Ontario government will fund line-by-line audits for 10 school boards, but none have accepted the offerThe Toronto Star, Jun. 12, 2019The Ontario government has set aside funds to conduct detailed audits at 10 of the province’s 72 public school boards, says a recent memo sent out to chairs.More ...
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario has risen for summer recess. The government passed a motion on June 6 that will see MPPs return to Queen's Park on October 28, 2019 – a week after the Federal Election. The government issued a news release, Ontario Government Protecting What Matters Most, summarizing their spring session activities.
There is speculation that the Premier may conduct a cabinet shuffle that includes the education portfolio. OPSBA will share details and information if, and when, any changes are announced. June 7 marked the one year anniversary of the PC Party of Ontario winning a majority government in the 2018 provincial election.
Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy introduced this legislation on June 5. The legislation proposes to cap public sector wage hikes to an average of 1% per year for the next three years. It impacts over a million unionized and non-unionized employees and applies to future collective agreements with the public service, school boards, teachers, colleges and universities, nurses, the OPP, Ornge, Ontario Power Generation, the Independent Electricity System Operator, childrens' aid societies, hospitals, and several other bodies. Municipalities and entities they are responsible for, such as firefighters and local police, are not covered by the legislation, nor is the Ontario Medical Association, judges or certain broader public sector executives, including those on school boards who are under the Broader Public Executive Compensation Act, 2014. The rationale is that their wages have been largely frozen for the past decade. The government plans to launch an informational website and hold consultations related to the plan during the summer break. In April, Bethlenfalvy announced consultations with public sector unions over the compensation. OPSBA attended a session along with the other school board/trustee associations.
Treasury Board staff are continuing to work toward a broader public sector executive compensation model to move beyond the current freeze and have indicated that they do not object to the salary frameworks approved last year. The four trustee associations, as well as the Council of Directors of Education (CODE), are being asked for representative samples of the following:
Treasury Board officials have stated that any salary increases will need to include performance-based assessment and that increases based solely on time in the position would not be supported. OPSBA is working with CODE and will also follow up directly with Board of Director members in a separate communication about the above requests. The Association has always supported local board autonomy and individual practices and processes for the selection and review of their Director of Education.
The OPSBA 2019 elections will be held as part of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) which takes place from July 4-6, 2019 at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto. Click here for the chart with the nominations received. Nominations for the Education Program and Policy Development Work Teams can be made from the floor at regional meetings.
MPPs sat on Sunday, June 2,
from 6 p.m. to midnight, and there is also the possibility of evening sittings
this week. It’s not unusual for governments to extend sittings to pass
legislation before rising for the summer break,
as they are scheduled to do after June 6, 2019.
This legislation was introduced on May 2 by Minister
of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark. The bill was
time allocated and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy with
written submissions due May 31, 2019. This legislation contains proposed
amendments to 13 different schedules, including Schedule 4, Education Act. The
proposed Education Act amendments concentrate on two financial matters -
land expropriation and Education Development Charges (EDCs). On May 31, OPSBA sent a submission based on feedback from member board business officials and the
Policy Development Work Team.
This legislation was introduced by Minister of Health and
Long-Term Care Christine Elliott on May 27. The bill would enact two
Schedules, the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence Act, 2019 and
the Opioid Damages and Health Costs Recovery Act, 2019. The legislation was
accompanied by a government news release, Improving
Quality Mental Health and Addictions Services Across Ontario.
On May 31, OPSBA provided the Ministry of Education with
for their Next Phase of
Consultations on Hiring Practices and Class Sizes. This was announced in March as part of the Government’s New Vision for Education, “Education that Works for You”,
with details included in Ministry Memo B9. Our response builds on and supports our February submission to the government on
the same issues. Our Labour
Relations team worked with member boards via HR leads (senior
negotiators) and the Association’s Labour Relations Steering Committee.
Additional feedback was obtained by OPSBA’s Executive Council, Board of
Directors, both the Education Program and Policy Development Work Teams, as
well as input from trustees at April regional meetings.
OPSBA has previously commented on these topics in both a
news release, OPSBA
welcomes continued engagement but has class size concerns and a separate statement.
