The following is an update on recent legislative activity.
Earlier today, Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé released his report, The Route of the Problem, which investigated school busing delays and disruptions at the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board at the start of the 2016-17 school year. The report includes 42 recommendations directed to The Toronto Student Transportation Group (consortia) and the boards. This is the first systemic investigation related to school boards.
The Ombudsman's news release and report
The joint TDSB and TCDSB news release
On July 21, 2017, the Ministry of Education announced an upcoming fall consultation to “improve the delivery of student transportation.” Joan Green and Michel Paulin will be leading this engagement and OPSBA will follow up to ensure our members are involved.
Earlier today, Minister of Children and Youth Services, Michael Coteau, released this third annual report that looks at supporting youth between 12 and 25. The report contains seven themes of youth well-being. These are:
Ministry Annual Report
On August 8, 2017, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi announced he will introduce legislation this fall to create two new Northern Ontario ridings ahead of the next election. This is in response to the final report from the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission, which recommended improving representation in the province’s two largest ridings: Kenora–Rainy River and Timmins—James Bay. The new ridings, Kiiwetinoong and Mushkegowuk, will represent large Indigenous and Francophone populations. Kiiwetinoong and Mushkegowuk are in addition to the 15 new ridings that were legislated last year and will bring the total number of ridings in the June 2018 election to 124, up from the current 107.
The following is an update on recent items.
Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017This legislation was
introduced on June 1, 2017, by Minister of Labour Kevin Daniel. The bill
was referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs by the
House, to be studied over the summer. The legislation builds upon the
final Changing Workplaces Review – a 420-page report containing 173
recommendations for how the province can improve its workplace
The bill includes raising Ontario's minimum wage, expanding personal emergency
leaves, changes to employment standards and other issues all intended to create
fairer workplaces. The Committee held public meetings throughout the month of
July. OPSBA reviewed the proposed legislation and sought legal counsel for
education sector impacts and provided a submission to the Committee last
OPSBA will continue to follow this legislation when the House resumes in September. Bill C-45, Cannabis Act Last April, the Federal government introduced proposed legislation that will legalize and regulate cannabis across the country by July 2018. In Ontario, the Legalization of Cannabis Secretariat (LCS) has been established and is planning to engage stakeholders over the summer 2017 on topics related to the Federal government's planned legalization (such as health regulations, youth prevention). On July 12, 2017 the LCS announced an online public survey consultation with a deadline of July 31, 2017. There are five topic areas for feedback:
Government news release
Online survey Next week, OPSBA will be participating in a meeting with experts, the government and other stakeholders. This consultation will include all parts of the legalization, from regulatory changes to public education. The intent is to inform Ontario's Cannabis Bill and provide input on public awareness and youth/young adult prevention. Also, OPSBA's work teams, Education Program and Policy Development, are meeting in early September and this will be on the agenda. In fall/winter, the Ministry of Education will be engaging with OPSBA, along with the other three trustee associations on youth prevention. Child Care Announcement On July 20, 2017, the Ministry of Education announced the appointment of Dr. Gordon Cleveland to review and provide recommendations to improve access to fee subsidies and making child care more affordable. He is to report back with recommendations by February 2018. Dr. Cleveland is an economics professor at the University of Toronto's Scarborough campus. This appointment is part of Ontario's Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework that was announced in June. The Framework is a Seven Point Action Plan that includes: increasing access, enhancing affordability, establishing a workforce strategy, determining a provincial definition of "quality", a renewed approach to inclusion, creating an outcomes and measurement strategy and a public awareness campaign.
Ministry memo to early years partners
Other InformationTwo new working groups were announced earlier this year to begin work in September 2017 as follows:
OPSBA will continue to provide updates and information about these working groups.
Ontario Ministers Outline Actions to Address First Nations Youth Health and Safety Crisis, Jul. 24, 2017
Ontario Increasing Access to Affordable Child Care, Jul 20, 2017
Ontario Bringing More Canadian Books to Classrooms, Jul. 19, 2017
Ontario Seeking Public Input on Federal Plan to Legalize Cannabis, Jul. 12, 2017
OPSBA President Laurie French represented Ontario's public school boards at the Canadian School Boards Association's Annual Congress, held July 5-8, 2017 in Whistler, B.C. in conjunction with the National Trustee Gathering on Aboriginal Education.
