About 140 people attended our annual Health & Safety Dinner on November 18th. As Chair of the Waterloo Regional Labour Council's Health, Safety, and WSIB Committee, I was pleased to host the evening and to see the award for Health & Safety Activist of the Year go to Unifor 1106 member Shawn Rouse.
|left to right: Shawn Rouse, Marc Xuereb, and Dave Eales|
Each year, the Waterloo Regional Labour Council and Guelph and District Labour Council partner with the Workers' Health and Safety Centre to hold a special evening to recognize those who work hard all year long to promote health and safety in workplaces, represent our workers, and help every day in prevention of occupational illnesses and injuries.
We also strive to recognize one individual from our Labour Council who has gone above and beyond and worked tirelessly for the cause of health and safety in their workplace. This year, we had four individuals nominated for the health and safety activist award, making it a very tough decision!
This year's Health and Safety Activist of the Year: Shawn Rouse, Unifor 1106
Fellow Unifor 1106 member Dave Eales nominated Shawn, and shared these words of introduction to Shawn at the dinner:
Shawn is the WSIB advocate in his workplace, and sits on the Unifor National Health and Safety WSIB Council. Shawn has been a strong advocate for injured workers in his workplace, and in other workplaces. In addition to Shawn’s work on WSIB Shawn has been the most vocal voice for H&S in his local for a number of years. Any time a news article or study or piece of legislation pertaining to worker safety comes out Shawn is distributing it far and wide throughout our membership. Shawn gives up many of his own weekends to attend educational workshops and conferences on H&S. At every opportunity Brother Rouse is trying to recruit members to be H&S reps in their workplaces, even when it’s a small workplace with only a dozen members he continually stresses how important it is to have a member advocating for H&S.
Even though Shawn is a Full Time officer of a large local Union and H&S falls outside of his purview, he is still a strong voice on the issue. Once a person rises in the ranks of the Labour movement and take on responsibility of bargaining, administration and political action many times they loose focus on the importance of H&S, we can honestly say this has not happened with our brother Shawn Rouse, We are honored to have him be front and center in our Local Union when it comes to Health and Safety.
As I said, we had four excellent nominees this year. Here are the three people who deserve an honourable mention for their Health & Safety activism!
Cheryl Miner, UFCW 175, Zehrs
Cheryl is a Certified Member and Co-Chair of the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC). She has been instrumental in improving safety of workers in her workplace. In her 2 years as CoChair of the JHSC, Cheryl has faced many challenges. She has revitalized the committee through education, and has been successful at developing a health and safety culture in her workplace. Cheryl is eager to learn all she can for the benefit or workers' safety and well-being.
Martin Hare, OPSEU 237 (CAAT), Conestga College
Martin has been a dedicated union rep at the Cambridge Campus since 2006, and is currently Co-Chair of the JHSC. Martin is aware and conscientious of health and safety for everyone at his workplace. Recently, Martin went above and beyond to ensure safety and awareness with a contractor on the campus. Martin takes the initiative to ensure health and safety of others, and develops the committee through education. Martin is passionate about continuous learning.
Dwayne Shouldice, OSSTF 24, Huron Heights SS
Dwayne had a cousin lose an arm in a workplace accident, and thus learned very early the importance of workplace safety. Dwayne began his career in 1994 as a member of the workplace inspection team at Grand River Collegiate. He has been an active health and safety activist in his workplaces throughout his career, and is now the Co-Chair of the WRDSB JHSC, and recently appointed District health and safety officer. Dwayne is passionate about worker safety, and is a constant resource and advocate. His countless hours of volunteer work has contributed greatly to the 1800 members he represents.