OPSBA Media Release, Statement from OPSBA on Auditor General's Annual Report, Dec. 6, 2017
Auditor takes aim at Wynne’s government over spending, waste, lax oversightRob Ferguson and Robert Benzie, The Star, Dec. 6, 2017School board employees are taking more sick days, hydro ratepayers are getting zapped and the government’s books may not really be balanced, according to auditor general Bonnie Lysyk.
The results of the Ontario Student, Parent, and Educators Survey
(OSPES) have been released by the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association
(OSTA-AECO). This report serves as a holistic assessment of Ontario’s education
system from the perspective of three of its most important
stakeholders. A copy of the full OSPES report can be accessed on the OSTA-AECO website.
The OPSBA Board of Directors held a meeting on Dec. 1 and 2, 2017, in Toronto. A traditional Indigenous territory acknowledgement was provided by Trustee Elaine Johnston, the Indigenous Trustees' Council's Board of Director member.
Representatives from the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) joined Directors on the evening of Dec. 1 - Caroline Newton, Director of Communications, and Christina Campbell, Advocacy and Public Engagement Specialist. OACAS shared new information about progress made on the transformation of the child welfare system, the new Child, Youth and Family Services Act, which will be proclaimed in 2018, and new data from the Education Data Sharing Agreement.
Education policy and program issues that were discussed at the meeting are summarized below.
Indigenous Trustees' Council Indigenous Director Elaine Johnston provided a report from OPSBA's Indigenous Trustees' Council (ITC), which included the following:
GSN Consultations The Ministry of Education has engaged the lTC in two consultations on the 2018-19 Grants for Student Needs (GSN). The first was a response to the questions asked of school boards in the GSN consultations. The second consultation took place on November 29, and was specific to Indigenous trustees and other Indigenous organizations, including the Chiefs of Ontario. Topics included the enveloping of grants, First Nations language courses, assessment and curriculum.
Working Group – Education Service Agreements (ESAs) and Reverse Education Service Agreements (RESAs) The Ministry has established a working group to examine potential regulatory or legislative changes to ESAs and RESAs. OPSBA is represented on the working group through Geoff Williams, OPSBA ITC staff advisor, and a number of school board trustees and staff.
TRC Curriculum Steering Committee The Ministry released a memo to Directors of Education on November 9, 2017, outlining changes being made to the curriculum in order to introduce mandatory components of Indigenous history and culture. Primarily focused on Social Studies and History courses at the moment, there are plans to extend these revisions into other areas of the curriculum in order to ensure that students in Ontario have an accurate understanding of Indigenous history, including the treaties, residential schools, and the Indian Act and its impact. It will be soft launched later this school year, with full implementation in time for the 2018-19 school year.
Minister's Advisory Committee The third progress report on the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework is almost complete, with a projected publication date in January 2018. The Government of Ontario is establishing a Transformation Steering Committee to take an in-depth look at transformation of curriculum, reporting and assessment. The committee will have two advisors with extensive backgrounds in the education sector: Ken Thurston and Marilies Rettig.
Communications and Media Relations The following updates on recent OPSBA communications issues were provided:
Finance Updates were provided on the School Energy Coalition and the next steps with regards to the review of student transportation procurement. In response to the Auditor General's recommendation that the Ministry of Education revisit the current student transportation funding formula, the ministry is proceeding with a 12-to-18-month multi-stakeholder engagement to solicit input and feedback to renew the vision of student transportation in Ontario. The Ministry is now moving forward with the Student Transportation Procurement Advisory Project Phase II. The first meeting of the committee was held on October 13, 2017 and the committee focused primarily on discussing and confirming committee terms of reference. The committee will next meet on December 5.
Benefits Technical Advisory Committee Through the 2017-18 GSN the Ministry announced the establishment of a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to discuss a go-forward approach to funding benefits within the GSN. The TAC will review all benefits, including Statutory, Health, Life, and Dental. The TAC will include school business officials and financial experts from the Trustee Associations. OPSBA has designated two Senior Business Officials to represent the association on this technical advisory committee and the first meeting of the committee is scheduled to take place on December 5.
