Paul de Rege - A Sad Loss
Paul de Rege, a respected colleague and good friend to so many of us, passed away on Friday September 12, 2003.

Paul worked as a systems officer in the Regional Support Services Unit and had many friends throughout the Ontario Public Service. As an OPSEU Union Steward for the Local 527, he was passionate about social issues and helped to lift the spirits of staff wherever he went. As an example, Paul prepared an emergency resolution encouraging OPSEU conventioneers to have their lunches and meals at Chinese restaurants to combat the SARS scare.

Friends, family and colleagues gathered together on Wednesday, September 17th at the Lynett Funeral Home for a moving service.

Paul will be greatly missed.

A Message from Rod Sawyer
(President OPSEU Local 527

- This is the text of the e-mail which Rod Sawyer sent to Local 527 Stewards, OPSEU board members and staff regarding Paul de Rege.

Hello Local 527 Stewards, OPSEU board members and staff, and friends, it is with regret I must advise you that Paul de Rege passed away on Friday September 12, 2003.

L527 stewards, please advise all members of the Local by forwarding this email. Paul de Rege was a passionate member of our Local. Until recently he was a steward and the Local's Secretary. He contributed greatly to the Local and OPSEU and will be remembered by many of our members. At work, he worked at the Ministry of Citizenship's Regional Support Services Unit at 123 Edward Street where he was a Systems Officer. There he earned a solid reputation for helping colleagues by resolving data and database problems and getting priority work done for the three ministries his unit serves. Paul contributed and helped Local 527 and its members in many ways and was very passionate about helping people and supporting labour issues. During the OPS strike, Paul was particularly active. He automated the Local's payroll, a labour of love and hard work that greatly helped us to pay members who supported the strike through picketing, phone tree work and other strike activity. He served as treasurer for the OPSEU Region 5 (Toronto) Downtown Locals strike headquarters. He was there on the picket line through many cold, wet days providing cheer and helping us all out. Paul's contributions included ideas, energy and time. He wrote and edited Local resolutions to the OPSEU convention, including in human rights areas and on the United Way. During the most recent OPSEU convention, he prepared an emergency resolution encouraging OPSEU conventioneers to have their lunches and meals at Chinese restaurants to combat the SARS scare. He handled grievances on behalf of Local members. He investigated issues like benefits members were inquiring about and drafted thoughtful and informative responses. He worked on behalf of members on the Ministry of Citizenship's Joint Health and Safety Committee, and helped draft accident investigation questions in that role among other contributions. He was an inaugural union member of the Ministry of Citizenship's Local Employee Relations Committee for 400 University and 123 Edward Street. He represented his members as steward, including in Regional Support Services and previous to that, as steward for the 6th floor at 400 University Ministry of Citizenship.

He served as a Local 527 representative on the Toronto district Labour Council. One of his most recent and major accomplishments was organizing and coordinating the OPSEU part of the City of Toronto's 2003 Pride parade. Paul had a keen sense of humour, observational skills and loving nature. He shared these with us both at work and in the union. He was warm and accepting. He had a sense of fun, this came out in his observations and banter, at work and in many other ways, he decorated his workspace with fake grape vines for instance. He was immensely proud of his Italian heritage. He enjoyed eating out at restaurants, and had a particular love for Chinese greens, introducing many of us to this delicacy. His keen sense of social justice led him to support the underdog and be supportive of members in need. He played an active role in enabling OPSEU and the union movement to develop a greater sense of awareness for gay and lesbian issues, took part in Labour Day parades and encouraged the union movement to reach out to other groups. Family, a sense of family and friends were important to Paul. Recently, Paul had been going through some difficult times. We will have to go on now without Paul. I know he loved and appreciated his friends and the many people he met through his activities. He will want the Local to remain strong. We will remember Paul and some very good times we shared with him.

I have some details on services for Paul:

There will be a visitation for Paul on Tuesday Sept 16 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. A number of Local members are already planning to attend this. The address is:
Lynett Funeral Home
3299 Dundas Street West
This is located one block east of Runnymede on Dundas Street West.

The Funeral will take place on Wednesday Sept 17 at 10 a.m. It will be at the Chapel of the Lynett Funeral Home, 3299 Dundas Street West. This will be followed by burial at Mount Hope Cemetary. There will then be a Reception back at the Funeral Home.

Envelopes for donations will be at the Funeral Home. Paul's choice of charity is the Centre for Social Justice and the Local will make a donation to this. There will also be an envelope for donations to the Canadian Mental Health Association and donations can also be made to one of Paul's favourite organizations, CLGRO, or Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario. (Should there be any updates or corrections, the Local will provide them).

In solidarity, and with great regret - Rod

Rod Sawyer
OPSEU Local 527