In early May, Minister of Children, Community and Social
Services Lisa MacLeod, announced details for the government’s plans for their public
consultations regarding the Ontario Autism Program (OAP). The
consultations included telephone town halls, an online survey and an
opportunity for individuals to email their additional information or comments. To prepare our response, OPSBA
coordinated two teleconferences with member board superintendents responsible
for special education. With this feedback, a draft submission was then shared
with the Education Program and Policy Development Work Teams. Our final submission
was shared with the Ministry on May 30 and OPSBA’s Board of Directors.
On May 30, Minister MacLeod announced the creation of an Autism
Advisory Panel. The 20-member panel will provide recommendations to the
Minister by September based on the feedback from the public consultations.
In late May, the Premier announced the creation of an Audit
and Accountability Fund. School boards have
many checks and balances throughout the year including quarterly reporting,
provision of estimates, revised estimates, and March and year-end financial
statement reports. These last two reports have external auditor oversight, with
the year-end report containing an audit opinion. In addition, the Ministry of
Education’s finance staff review all submissions for compliance and boards have
internal audit departments.
Ministry Memo to Board Chairs re Audit and Accountability Fund
The OPSBA 2019 elections will be held as part of the Annual
General Meeting (AGM) which takes place from July 4 to 6, 2019, at the Westin
Harbour Castle in Toronto. Click here for the chart with the nominations
received to date. All nominations received by the nomination deadline of 4:30
p.m. on June 4, 2019, will be published in the OPSBA Election Guide.
In collaboration with Elections Canada, CIVIX is preparing
to deliver its sixth federal Student Vote program, with the goal of reaching
more than 1 million students throughout the country. Registration is now open
and click here for more information.
The student trustee association recently held
their Annual General Meeting and elected new student trustees to their senior
positions. These include: Public Board Council President-elect Sarah Chun
(Thames Valley DSB); Public Board Council Vice-president-elect Sam Abbott
(Renfrew County DSB); and President-elect Sally Meseret from the Durham DSB.
In 2009, with the passing of a unanimous motion in the House of
Commons, June was declared National Indigenous History Month. Each June,
Canadians are invited to celebrate the heritage,
diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples by taking part in National Indigenous
History Month events and festivities.
National Indigenous Peoples History Month is a time to acknowledge
the role Indigenous peoples played, and continued to play, in the development
of Canada, to honour Indigenous heritage and to celebrate Indigenous cultures.
It is also an opportunity to reflect on the strength of present day First
Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, and their hopes for the future.
June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples
Day. June 21 was chosen because of the
cultural significance of the summer solstice - the first day of summer and
longest day of the year, the rebirth of Mother Earth - and because many Indigenous
Peoples communities mark this day as a time to celebrate their heritage.
Setting aside a day for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples is part of the
wider recognition of their primary and founding place within the fabric of
Canada and their ongoing contributions as First Peoples. This is a special day
to celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements
of First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples in Canada.
It was in 1982 that the National Indian Brotherhood (now the
Assembly of First Nations) called for the creation of June 21 as National
Aboriginal Solidarity Day. This call was renewed in 1995 when The Sacred
Assembly, a national conference of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people chaired
by Elijah Harper, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions
of Indigenous peoples. In 1996, National Aboriginal Day was proclaimed by
former Governor General Roméo A. LeBlanc.
This has now become a day in the Canadian calendar
when First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples express pride in their
rich diverse cultures with their families, neighbours, friends and visitors.
National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day for the Ontario Public School
Boards' Association, its member boards and for all of Canada to honour the
traditions, cultures, languages and contributions of First Nation, Métis
and Inuit peoples.
We offer a warm thank you to the First Nations trustees who
serve on OPSBA's Indigenous Trustees'
Council and school boards across the province. We send greetings and
good wishes to First Nation, Métis and Inuit students, parents,
teachers and communities on this day of celebration.
Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Resources
Peoples Day Learning Resources
range of contemporary and historical resources and Ontario events
Is your school teaching students about sustainability?
Does it have environmental education programs for students and staff? The
Canada Green Building Council and the Canada Coalition for Green Schools are
looking for schools like yours – that are weaving sustainability education into
their curriculum and bringing programs and activities to students that
encourage awareness about the environment.