Legislature and Government Relations An update on activities of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario was provided. The Assembly adjourns for Winter Recess after Dec. 14, 2017, and resumes on Feb. 20, 2018.
Bill 174, Cannabis Act The government's official cannabis regulation legislation was released on Nov. 1. The omnibus legislation enacts two new bills, the Cannabis Act and the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act and also repeals the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act, replacing them with a new Smoke-Free Ontario Act, and amends the Highway Traffic Act regarding driving under the influence of drugs. OPSBA reviewed the proposed legislation and its education implications and provided a submission to the government.
Governance-related issues - Sector Engagement Discussion Guide On September 19, 2017, the Discussion Guide was sent to all four school board/trustee associations, CODE, OSTA-AECO, Principal Associations, SO Associations and the unions/federations. It was also sent to board advisory committees, some of which contain trustee representation. OPSBA is providing collected feedback to the Ministry of Education in the form of an official submission.
Provincial Election and OPSBA Education Day The next Ontario provincial election is to take place on or before June 7, 2018. During provincial elections, OPSBA advocates for non-partisan strategies to engage politicians in issues that focus on education and the well-being of children and youth. OPSBA staff are discussing plans for the 2018 election and the resources to support Education Day in the province of Ontario. On that day, candidates from the four major provincial parties will be invited to attend Provincial Candidates Meetings in their ridings across the province.
Municipal and School Board Elections Next year's Municipal and School Board Elections will be held on October 22, 2018. The nomination period is much shorter than in previous elections, from May 1 to July 27, 2018. OPSBA will be coordinating a series of resources to support all candidates in the upcoming election.
Local Government Week – 2017 Local Government Week (LGW) took place October 15 to 21, 2017, with several trustees visiting Grade 5 Social Studies and Grade 10 Civics students. OPSBA updated its resources designed to raise civic awareness and promote the role of trustees among Ontario students. Final resources were sent to all members and posted on the OPSBA website. In addition, new resources were also sent to school board communications departments, with suggested website content, messages for board staff, a template news release, suggested social media posts and a backgrounder.
Program Policy Update A summary of Ministry meetings, workgroups and program-related announcements was provided. Information shared included the following:
FSL-Labour Market Partnership Project OPSBA continues to lead a labour market partnership project for English and Catholic public school boards entitled Meeting Labour Market Needs for French as a Second Language Instruction in Ontario. This is a three-year initiative with an ultimate goal of creating workable solutions to the growing demand for qualified French teachers and support staff. Research has begun and continues to expland.
Supporting Students with Prevalent Medical Conditions: Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) 161 Draft PPM 161 was released to school boards October 24, 2017. The PPM has been released as a draft prior to it being finalized for release in winter 2017-2018, for implementation by September 2018. School boards are encouraged to provide feedback and amendments will be made as required. This will allow time for school boards to complete a gap analysis to determine implementation plans.
EQAO EQAO has released an Information Paper – Modernizing EQAO to Better Support Student Learning – in anticipation of the Ministry of Education's upcoming assessment review. Ministry Committees Updates from the following Ministry of Education committees were provided:
Public Education Symposium The 2018 Public Education Symposium (PES) will be held from January 25 to 27 at the Sheraton in Toronto in partnership with ACÉPO. Speakers include Professor Yong Zhao of the University of Oregon and University of Kansas, Minister Mitzie Hunter, Patrick Case, Kevin Lamoureux and more. For information, visit www.opsba.org.
2018 Summit on Children and Youth Mental Health All sessions have been finalized for the 2018 Summit in April and registration is now open. School boards are encouraged to send teams from their board and include their key community partners for networking opportunities following the summit. This year the theme is Beyond Collaboration: Towards Integrated Systems for Supporting Child and Youth Mental Health.
Legislative Assembly of Ontario adjourns for Winter Recess after December 14, 2017, leaving eight sitting days left this session. It will then
resume on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.
