waskesiu stands head and shoulders above the rest. Jac has managed to create a welcoming, collegial environment; it s a breath of fresh air (literally and figuratively). Anyone I ve ever spoken with who has attended the event absolutely lights up and starts to rave about their experience. Phillip W. Boswell MA, BEd, ABVE/F, MCVP, RRP Vocational Evaluator P.W. Boswell & Associates I am very excited to be a part of the Waskesiu conference and to benefit from the stellar line up of presenters. Grant Van Eaton WCB Saskatchewan I have had the distinct privilege of being asked to speak at this conference on two occasions in its history. I have each time come away having learned something new, and have had the opportunity and pleasure to meet up with colleagues and to make some new friends. Warren Comeau, BA, RRP, CVP, CCRC, FCARP President / Senior Rehabilitation Specialist Rehabilitation Alternatives Limited / Vocational Alternatives Software The learning was good, the networking was good, and the people were wonderful what more could you ask for? I m looking forward to next year! Wendy Legere CEO, Northern Lights Canada 12

15 CAVEWAS Corner A Japanese Perspective on Vocational Rehabilitation By Francois Paradis, MA, CVE I have been actively involved in the field of vocational rehabilitation in Toronto for more than 12 years and have a keen interest in improving my skills and knowledge of vocational assessment. Being self-employed has made the process challenging, as there are fewer opportunities to learn from others when working in isolation. This is why I enjoy discussing the challenges of our profession with colleagues whenever I have opportunities. I am always interested in learning new approaches, tools, and methods that could make my work more effective. With that goal in mind, I was fortunate to have the opportunity and privilege of visiting a vocational rehabilitation centre in Japan to witness firsthand their approach to vocational rehabilitation. The purpose of this article is to relate what I have witnessed and to contrast it with my own experience of vocational assessment. My experience in Canada Since I began my career as a vocational evaluator, I have worked in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. I have been primarily involved with the Ontario Workers Compensation system, the Ontario Disability Support Program and the health/auto insurance sector and have witnessed a variety of vocational rehabilitation approaches. There are a few points in common that I have noticed: The above systems offer a decentralized approach to vocational rehabilitation. While intake, adjudication, and case management services are typically provided in house, various contractors are relied upon to provide vocational rehabilitation services to people with disabilities. Such services may include medical assessments, vocational assessments, employment counseling, job search training, job coaching, etc. This type of system allows providers of vocational rehabilitation services to access the varied expertise of contractors and their objectivity. In the vocational assessment process, evaluators are expected to follow an objective and rigorous methodology to evaluate the employability of people with disabilities. Objective medical evidence must be taken into account, along with the results of standardized tests, which are compared to data provided by occupational classifications in terms of aptitudes, physical demands, and interests. Vocational evaluators provide employment recommendations but are typically not involved in the implementation of the vocational rehabilitation services they recommend. Services such as academic skills upgrading, vocational skills training, job search training or job coaching are usually implemented by other providers and rehabilitation professionals at a later stage. These vocational rehabilitation programs are meant to be client driven and tailored to the needs, potential, and vocational interests of each individual. Vocational rehabilitation in Japan According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW), there are about 7.88 million people with disabilities in Japan, among an approximate population of 127 million. These are divided into the categories of physical, intellectual, and mental/psychiatric disabilities. The Japanese government s primary measure to promote competitive employment for people with disabilities is the so-called Quota-Levy and Grant system. Based on this system, private companies with 200 employees or more (100 employees or more as of April 2015) are required to have a minimum of two per cent of employees with disabilities. Public companies have a quota of 2.3 per cent. This is a stick and carrot system, whereas employers failing to meet their quota are required to pay a fine of 50,000 (approximately $535) per month per employee below quota. Part of the monies levied is utilized to provide financial support to employers meeting their quota requirements. These grants may be used by employers to partially cover their costs incurred to hire or continue to employ persons with CAVEWAS Corner Dear fellow colleagues and readers, here is our most recent contribution to CAVEWAS Corner. As many of you know, CAVEWAS (Canadian Assessment, Vocational Evaluation and Work Adjustment Society) is a member society of VRA Canada, serving in large part to represent and support the professional and