MENTORSHIP PROGRAM 2024-2026 GUIDELINE AND STEPS

This program is designed to enable skill development for COPE Ontario members that will prove useful in the various sectors that COPE Ontario represents. Participants will gain knowledge and experience to ensure they grow and learn how best to strengthen our union while serving its members. Successful applicants chosen for the Mentorship Program will be trained in various positions including but not limited to becoming: a Labour Relations Specialist to cover all sectors, or a specialist in Healthcare or Education; Benefits Representative; or Organizer. Opportunities will also be available to become Instructors/Facilitators specializing in a variety of topics and areas of labour priorities. Locals of COPE Ontario will be responsible for ensuring all necessary arrangements are made for their member’s lost time. It is expected that the cost of lost time will be shared by all three parties: the Local Union, COPE Ontario, and the participating member.

STEP 1 - Viability

The COPE Ontario Executive Board will decide there is a need to launch the Mentorship Program. They will inform the Director to send out applicable notices to all COPE Ontario Locals advising them of the opportunity, procedure, and deadlines associated with the process. The time frame for participation will depend on the areas of training being offered. The rank-and-file member will choose their preferred role, then their Local will screen and endorse their member's participation and submit the application on the member's behalf.

STEP 2 - Application and Qualification

The member will complete the application created by the Mentorship Committee. They will submit it to their Local for approval and endorsement. The Local will then send the submission/documents to COPE Ontario, attaching their endorsement, to the attention of the COPE Ontario Director. The COPE Ontario Mentorship Committee will review the applications and conduct interviews as needed to complete the screening process.

STEP 3 -Training Process

Qualifications required for the positions include excellent communication skills; knowledge of the COPE structure; willingness to work irregular hours, weekends and evenings; ability to travel, if necessary; ability to work independently, as well as with others with tolerance and respect; literacy and reading comprehension; ability to develop materials, if required; committed to social, class and political equity and inclusion with a deep understanding of anti-racism, anti-oppression and decolonization analysis. All participants will be required to attend the following training sessions: Anti-Oppression, Anti-Racism, Truth and Reconciliation, Creating Space — Equity and Diversity in our Union, Overview of Labour Legislation, and Labour History.

Organizer

The member will have a work plan informing the duration of their program, detailing their skill targets, learning goals, and tactics with clear completion dates that will be mutually agreed to upon starting the Mentorship Program. The member will participate in a training session over two separate full weekends, commencing on a Friday morning till Sunday at noon. Physical attendance at each session is mandatory. Between the two sessions the members will be given assignments, sample cases to research, and readings that they must complete and bring back with them to the follow-up session.

The member will start shadowing one of the COPE Ontario Organizers provided there is an organizing drive taking place. Should there not be the opportunity to shadow, then the member will be used as a volunteer organizer until there is an opportunity for shadowing. During the time the member is shadowing, which is considered part of the training, with an Organizer, the respective Local will be responsible for ensuring that the member obtains release time. Once the training and shadowing is completed and if the member is released to work on an organizing campaign the trainee will submit their related expenses to COPE Ontario for approval and reimbursement, during any period that the member is working with COPE Ontario.

Labour Relations Specialist

The member will have a work plan informing the duration of their mentorship, detailing their skill targets, learning goals, and tactics with clear completion dates that will be mutually agreed to upon starting the Mentorship Program. The trainee will participate in multiple in-person training sessions over a period to be determined. The first session will include contract interpretation, grievance, and arbitration handling. The second session will be on Labour Legislation. The third session will be on how to research case law and relevant Labour Legislation.

During the time between each session the participants will be given assignments and sample cases to research and readings that they must complete and bring back with them to the follow up session. Attendance at each session is mandatory. During the training and, where possible, members will observe a collective bargaining meeting, a grievance meeting, an arbitration/mediation session, or multiple combinations of each with a Labour Relations Specialist.

After the member has participated in the training and observation sessions the member and the COPE Ontario personnel committee will determine whether this would be a good position for this individual. Once both the member and the COPE Ontario personnel committee decide that this position is something this member will excel in, then the member will be assigned to shadow one or more Labour Relations Specialists. During the time the member is shadowing, which is considered part of the training, the respective Local will be responsible for ensuring that the member obtains release time. Once the training and shadowing is completed and if the member is released to work as a Labour Relations Specialist, the trainee will submit expenses to COPE Ontario for approval and reimbursement, during any period that the member is working with COPE Ontario.

Benefits Representative

The member will have a work plan informing the duration of their mentorship, detailing their skill targets, learning goals, and tactics with clear completion dates that will be mutually agreed to upon starting the Mentorship Program. If the member has taken a recent course either through the CLC, OFL/ODRT or the Workers Health and Safety Centre and/or another organization and provides proof of such or has had previous training and is currently working within their Local as the benefits/return to work specialist, then the member will participate in observation sessions with the COPE Ontario Benefits Representative. Duration to be determined based on the experience of each individual. The respective Locals will be responsible for ensuring that the member obtains release time.

After the member has participated in the observation session, the member and the COPE Ontario personnel committee can determine whether this would be a good position for this individual.

Once both the member and the COPE Ontario personnel committee decide that this position is something this member will excel in, then the member will be assigned to work on a case with the supervision of the Benefits Representative. During the time the member is shadowing, which is considered part of the training, with the Benefits Representative the respective Local will be responsible for ensuring that the member obtains release time. Once the training and shadowing is completed and if the member is released to work with the Benefits Representative, the trainee will submit related expenses to COPE Ontario for approval and reimbursement during any period that the member is working with the COPE Ontario Benefits Representative.

Instructor/Facilitator

The member will participate in an in-person course on instructional techniques which could either be held over several evenings or weekends, or one (1) weeklong course. An alternate time could be determined. If the member has recently taken this course through the CLC and provides proof of such, a modified training plan will be considered.

After the member has participated in the training the respective locals will be responsible to ensure that the member obtains release time so the member can participate in multiple observation processes. Once the observation processes have been completed the member or the COPE Ontario personnel committee can determine whether this would be a good position for this individual. Once both the member and the COPE Ontario personnel committee decide that this position is something this member will excel in, then the member will be assigned to shadow one staff member.

Depending on workshop availability, preferably within one month after participating in this training, the member will be assigned to work with a staff member to deliver a workshop, or more if required. During the time the member is shadowing, which is considered part of the training, with a staff member the respective Locals will be responsible for ensuring that the member obtains release time, and all their expenses are covered. Once the member is assigned an instructing/facilitating opportunity, the member will submit their related expenses to COPE Ontario for approval and reimbursement, during any period that the member is working with COPE Ontario.

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