Greenest School in Canada wins
The winning school will receive $2,000 in prize money to use for a green
activity and the coveted title of Greenest School in Canada.
The deadline to apply is June 15, 2019.
you're educating students about sustainability. Schools that offer any grade
from kindergarten to grade 12 in Canada are eligible to participate in the
Greenest School in Canada competition, and will be judged on criteria
including: efficient use of resources and reduced environmental impact;
enhanced health and learning among students, teachers and staff; and emphasis
on sustainability and resource-conservation education.
MPPs return to Queen's Park on May 27, leaving eight sitting days scheduled until their summer break.
This legislation was introduced on May 2, 2019, by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark. OPSBA is reviewing the legislation and its proposed amendments, which includes a reference to Education Development Charges. The Ministry of Education has indicated that there will be engagement with the sector. We will continue our advocacy for an increase in the charges to cover board costs and flexibility in the regulation to support our member boards with areas of growth. The other piece included in Bill 108 is an amendment to the Education Act to "require a school board to give notice to the Minister if it plans to acquire or expropriate land and to allow the Minister to reject the board's plans." Timelines for boards to notify the Minister and for the Minister to make a decision are to be determined by regulation. OPSBA is working with its member board business officials to gauge the impact of this added layer of oversight and its potential to make the expropriation process longer and more complicated.
Current Status: Second Reading Debate
This bill was introduced on May 2, by Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek and proposes the ability for municipalities to impose fines on those drivers who drive past school buses with their stop-arms out and drivers who are speeding near schools. OPSBA has sent letters to both AMO and the City of Toronto.
Current Status: Standing Committee on General Government. The bill is due back in the House for third reading by May 29.
Child Care and Early Years Act and Education Act regulationsFollowing the passage of Bill 66 (Royal Assent received on April 3), the Ministry of Education issued a consultation document entitled Proposed Regulatory Amendments under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 and the Education Act. These regulations are part of the government's multi-year and phased-in approach for many recent regulations, including those that were part of Bill 66. OPSBA did provide a submission with the feedback obtained via the Early Learning leads at our member boards, the Policy Development Work Team, as well as past commentary.
The paper contains an overview and details of the grant formulas and other criteria for funding through the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) that are used to calculate school boards' 2019-2020 budgets.
Click here for all other 2019-20 GSN and Priorities and Partnerships Fund information.
On May 21, Premier Doug Ford announced funding of $7.35 million for the creation of an Audit and Accountability Fund. The fund is directed at "large urban municipalities and district school boards interested in conducting line-by-line reviews." OPSBA has reached out to the Treasury Board Secretariat for more information and President Cathy Abraham has provided initial comments to the Toronto Star and the Canadian Press.
School boards have many checks and balances throughout the year, including quarterly reporting, provision of estimates, revised estimates, and March and year-end financial statement reports. These last two reports have external auditor oversight, with the year-end report containing an audit opinion. In addition, the Ministry of Education's finance staff review all submissions for compliance. Boards also have internal audit departments.
On May 21, the Premier's Office released Premier Ford Asks Partners to Find Four Per Cent Savings and Help Protect Front-Line Services
No details have been shared with the sector regarding this task force that was announced in the 2019-20 Ontario Budget. On May 22, OPSBA sent a letter to Minister Thompson requesting details and information to be released. The following is an excerpt from the 2019-20 Ontario Budget: Creating a Minister's Task Force on School Boards: The government is committed to ensuring that every dollar spent in the classroom is having the greatest impact on student achievement. This involves looking at all aspects of the education system, including school board operations, while respecting the four publicly funded education systems in Ontario. The Ministry of Education will be undertaking a thorough review of how boards can conduct their operations in the most efficient manner to best serve students and parents while ensuring their long-term sustainability. This process will be kicked off by the creation of a minister's task force. The government looks forward to engaging with experts and education partners in this important conversation.
city or community facing challenges from traffic congestion and vehicle
greenhouse gas emissions? Is your school board looking for ways to manage the
costs of busing?