developmental needs of vocational evaluators as well as professional rehab personnel specializing in work adjustment of injured workers and the like. In this section, you will find current and candid articles authored by CAVEWAS members, non-members (and future members alike) that will share, discuss, and communicate with you developments and changes affecting our membership. Amongst them issues of best practice, professional development and designation, as well as industry trends. We hope you continue to find the content in this section stimulating, motivating, and informative and we encourage your ongoing participation and contributions. Enjoy! CAVEWAS National Board Of Directors If you are a CAVEWAS member and have any ideas, opinions or thoughts relevant to this section and you would like to share, discuss, and communicate them in the next issue, please contact: Jodi Webster at We also encourage you to join our group on LinkedIn. SUMMER

16 disabilities. The employment rate of persons with disabilities in private companies has slowly but steadily increased, from 1.47 per cent in 2002 to 1.69 per cent in Although the two per cent target has not yet been reached, the trend suggests that the Quota-Levy and Grant system is an effective measure. Japan has also put in place a complex structure of services designed to facilitate training and employment for people with disabilities. The following is a partial organizational chart: People with disabilities seeking employment can access vocational rehabilitation services through public employment security offices (Hello Work), local vocational centres (one in each of Japan s 47 prefectures), or at one of the two national vocational rehabilitation centres. This article will focus on the National Vocational Rehabilitation Centre located in Saitama, Japan, where I was offered a tour of the facilities and services as well as meetings with the staff. The National Rehabilitation Centre in Saitama, Japan On November 8, 2012, I visited the National Rehabilitation Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NRCD), which is located in the district of Tokorozawa, Saitama prefecture. I was accompanied by two facilitators and interpreters. This rehabilitation centre is very large (225,180 Sq m, or about the size of 35 American football fields) and is comprised of several departments, including; A clinic providing physical rehabilitation services A research institute A college providing training programs to future rehabilitation professionals A vocational rehabilitation centre (NVRCD) offering vocational evaluations, employment counselling and skill training programs for people with disabilities Sports facilities and dormitories for participants with disabilities We were first greeted at the centre by Ms. Yoko Nishimura, chief of international cooperation of NRCD, who first offered us a tour of the physical rehabilitation facilities. One area is dedicated to the physical rehabilitation of people with physical disabilities and those who have sustained post traumatic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. Rehabilitation services are provided by occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and by other professionals with relevant qualifications. The tour followed with a visit of the pre-vocational training department, which offers programs for applicants that need to develop their work readiness skills. One such facility is the simulated laundry group training program, which primarily targets people with intellectual and mental disabilities. Under the guidance of vocational instructors, participants learn how to launder, press, and fold cloth. We also visited an area where participants are trained to work in the retail sector to stock shelves, perform inventory control, and provide customer service. Another area provided housekeeping training in a simulated hotel room environment. All simulated work environments were very realistic but unfortunately, I was not allowed to take pictures, for privacy reasons. All participants acquire and/or accentuate their skills under the supervision and guidance of instructors. I had an opportunity to meet with several of these instructors and inquired as to their approach. They noted that the purpose of these pre-vocational programs is to nurture proper work attitudes, to provide participants with basic work skills, communications skills and to evaluate their performance and progress. At this stage, a proper work attitude and motivation are more important than work performance. To achieve these goals, instructors provide a close mentor-trainee relationship to foster trust. Following our visit of the pre-vocational training department, we had lunch at the cafeteria, which employs people with disabilities. I noted that I was served in a timely fashion and provided with good customer service. The National Vocational Rehabilitation Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NVRCD) Our afternoon visit was dedicated to the vocational rehabilitation centre and included a Q&A session with the head of the NVRCD. This facility is a division of the larger NRCD but is quite extensive in itself. The NVRCD can accept about 200 trainees and offers programs that are typically one year in length. The following vocational training programs are primarily aimed at people with physical disabilities: Mechatronics programs (mechanical engineering design, electronic