On November 30, Rusty Hick, our Executive Director and President
Laurie French addressed the Standing Committee on Justice Policy regarding Bill
174, Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act,
2017. The bill has been time allocated which means it is moving fairly quickly
through the legislative process. The focus of our remarks were to highlight the
importance of education throughout the implementation of the legalization of recreational
cannabis. Our remarks included:
Our written submission includes more commentary on the above
and other parts of the overall bill. The Committee meets next on December
4 for clausal review and will return to the House for Third Reading.
OPSBA Submission and speaking remarks
On November 1, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi introduced
the government's official cannabis legislation. The omnibus legislation enacts
two new bills, the Cannabis Act and the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation
Act. It also repeals the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes
Act, replacing them with a new Smoke-Free Ontario Act, and amends the Highway
Traffic Act regarding driving under the influence of drugs.
OPSBA has reviewed the proposed legislation and
its education implications, such as changes to board policies,
procedures, updating curriculum (age/grade information), suspensions and expulsions, input on public awareness and youth/young adult prevention
etc. – some of which were outlined in a letter sent to the Ministry of Education on September 19, 2017. Much of the actions/changes concerning
the legalization of cannabis will follow education and school board practices
for tobacco and alcohol that are applicable to students and employees.
Bill 174 was time allocated and referred to the Standing Committee
on Justice Policy. The Committee intends to hold public hearings in Toronto on November 29, 2017 and November 30, 2017. Those interested
in making an oral presentation on Bill 174 need to contact the clerk
by 10 a.m. on November 27, 2017. Those who do not wish to make
an oral presentation but wish to comment on the Bill may send a written
submission to the clerk of the Committee by 6:00 p.m. on November 30, 2017. OPSBA has requested to make an oral presentation. The
Committee clerk can be reached at email@example.com
OPSBA sent our submission to the Ministry of
Education's consultation regarding Governance-Related Issues. Feedback
was received from individual trustees, as well as entire boards. Additionally,
OPSBA connected with OSTA-AECO, CODE and the other school board/trustee
associations to align key messages and areas of advocacy. The Policy
Development Work Team took the lead on this submission and a summary was
shared with all trustees prior to their November regional meetings. It was also
shared with the Northern Trustees who had their meeting in October. The
deadline for comments has been extended to November 30, 2017.
All OPSBA submissions and
letters are available on our web site under the Advocacy and Action page.
Earlier this fall, Premier Kathleen Wynne and Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter announced a review of Ontario's student assessment practices. Led by the Minister's Education Advisors, the independent review aims to ensure that Ontario's student assessments are culturally relevant, able to measure a wider range of learning, and better reflect student well-being and equity.
Over the next several weeks, the Advisors will be holding public engagement sessions across the province to seek input on how to improve student assessment.
Read OPSBA's Discussion Paper on EQAO and Large Scale Testing in Ontario
Read the Public Engagement Paper
All members of the community are welcome to attend public engagement sessions, at the following times:
6 to 6:30 p.m. – Open House
6:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Roundtable Meeting
Meeting locations, dates and links to register for the public session are below. Child minding is provided.
Note: Advance registration is not required, but will help with planning and preparations. During registration, there will be an opportunity to advise of any accommodation needs that will support your ability to fully participate in the engagement session in your region.
The government states that any input gathered directly from parents/caregivers, students, teachers/educators, officials, business leaders and the broader community will be used to help develop recommendations for improving Ontario's assessment practices.
More information on the engagement program and other ways to give input can be found: OntarioALearningProvince.ca.
School boards association raises question of store locationsJennifer Hamilton-McCharles, North Bay Nugget, Nov. 15, 2017The Ontario Public School Boards' Association is asking school trustees across the province how close cannabis stores should be to elementary and secondary schools?
Near North trustee Michelina Beam says schools want to get ahead of the issue before the drug becomes legal next summer.
Don't miss the stimulating, thought-provoking sessions planned for the 2018 OPSBA Public Education Symposium (PES), which will be held from January 25 to 27 at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto.