President French reported on current and upcoming Ontario education issues during the Cross-Canada Check-In, including highlights of our advocacy and work in the past year including: indigenous education, mental health and well-being, community hubs, French as a second language, education funding, rural and remote education, legislative submissions, collective bargaining and labour relations, EQAO discussion paper, executive compensation, and the 2018 municipal and school board elections.
Speakers at this year's Congress included Charlene Bearhead, Education Coordinator, National Inquiry Into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls; Peter Garrow, OPSBA's Indigenous Trustees' Council; Yong Zhao, Foundation Distinguished Professor, School of Education, University of Kansas; David Albury, Director, Innovation Unit, United Kingdom; David King, Former Executive Director, Public School Boards' Association of Alberta; Former Minister, Alberta Ministry of Education; Former Chairman, Council of Ministers of Education for Canada; and Mohamed Fahmy, Journalist and Honorary Research Associate, UBC School of Journalism.
2017 Honorary Memberships were presented to Gail Anderson (OPSBA) and Brian Shortall (Newfoundland Labrador).
Congratulations to Floyd Martens (Manitoba) and Goronwy Price (Newfoundland Labrador) for being acclaimed to the positions of President and Vice-President of CSBA at the Annual General Meeting.
CSBA 2018 will be held July 4-8, 2018 at the Westin Hotel in Halifax, Nova Scotia
On June 16, we provided our submission regarding this review based on the feedback from our membership. On June 28, Minister of Education Mitzie Hunter announced a "Plan to Strengthen Rural and Northern Education." The Minister was joined by the three parliamentary assistants who had participated in the recent engagement sessions; Grant Crack, Granville Anderson and Lou Rinaldi. Key points of the plan for school boards are:
The additional funds and focus will help the needs of our rural and remote school communities. However, we will continue to advocate for all school boards who are doing their best to deliver quality programming while facing financial challenges, aging infrastructure and declining enrolment.
Remote and Rural Education Plan highlights
On June 27, 2017, Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé released his office's Annual Report – the first in his five-year term which began April 1, 2016. The report includes a breakdown of the number of cases per school system and by each board. In total, 945 cases about school boards were received in 2016-2017 with the top five topics being transportation, staff/trustee conduct, special education, student safety and school closings/accommodation reviews. An overview of the cases and trends in school boards can be found beginning on page 43 and the individual statistics are on page 70.
News release from Office of the Ombudsman
On June 29, 2017,
OPSBA, along with the other three school board associations, sent
a submission to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) regarding
an upcoming review of the OHRC’s Guidelines on Accessible Education.
Online registration is now open for the Summit on Children and Youth Mental Health!
This unique event unites the voices of educators, professional student services personnel, mental health and health professionals, children service agencies, children service advocates, families and students.
April 12 and 13, 2018 Beanfield Centre (formerly Allstream Centre, CNE grounds) 105 Princes' Boulevard Toronto M6K 3C3
Hosted by the Ontario Coalition for Children and Youth Mental Health – a multi-sector group committed to urgent and positive change for children and youth mental health services in Ontario, the Summit focuses on working across tiered systems of support for promotion, prevention and intervention.
The theme of the 2018 Summit is Beyond Collaboration: Towards Integrated Systems for Supporting Child and Youth Mental Health. Acclaimed speakers will offer evidence-informed practices, programs and resources that have been shown to work and can make a real difference in the lives of children, youth and their families.
Participants will have a unique opportunity to network across sectors. It is recommended that you register a multi-sector team from your community to continue the dialogue beyond the Summit.
MPPs rose for summer recess on June 1, 2017, and return on Monday, September 11, 2017. The following is an update on recent items.
OPSBA provided a submission to the Ministry consultation on June 16, 2017. The content was based on feedback from the ten engagement sessions, as well as the discussion at the recent Policy Development Work Team, Executive Council and Board of Directors. OPSBA staff have met with policy staff from Minister's Hunter office who were appreciative of our submission and the comments. We expect information about next steps very soon.
Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017Bill 148 was introduced on June 1, 2017, by Minister of Labour Kevin Daniel. That same day the bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, which was given permission from the House to meet over the summer to study the bill. The legislation builds upon the final "Changing Workplaces Review" – a 420-page report containing 173 recommendations for how the province can improve its workplace regulations. The bill includes raising Ontario's minimum wage, expanding personal emergency leaves, changes to employment standards and other issues all intended to create fairer workplaces. OPSBA will be reviewing the bill for school board implications and reaching out to member board CFOs and Human Resources staff.
The committee will be holding public meetings in Thunder Bay, North Bay, Ottawa, Kingston, and Windsor-Essex the week of July 10, 2017. Public meetings will also be held in London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Niagara, Hamilton and Toronto during the week of July 17, 2017. Written submissions are due Friday, July 21, 2017.
Earlier this week, the ministry announced details for the 38 school construction projects across the province – a combination of new schools, renovations and additions. This funding was previously announced in the GSNs, but the specific project were not identified. The ministry backgrounder lists the 38 locations.
On June 6, 2017, the government announced Ontario's Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework. The Framework is a Seven Point Action Plan that includes: Increasing Access, Enhancing Affordability, Establishing a Workforce Strategy, Determining a Provincial Definition of "Quality", A Renewed Approach to Inclusion, Creating an Outcomes and Measurement Strategy and a Public Awareness Campaign.
On June 16, 2017, the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario announced the first Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreement. This followed an earlier announcement on June 12 when the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework was announced, addressing the federal government's long term vision and plans for children across the country. The June 16 Ontario announcement includes a three year bi-lateral agreement allocating $435 million to the sector. The priority areas for this funding are: increasing access to child cares (including money to municipalities for subsidies), Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres (expansion) and Training & Professional Development (more opportunities and ECE qualification upgrades).
The University of Guelph has partnered with the Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO) to offer professional development opportunities for school board staff leaders to earn a Diploma in School Board Administration.
The Leadership and Ethics online course examines major themes and concepts related to
leadership and ethics within the context of school board administration. As
part of the course, participants will be introduced to various frameworks and tests,
including emotional intelligence and ethical decision-making.
For more information and to register, visit http://opened.uoguelph.ca/
Ontario school closings will be put on hold as province reviews processKristin Rushowy, The Star, Jun. 28The government has put a temporary halt on any future school closings across the province, saying it plans to overhaul the entire process after hearing concerns from hard-hit rural and northern communities.More ...
Halton, Peel Catholic boards receive funds for new schools, renovationsKristin Rushowy, The Star, Jun. 20Two boards in Greater Toronto are receiving funding for new schools and renovations, which are among 38 projects announced this week that will also create 460 child-care spaces across the province.More ...
Helping Communities Access Integrated Public Services, Jun. 29, 2017
Province Strengthening Education in Rural and Northern Ontario, Jun. 28, 2017
Schools Honoured for Creating Positive Learning Environments, Jun. 26, 2017
Statement from Minister and Deputy Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation on National Aboriginal Day, Jun. 21, 2017
Ontario Enhancing Support for Refugees and Newcomers, Jun. 20, 2017
Ontario Building New Schools and Additions Across Province, Jun. 19, 2017
The Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario Concludes the First Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreement, Jun. 16, 2017
Ontario Reaches Tentative Extension Agreement with AMAPCEO, Jun. 14, 2017
Schools Receiving $1.4 Billion for Repairs and Renewal This Year, Jun. 13, 2017
Ontario Reaches Tentative Extension Agreements with OPSEU, Jun. 12, 2017
Ontario Transforming Autism Services for Children and Their Families, Jun. 8, 2017
More Educational Opportunities for Indigenous Students, Jun. 7, 2017
Ontario Making Child Care More Accessible and Affordable for Families, Jun. 6, 2017
Ontario Continuing Progress on Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, Jun. 5, 2017
Ontario Preparing Students for Jobs of Tomorrow, Jun. 5, 2017
Ontario Introduces Legislation to Create Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs, Jun. 1, 2017
Ontario Passes Anti-Racism Legislation, Jun. 1, 2017
Ontario Passes Legislation to Strengthen Child Welfare and Improve Outcomes for Youth, Jun. 1, 2017
OPSBA Connects is the Ontario Public School Boards' Association's online newsletter, providing the province's public education sector with the news needed to make informed decisions on the issues that matter to students and their families.