engineering design as well as assembly and inspection) Business administration and information technology (e.g. Business accounting, office administration, desktop publishing, software developing, web design) Design programs (interior design, architectural CAD) Massage therapy, shiatsu, acupuncture, and moxibustion training programs are also offered to people with visual disabilities to prepare them for employment as physical therapists NVRCD also has a job development section that offers programs designed for people with mental and developmental disabilities. This section provides the following courses: Assembly work course: participants receive training on assembly, inspection, and various light tasks in a manufacturing setting Office work course: this include training on basic operation of computers and the acquisition of skills and relevant clerical work, such as data entry, document management, mail sorting, and delivery Product distribution and retail course: trainees acquire knowledge and skills related to product distribution, including retrieving products from storage areas, inspecting products, processing of payment slips and distribution. Trainees also acquire skills relevant to the retail sector, including product display, packaging, packing, and inventory control. Each program provides vocational instruction and hands-on training in realistic simulated work environments. The ratio is about five trainees per instructor and therefore, each participant receives a lot of individual attention. Instructors also help their trainees to find and maintain employment by acting as job developers and by negotiating accommodations or job modifications with employers. Training programs are adjusted to the specific needs of employers and to the characteristics of each trainee, which helps promote a smoother transition into the workforce. The vocational instructors I spoke to indicated that employers are motivated to hire people with disabilities, not only because of employment quotas but also to improve their public image as socially responsible companies. I was informed that the work placement rate is generally over 80 per cent, with a majority of graduates finding competitive employment. 14

17 Employment retention is facilitated by vocational instructors, who are familiar with their students and who meet regularly with employers to discuss potential issues and to negotiate appropriate accommodations at work. Job coaching services are also provided to employees with disabilities to ease their workplace integration and to monitor their progress and performance. Admission and Vocational Assessment People with disabilities typically apply at the NVRCD through their local Hello Work office and must provide a disability certificate completed by a medical doctor. Graduates of pre-vocational programs offered by the NRCD may also apply. As part of their admission process, applicants undergo an extensive vocational assessment over a period of one week. The purpose of the vocational assessment is two-fold: to determine which applicants are suitable for NVRCD s vocational rehabilitation services and to match each applicant with the appropriate vocational training program. Applicants with intellectual or mental disabilities tend to be referred for more physically demanding employment such as laundry work, warehousing, assembly, or cleaning. Applicants with physical disabilities tend to be referred for sedentary work in the IT, business administration, and design sectors. People with visual impairments may be referred for physical therapy programs. As indicated below, the vocational assessment process differs according to the type of disability: Applicants with Physical Disabilities Day 1 Intake interview and initial evaluation of aptitudes (Japanese version of GATB); test of Japanese literacy Day 2 Test of mathematic skills; counselling session to review initial test results and to identify in which program candidate hopes to enroll (only for candidates who passed the initial evaluation) Day 3, 4, 5 Situational assessments tailored to the training program in which the candidate wishes to enroll; interview by training instructors (day 4) Day 6 Follow-up session with vocational assessor for final determination of acceptance and for program selection Applicants with Intellectual or Mental Disabilities Day 1 Intake interview and initial evaluation of aptitudes (Japanese version of GATB); test of Japanese literacy; test of mathematic skills Day 2 Counselling session to review initial test results and to identify in which program the candidate hopes to enroll (only for candidates who passed the initial evaluation). Situational assessment to assess potential productivity issues such as work tolerance and concentration. Day 3 Individual consultation Day 4, 5, 6 Situational assessments tailored to the training program in which the candidates wish to enroll; interview by training instructors (day 5) Day 7 Work trial in simulated work environment. The candidate s ability to work in a group is also evaluated. Day 8 Follow-up session with vocational assessor for final determination of acceptance and for program selection As outlined above, the vocational assessment does include some psychometric testing, but emphasizes the use of situational assessments to evaluate a person s employability and for program matching purpose. Counselling and interview sessions