Pre-Symposium – January 25:
Main Symposium – January 25 – 27:
Keynote Speaker - Evening of January 25
YONG ZHAO, "Perils or Promises: Education in the Age of Smart
Machines"Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership, University of Oregon; and Foundations Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas.
Keynote Speakers and Sessions – January 26 and 27
For further information and the complimentary Student Trustee code, contact the OPSBA webmaster.
Legislature is closed on Monday, November 13, for the Remembrance Day holiday.
When the House returns on Tuesday, November 14, Finance Minister Charles Sousa
will present his fall economic statement.
Ministry of Education announced $2.7 million to implement a revised curriculum
on Indigenous histories, cultures and contributions in Grades 4 and 6 social
studies classes and Grades 7, 8 and 10 history classes. The revisions, which
were consulted on by residential schools survivors, First Nations, Métis and
Inuit partners, are in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s
Calls to Action. The announcement was made during Ontario’s second annual
Treaties Recognition Week. Indigenous Relations Minister David Zimmer also
recognized November 8 as Aboriginal Veterans Day.
News Release, Ministry of Education
News Release, Ministry of Indigenous Relations and
announced the first 14 municipalities that will be assigned cannabis retail
stores on July 1, 2018. The selected municipalities include: Barrie, Brampton,
Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Mississauga, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie,
Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vaughan and Windsor. Cannabis retail sites are
to be accessible to the community, able to outshine existing illegal markets
and be away from school zones. The LCBO and the Ministry of Finance are now
working with the selected municipalities to discuss guidelines for siting
stores. OPSBA will be advocating to ensure school boards and trustees are involved
in these discussions.
LCBO Cannabis Updates
OPSBA sent a letter
to Education Minister Hunter recommending the creation of a working group to
assess EDC by-law implications across the province and review the current
regulation. OPSBA supports a revised regulation to allow more local flexibility
for capital and renewal costs.
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is adjourned for a constituency week and returns on November 14; there is no session on November 13 to recognize Remembrance Day. Upon returning, MPPs have 19 sitting days before Winter Recess on December 14, 2017.
On November 3, Education Minister Mitzie Hunter announced changes to the Grade 10 Career Studies Course to include four areas of learning. These are:
The enhancements will be in place for September 2018. Ministry News Release
On November 1, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi introduced the government's official cannabis regulation legislation. The omnibus legislation enacts two new bills, the Cannabis Act and the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act. It also repeals the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act, replacing them with a new Smoke-Free Ontario Act. It also amends the Highway Traffic Act regarding driving under the influence of drugs.
The bill creates the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, which will be run by the LCBO and tasked with opening 40 cannabis retail locations by July 1, 2018. It will also control all online sales of cannabis. Marijuana use will be banned in public places and will only be sold to people 19 and over. The bill includes "strict, escalating penalties" for illegal storefront dispensaries to discourage them from reopening after a raid. Corporations could face fines up to $1 million plus jail time for the illegal sale of cannabis. An individual under the age of 19 caught possessing marijuana could face a $200 fine. An adult caught consuming marijuana in public will face a fine of up $1,000 on the first conviction and up to $5,000 for subsequent convictions. Bill 174 increases penalties for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, including a zero tolerance policy for young drivers and contains a provision authorizing the use of automated school bus camera systems and their resulting evidence.
OPSBA will be reviewing the proposed legislation and its implications on education. The Ministry has indicated that a memo to the sector will be sent soon.
Ministry of Education Memo re Supports for Schools (Apr. 19, 2017)
Ministry of Education slide deck presented to OPSBA PDWT and EPWT (Sept. 8, 2017)
Bill 174 (54 pages).
October 27, 2017: Ontario Taking Next Steps to Identify Cannabis Store Locations
September 18, 2017: Ontario Improving Road Safety Ahead of Cannabis Legalization
September 8, 2017: Ontario Releases Safe and Sensible Framework To Manage Federal Legalization of Cannabis