Society of Energy Professionals

Society of Energy Professionals

November 10, 2010 15:26 ET

No Remembrance Day for Afghan vet: Ontario Power Generation

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Energy Editor, News Editor, Tech/Telecomm Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 10, 2010) - Military heroes of the campaign in Afghanistan aren't hero enough for Ontario Power Generation, says a veteran of the conflict there.

"In OPG, veterans of the Canadian Forces are supposed to get Remembrance Day off," says Adrian Rizzuto, an OPG employee and veteran of the campaign in Afghanistan. "But they told me that policy only applies to veterans up to the Korean War."

Rizzuto has worked for OPG for six years, helping manage system outages at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. In October he applied for leave to observe Remembrance Day, a right he thought he had under an OPG policy, but was turned down. "They say if I were remembering and grieving for my comrades at Juno Beach, that would be one thing, but I can grieve for my comrades in Kandahar on my own time."

Rizzuto was an artillery commander in Kandahar province for more than seven months in 2008 and 2009. He served in the campaign in the Panjwai area, an operation to clear an intense Taliban insurgency. It's very important to him, he says, to pay tribute at Remembrance Day ceremonies to those who served and sometimes fell. It requires, however, that he take time off to do so.

Rizzuto is a member of the Society of Energy Professionals, the union that represents OPG's professional employees. Joseph Fierro, a Society Vice President at OPG, says OPG's refusal to grant Rizzuto's leave is cynical in the extreme. "They say it would increase the number of persons eligible for leaves, and that would violate Premier McGuinty's wage-freeze policy. Applying it to a war veteran is perverse."

The McGuinty Government received Royal Assent in May for Bill 16, the Creating the Foundation for Jobs and Growth Act, 2010. That Act called for wage freezes for non-union employees in the public sector, including at OPG. It also sets out that there will be no funding for wage increases when current collective agreements lapse.

The Society of Energy Professionals represents more than 8,000 engineers, telecommunications and information technology professionals, scientists, supervisors, and others who for generations have designed, built, operated, and helped safeguard Ontario's vast electricity system. These women and men manage our electricity system and ensure our power is there when we need it, reliably and safely. The Society's members work for Ontario Power Generation, Hydro One, Bruce Power, the IESO, the Ontario Energy Board, the Electrical Safety Authority, and other key electricity sector employers.
/For further information: please contact Brian Robinson at (416) 716-6438/ IN: ENERGY, LABOUR, TELECOMM

Contact Information

  • Brian Robinson, Communications Officer, Society of Energy Professionals
    Primary Phone: 416-716-6438
    E-mail: brian@society.on.ca