with vocational evaluators and vocational instructors are also important to help the applicant explore the various training options offered at the facility. Applicants that are not deemed ready for employment may be referred to pre-vocational training programs offered at the NRCD or to other pre-vocational services agencies. I had the opportunity to interview one of the vocational evaluators there and was told that vocational evaluators/counsellors rely more heavily on their experience and judgment to assign applicants to the appropriate training program rather than basing their decision on the results of standardized tests. This is in part due to the fact that many applicants do not perform well on psychometric tests, such as the GATB, due to their disabilities, and as such, situational assessments and counselling are considered more reliable methods of assessing employment potential. Additionally, Japan s occupational classification system is mainly designed for statistical and general counselling purposes and as such, it does not provide information on aptitude requirements or physical demands, as the Canadian NOC does. Therefore, standardized test results cannot be directly compared to the Japanese occupational classification. Impressions In my opinion, NRCD s system has the following strengths: A comprehensive and centralized system of service delivery is offered. Each step of the program is quite well integrated, which promotes effective feedback among rehabilitation professionals at various stages of the vocational rehabilitation process, from admission to employment. Vocational instructors are the key strength of this system as they follow students from initial training to employment and nurture a positive relations with potential employers There is a strong partnership between the rehabilitation centre and employers. The Quota-Levy and Grant system acts as an incentive for employers. However, corporate social responsibility also appears to be an incentive and this may be a factor typical of the Japanese culture. There is a strong emphasis on postemployment services through provision of counselling services for employers, job accommodation, and job coaching services for employees with disabilities Some limitations of NRCD s system may include: A lack of flexibility; applicants must choose among a limited number of training programs The rehabilitation centre gets to choose who is accepted. Rejected applicants are referred out. NRCD offers an all-inclusive service model that is costly. Situational assessments tend to be resource intensive and time-consuming. This centralised approach requires a high degree of coordination, planning, and monitoring and may create a limitation on the number of applicants the centre can accept (about 200 per year). I provided in this article a brief overview of Japanese government policies and the vocational rehabilitation services provided by the NRCD. In my opinion, there are a few lessons that can be learned from the Japanese approach to vocational rehabilitation. In Canada, several providers of vocational rehabilitation services favor a decentralized approach. They would benefit from implementing stronger communication channels between various rehabilitation professionals, which would help increase the effectiveness of services provided. In spite of their added cost, situational assessments and work trials would be an effective supplemental tool to vocational assessments in identifying suitable employment options for people with disabilities...continued on page 19 SUMMER

18 Le contexte québécois: Les lois du travail Par Jacinta Aungier, BAA, CCRC, CVP, OTDipl Les membres du conseil d administration de la société VRA du Québec se regroupent et c est dans ce contexte que nous vous présentons cet article sur le contexte québécois. La santé en milieu du travail nous préoccupe tous. À cet égard, nous vous proposons à rédiger une série d articles qui vise le travail et la santé dans le contexte du Québec et, qui s adresse aux éléments pertinents et forts semblables à la législation qui est en vigueur où vous travaillez, dans les autres juridictions du Canada. En ce qui concerne les instruments juridiques qui couvrent la santé et la sécurité du travail du Québec, il existe des lois et des règlements, des normes et des directives, ainsi que la jurisprudence. Ce premier article est un survol de la réglementation en vigueur au Québec qui inclut des dispositions pertinentes aux milieux de travail. Pour faciliter cette revue, nous proposons deux regroupements soit, a) les Chartes, le Code civil et, b) l ensemble des lois et des règlements, autrement connu sous Les Lois du travail. La Charte canadienne des droits et des libertés, 1982, ainsi que la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne, 1975, annoncent des principes qui encadrent la vie au Canada et au Québec et donc, reconnaissent les libertés et des droits fondamentaux dans les milieux de travail. La Charte canadienne décrit les garanties juridiques, les droits à l égalité, les langues officielles du Canada ainsi que les recours et l application de la Charte. Parallèlement, la Charte des droits et libertés de la personne protège «le droit à la vie, à la sûreté, l intégrité et à la liberté de sa personne» (article 1). Autre disposition qui nous concerne est le droit a respect du secret professionnel (article 9), y compris la divulgation de