Join a free webinar on May 28, 2019 to learn about how an award-winning program
that encourages high school students to ride public transit helped Kingston, ON, address these issues. Gain
inspiration and discover tools and resources your municipality can use to
develop a similar initiative.
Click here to learn more and register.
School boards 'need to get their act together,' says Doug FordThe Toronto Star, May 31, 2019Premier Doug Ford says school boards “need to get their act together” and again pledged that no teacher will lose their job because of changes brought in by his government.More...
Teachers’ union claims talks with Ontario government over new contract have hit a snagThe Globe and Mail, May 24, 2019Ontario’s high-school teachers’ union is warning that its initial discussions with the government to reach a new contract have hit a snag.
In a memo to members on Friday, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) said the government and the school boards’ association want more control of issues at the central table and it would prefer those issues be bargained between local unions and individual school districts.More ...
High school teacher talks off to a rough start, union saysThe Toronto Star, May 24, 2019Ontario’s high school teachers say pre-bargaining talks have gotten off to a rough start, with the two sides already at an impasse over what should be negotiated provincially and what can be left to individual boards.More ...
Empty classrooms no more: Durham schools inviting community partners to use vacant spaceDurhamRegion.com, May 24, 2019DURHAM — As Grandview Children’s Centre works on building a new headquarters in Ajax, work is also underway on a smaller — but significant — Grandview space in Oshawa.
Vacant classrooms at Monsignor Paul Dwyer Catholic High School are being converted into a 5,000-square-foot, full-service Grandview location, which is expected to open in the fall.More ...
Toronto District School Board asked to ‘take a stand’ against Ford government cutsThe Toronto Star, May 22, 2019Support staff working in Toronto public schools are asking the board to “take a stand” and refuse to implement cuts needed to balance the budget because of provincial funding shortfalls.More ...
Ford offers millions for municipalities, school boards to review budgetsThe Canadian Press, May 21, 2019TORONTO -- Large Ontario municipalities and school boards facing hundreds of millions in funding cuts were offered financial support from the province Tuesday aimed at finding savings in their budgets, a move critics called a "public relations stunt."More ...
Ford offers school boards and municipalities money to hunt for savingsThe Toronto Star, May 21, 2019After hitting municipalities with cutbacks in provincial funding, Premier Doug Ford says his government will now spend $7.35 million to help them find savings.More ...
Ministry of Education set to release Indigenous curriculum soon; partners' input to be added laterCBC News, May 20, 2019The province is preparing to release its revised Indigenous curriculum for Ontario classrooms.
But the Conservative government says it won't be collaborating with its Indigenous partners until after the plan is released.More ...
Budget cuts speed up conversation about school closuresThe Toronto Star, May 17, 2019Smaller high schools may be on the chopping block as Ontario school boards work to implement the Ford government’s plan to phase out thousands of teaching positions over the next four years.More ...
Public hearings took place for the government's budget implementation legislation and OPSBA sent a submission on May 9 to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Our submission reflected our support for the Reciprocal Education Approach and outlines our concerns and questions about moving the Minister of Education's authority to approve and authorize in-year deficits from the Education Act into a regulation.
Current Status: Clausal review will occur on May 13 and May 14, 2019. The bill is to report back to the House on May 15, 2019. '
Note: On May 10, Memo SB06, 2019-20 Estimates (District School Boards) was sent to Senior Business Officials. The memo includes the following about in-year deficits:
Should the Bill [Bill 100] receive Royal Assent, the ministry intends to propose to the Lieutenant Governor in Council a regulation that would:
Any deficit over the threshold would still require formal approval from the Minister before school boards can pass their budget.
This legislation was introduced on May 2, by Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark. OPSBA is reviewing the legislation and its proposed amendments, which includes a reference to Education Development Charges. The Ministry of Education has indicated that there will be engagement with the sector. We will continue our advocacy for an increase in the charges to cover board costs and flexibility in the regulation to support our member boards with areas of growth.
Current Status: Second Reading Debate
This bill was introduced on May 2 by Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek and proposes the ability for municipalities to impose fines on those drivers who drive past school buses with their stop-arms out, and drivers who are speeding near schools. OPSBA will recommend that any monies collected from fines be shared with school boards for student safety initiatives.