renseignements confidentiels qui énonce que «toute personne tenue par la loi au secret professionnel ne peuvent, même en justice, divulguer les renseignements confidentiels qui leur ont été révélés en raison de leur état ou profession, à moins qu ils soient autorisés par celui qui leur a fait ces confidences ou par une disposition expresse de la loi». La Charte québécoise stipule également sur la discrimination interdite (article 10) ainsi que le harcèlement interdit (article 10.1). Article 16 vise la nondiscrimination dans l embauche, tandis que l article 17 défend la discrimination d une personne d une association d employeurs ou des salariés ou de tout ordre professionnel. La Charte de la langue française protège la langue du travail, soit le français. Chapitre VI contient des dispositions qui visent les communications, l offre d emploi, la rédaction des conventions collectives, l interdiction de congédier ou rétrograder un employé pour la seule raison qu il ne parle que le français et, l interdiction d exiger une autre langue pour l accès à un emploi. En 1990, l Assemblée nationale a reçu le projet de nouveau Code civil du Québec. Dans le Code civil, quelques chapitres contiennent des articles qui décrivent les facteurs pertinents au travail et les milieux de travail. Par exemple, chapitre septième Du contrat de travail, énonce la relation de la subordination entre l employé et l employeur et donc, entre autres, l obligation de l employeur de «payer la rémunération ainsi que de prendre les mesures appropriées à la nature du travail, en vue de protéger la santé, la sécurité et la dignité du salarié». Ce chapitre traite les définitions et les obligations du contrat du travail entre les parties et il est l encadrement et la fondation des règles qui gouvernent le travail, l entreprise et le contrat du travail. Chapitre dixième Du contrat de société et d association fournit des définitions dans la section I. Dans la section V De l association les dispositions énoncent les règles de base sur l association et la gouvernance des décisions collectives. Plusieurs lois du travail sont en vigueur au Québec. L ensemble comprend le Code du travail, la Loi sur les normes, la Loi sur les relations du travail, la Loi sur la santé et la sécurité du travail, la Loi sur les accidents du travail et les maladies professionnelles, la loi sur l équité salariale, entre autres. Et, il est important à noter que les employeurs et les employés au Québec qui travaillent dans les industries sous juridiction fédérale sont obligés à suivre le Code canadien du travail. Dans une édition future, il est notre intention de décortiquer ces lois du travail et de discuter les éléments qui s adressent spécifiquement aux employeurs et aux employés du Québec. The Quebec Context: Labour Laws By Jacinta Aungier, BAA, CCRC, CVP, OTDipl The board members of the VRA Quebec society are banding together and would like to present an article on the Quebec context regarding labour laws. Workplace health is indeed a subject that concerns us all. In this regard, we propose to write a series of articles about the Quebec experience in work and occupational health which would address the pertinent and likely, similar aspects in the legislation to those in force where you work, that is, in the other jurisdictions in Canada. Legal instruments that power occupational health and safety in Quebec include: standards and guidelines, as well as a volume of jurisprudence. This first article is an overview of the regulatory instruments that are enforced in Quebec including pertinent articles of law related to workplace milieu. To facilitate this overview, we propose two groups of instruments, which are: a) the Charters; the Civil Code and b), the suite of laws and regulations, otherwise referred to as the Labour Laws. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, as well as the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, 1975, specify the principles that enshrine life in Canada and in Quebec and therefore, recognize the fundamental freedoms and rights in workplace milieu. The Canadian Charter describes legal protection, rights to equality, official languages of Canada, as well as recourse available and the application of the Charter. Similarly, the Quebec Charter protects the right to life, to security, inviolability and freedom (Article 1). Another article that affects us is the right to respect professional secrecy (article 9), including the section on release of confidential information which states: No person bound to professional secrecy by law may, even in judicial proceedings, disclose confidential information revealed to him by reason of his position or profession, unless he is authorized to do so by the person who confided such information to him or by an express provision of law. The Quebec Charter prescribes that discrimination is forbidden (article 10), as well as the forbidding of harassment on any grounds mentioned in article 10 (article 10.1). Article 16 treats the 16

19 avoidance of discrimination in hiring, while article 17 forbids the discrimination against a person who belongs to an employer association or workers who belong to any professional order. The Charter of the French Language protects the language of work, which in Quebec is French. Chapter VI contains articles that address communications, job offers, collective agreements drafting, forbidding of firing or demotion of an employee for the sole reason that (s)he speaks only French, and forbidding the requirement of another language in order to obtain a position. In 1990, the National Assembly passed the new Civil Code of Quebec. In the Civil Code, there are several chapters that contain articles describing issues related to work and to workplaces. For example, Chapter Seven Work Contract, prescribes the relationship of subordination between the employee and the employer and therefore, among other things, the requirement for the employer not only to allow the performance of the work agreed upon and to pay a fixed remuneration, but also to take any measures consistent with the nature of the work to protect the health, safety and dignity of the employee. This chapter also provides the definitions and the obligations required under a work contract between the parties forming the framework and the foundation for rules which govern work, business operation, and work contracts. Chapter Ten Contracts of Partnership and of Association, Division I addresses definitions. Articles in Division V on Association prescribe the rules of conduct for employee association and for governance of collective decisions. Many labour laws are in force in Quebec. The suite includes the Quebec Labour Code; the Act respecting Labour Standards, the Industrial Relations Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Workplace Accident and Occupational Illness Act, the Pay Equity Act, among others. It is important to note that employers and employees who work in federally regulated industries in Quebec are bound to follow the Canada Labour Code. In a future edition, we hope to discuss in detail the labour laws, specifically those that affect employers and employees in Quebec. REHAB MATTERS APPROVED E DIT O RIA L C O M M IT T E E To view references for this article, visit our website Jacinta Aungier BAA, CCRC, CVP, OTDipl est en pratique privée en Outaouais, (Québec). Elle est membre de American Medical Writers Association (Canadian chapter). Jacinta Aungier BAA, CCRC, CVP, OTDipl is in private practice in Outaouais, Québec. She is a member of the American Medical Writers Association (Canadian chapter). SUMMER

20 Silver Linings: Why a shattered limb does not equal a shattered life By Shawn Bonnough, BComm Charlie was dismounting his excavator in northern BC when he missed a grab handle and slipped on the icy ground; the fall shattered his leg. The doctor explained that the severity of his injury would not allow Charlie to return to his previous profession. After completing aptitude testing with WorkSafeBC, Charlie showed a strong ability for teaching. My temperament, disposition, and attitude showed that I might be a great teacher but [I wondered] what I could teach, Charlie stated, all I know is heavy equipment. After making a few calls, the vocational rehabilitation worker assigned to Charlie s case explained that WorkSafeBC (and WCB offices in other provinces) had found success with High Velocity Equipment Training College, a licensed college in Alberta. High Velocity college has a proven employment rate of 97 per cent of all graduates. High Velocity Equipment Training College also offers an industrial Train-the-Trainer program that teaches experienced heavy equipment operators how to teach, perfect for Charlie. Charlie liked the idea of teaching and was happy to learn from Canada s most effective career college using leading industry-approved programs. With this approach, Charlie added a facilitation certificate to his resume and started on a whole new career path of teaching and training that would make him more valuable as he aged (as a qualified instructor) rather than less valuable (as an aging operator). Charlie attended a Train-the-Trainer program in BC; heavy equipment operators from all across Canada came together for the week-long program. In order to learn Canada s most sophisticated and effective curriculum from the inside out, Charlie was also enrolled into the full 12-week, five machine heavy equipment operator training at High Velocity Equipment Training College in Camrose, Alberta. I was amazed to see so many other WCB clients in the program with me, said Charlie. Probably more than half the students originated from WorkSafeBC like me! When I asked why they came from so far away to train in Alberta, [they replied] Alberta is where the jobs are. High Velocity College offers the excellent programming, job-site shuttle, student housing, more hours on machinery [than competitors], and a dedicated employment counsellor to help achieve the highest employment rates. Charlie says, I am glad I took the full equipment program before starting into my teaching career. [I am thankful for the care and attention I received from workers at] WorkSafeBC and the training I received from High Velocity Equipment Training College. I am looking forward to a bright and prosperous future teaching and creating a work site that is always safe for both me and my students! Shawn Bonnough, BComm, is a business development officer for High Velocity Equipment Training College and lead instructor of the Train-the-Trainer program. Shawn has held positions as adjunct professor at Royal Roads University and has taught entrepreneurship programs and MBA programs from Idaho to Iran. Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. 18

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