On May 6, the Ontario Student Trustees' Association - l'Association des Élèves Conseillers/ères de l'Ontario (OSTA-AECO) released their student-developed policy "vision document" at Queen's Park. OSTA-AECO, which advocates on behalf of two million pupils, is urging the province to reverse course on plans to increase class sizes in Grades 4 and up and require more mandatory online high school classes, which will have "a detrimental effect on student learning." In total, there are 33 recommendations captured under six pillars. On behalf of the Association, OPSBA's Second VP Carol Ann Sloat attended the event.
The OPSBA Board of Directors held a meeting on May 3 and 4, 2019, in Toronto. Lucille Kyle, Vice-Chair of OPSBA's Indigenous Trustees' Council (ITC), gave an acknowledgement that the meeting was being held on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and the Métis Nation.
Ryan Brown and Sean McCloskey, President and Vice-President, respectively, of the Ontario Student Trustees' Association's (OSTA-AECO) Public Board Council attended on Friday night and spoke to OPSBA Directors regarding the association's 2018-19 focus and key initiatives. They also noted the benefits of student trustees belonging to OSTA-AECO and encouraged all school boards to join their association.
Education policy and program issues that were discussed in public session at the meeting are summarized below.
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario adjourned for a constituency week that coincided with the Easter break. MPPs reconvened on April 29. There is one more constituency week scheduled to align with Victoria Day and the current parliamentary calendar lists the last sitting day as June 6, 2019. Updates were provided on recent and current legislation including:
OPSBA President Cathy Abraham was joined by Executive Council members, the Indigenous Trustees' Council Vice Chair, student trustee leaders and OPSBA senior staff in an Advocacy Day at Queen's Park on April 8, 2019.
Updates were provided on the release of the Grants for Student Needs and the 2019-20 Ontario Budget.
A summary of B and SB memoranda is available on the OPSBA website.
Updates on recent OPSBA communications issues were provided. OPSBA has released two statements and two media releases since the last Board of Directors meeting February. These can be found on the OPSBA website. OPSBA, through President Cathy Abraham, has been extremely active in the provincial news media in the past two months, with more than two dozen interviews and media appearances speaking to school board concerns including the provincial budget, proposed changes to class size and e-learning, and the Ontario Autism Program.
A summary of Ministry meetings, workgroups and program-related announcements was provided. Information shared included updates on the following:
Ontario Autism Program (OAP) Public ConsultationsOn May 1, 2019, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod, announced details for the government's plans for their public consultations regarding the Ontario Autism Program (OAP). The government's consultations will occur during the month of May and include telephone town halls, an online survey and an opportunity for individuals to email their additional information or comments. OPSBA will be responding to the consultation.
Ministry Initiatives CommitteeThe Ministry held the first Ministry Initiatives Committee on March 6, 2019. The focus of the meeting was mathematics. Consultation questions were provided regarding a revised math curriculum and the math content test for teachers.
EQAOAn online/teleconference information session was recently held and geared toward new trustees, but any trustee was able to attend. The intention is to archive the slide deck and voice over for anyone to access on the EQAO site. EQAO will notify OPSBA when it is available. The next EQAO meeting is on May 29, 2019.
National Conversation on Student Based Mental HealthFor the past several years, the McConnell Foundation has been supporting work across Canada to kickstart efforts in integrating well-being into K-12 education through its "Well Ahead" initiative. As a part of this initiative, McConnell has supported School Mental Health ASSIST to identify and describe key elements that support the use of effective, scalable, and sustainable mental health and well-being practices in Ontario schools. The national conversation held in August identified challenges and opportunities in common across the provinces. The next roundtable will be held in Fredericton and OPSBA staff have been invited.
Service Dog Policies in School BoardsThe Ministry of Education has released a survey and draft Policy/Program Memorandum to consult on School Board Policies on Service Animals. This topic is part of the recently passed Safe and Supportive Classrooms Act, 2018. OPSBA sent a submission on May 3.
OPBSA is hosting the 2019 Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) Congress and the National Trustees Gathering on Indigenous Education (NTGIE) from July 3 to 7 in Toronto. Online Registration is open. Keynote and plenary speakers include: