advocacy and action

Fast Report: March 1, 2013 | Vol. 25, No. 9

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Labour Relations 2013: Successful Strategies for Challenging Times

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March 21—23, 2013
Toronto Sheraton Centre Hotel
123 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON

This year's conference will feature Keynote Addresses by Brian Woodland, Director of Communications and Community Relations Support Services, Peel District School Board and Jacquie Griffiths, Associate Executive Director, British Columbia Public School Employers' Association, along with plenary sessions and workshops presented by leading experts in education labour relations and law.

A preferred rate has been secured at the Toronto Sheraton Centre Hotel at $205 plus taxes (single or double). Please telephone the hotel directly at 416-361-1000 or 1-800-325-3535 and ask for the OPSBA group rate.

*** If you are unable to secure accommodation at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, we have also arranged for a block of rooms at the Metropolitan Hotel, 108 Chestnut St, Toronto, ON M5G 1R3. Please telephone the hotel directly at 416-599-0555 BEFORE the March 14th cutoff date and mention our group code - OPSBALRS2013 - to secure a room at the special rate. If you need to cancel your room reservation at the Metropolitan, please ensure you cancel 5 days before your arrival. ***

2013 Program

Online Registration

For more information: Vicky Skypas, Manager, Labour Relations Services, ext.119; Ernesta Graham, Events Coordinator, ext.115; or webmaster

Call for Policy Resolutions & Proposed Amendments to the OPSBA Constitution

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Submission deadline: Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday, April 1 is the deadline for OPSBA member boards to submit policy resolutions for consideration by the general membership at the 2013 OPSBA Annual General Meeting. Policy resolutions from member boards that are passed at the AGM are incorporated into the work planning that takes place over the summer and are aligned with the action framework to achieve OPSBA's priorities for the year ahead. The Key Work of OPSBA is the OPSBA publication that sets out this action framework.

Please note:

  • Policy resolutions must reflect the corporate position of a member school board and address issues that have provincial implications.
  • Proposals for action by OPSBA should be clearly described as part of the backgrounder or within the resolution itself.

Policy resolutions received at OPSBA by Monday, April 1 will be reviewed by a Policy Resolutions Review Committee; i.e., members of Executive Council and Regional Vice-Chairs acting in this capacity. The policy resolutions, along with comments from the Policy Resolutions Review Committee, will be presented to the Board of Directors for information at their April 26-27, 2013 meeting before being forwarded to member boards.

In accordance with the OPSBA Constitution, policy resolutions may also be presented from the floor of the Annual General Meeting but are first subject to obtaining the approval of two-thirds of the delegates at the AGM to consider the new resolution. Once the approval to consider the new resolution has been obtained, the member board representative (delegate) who has introduced the new resolution from the floor must provide written copies of the resolution for every delegate.

See the link at the end of this article for the Guide to Submitting Policy Resolutions, including sample submission form.

Submission deadline: Monday, April 1, 2013

Each year, member boards have an opportunity to submit proposals for amendments to the OPSBA Constitution for consideration by the Board of Directors. The deadline for submission this year is Monday, April 1 in order to allow time for staff and legal counsel to review the proposals and to prepare language before submission to the Board of Directors for consideration at their April 26-27 meeting. Constitutional amendments must be first approved by the Board of Directors and are then forwarded to the OPSBA Annual General Meeting for confirmation by a two-thirds vote of the membership. This year, the AGM is being held on June 7. The constitutional amendments take effect once they are confirmed by at least two-thirds of the votes cast at the Annual General Meeting. In some cases, a proposed constitutional amendment can be referred to a specially formed work group for further careful study and consideration of the full impact of the proposed change. That work group's recommendation(s) would be provided in time for the following year's process; i.e., consideration by the Board of Directors in April of the following year, and then forwarded to the Annual General Meeting for consideration by the delegates.

See the link at the end of this article for the OPSBA Constitution and By-Laws, which was last amended in June 2011.

Please send your board's submissions, using the form provided, including a clear rationale/background and the proposed Constitutional change, to OPSBA by mail, fax or e-mail to the attention of Florenda Tingle, Executive Coordinator, 439 University Ave., 18th Floor, Toronto M5G 1Y8; fax (416) 340-7571, or

OPSBA Constitution and By-Laws

Guidelines for Submission of Policy Resolutions, including submission form

Proposed Constitutional Amendments form

For more information: Florenda Tingle, Executive Coordinator, ext.108; or webmaster

25th AGM & PROGRAM 2013

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Thursday, June 6 — Saturday, June 8, 2013

Deerhurst Resort and Conference Centre
1235 Deerhurst Drive
Huntsville  P1H 2E8
Phone: 1-800-461-4393  


SPEAKERS - topics:

  • Game-based learning
  • Impact of technology on education and schools
  • Discovery Science ebook
  • School Mental Health - organizational conditions
  • Labour Relations
  • Legal Issues
  • Social Media 101 - repeat, by popular demand
  • DiSC part 2  (pre-registration required)
  • MORE to follow.


  • Executive Officers
  • Regional Councils

Conference begins - REGISTRATION:  Thursday, June 6 at  6:15 p.m.

Welcome reception: Thursday, June 6, at 7:30 p.m.

Conference ends:  Saturday, June 8, after dinner. 


OPSBA Board of Directors

Board of Directors Meeting:  Thursday, June 6 at 1:00 p.m. (light lunch at 12:15 p.m.)

Board of Directors Organizational Meeting:  Sunday, June 9 at 8:00 a.m.



June 6—8, 2013


Deerhurst Resort and Conference Centre
1235 Deerhurst Drive


Trustees, Directors of Education, supervisory officers, student trustees and other board members are encouraged to attend this annual OPSBA conference.


Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly at 1-800-461-4393.  Please quote the OPSBA conference for the special rate.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

After the deadline date, the special conference rate will be provided on a space available basis only.

Check OPSBA's Fast Reports for regular updates and future announcements.

The Registration Form and the Preliminary Program will be on the OPSBA website at the beginning of March.

For more information: Gail Anderson, Executive Director, ext.109; Susan Weinberg, Policy and Professional Development Coordinator, ext.128; Ernesta Graham, Events Coordinator, ext.115;  or Webmaster 

OPSBA Executive Council & Board of Directors February 2013 Meetings

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The OPSBA Executive Council and Board of Directors held meetings on Friday and Saturday, February 22 and 23, 2013. Member Board representatives had the opportunity to receive updates, and to consider and make decisions on a range of current education issues. The following education policy issues were discussed by members.

OPSBA was pleased to host the Honourable Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, who joined the meeting on Friday evening for an informal exchange with member boards. Trustees also received a presentation from Marg Connor of the Ministry of Education and Sean Twyford of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services on Stepping Stones: A Resource on Youth Development. This document which is strongly influenced by the voices of youth integrates leading edge research on youth development to create a map of the predictable stages of social, emotional, physical and cognitive development from age 12 to 25. It builds on the government's Early Learning Framework for young children. The presentation engendered a high level of interest and discussion.

Labour Relations
A verbal update was provided on the hearing before the Ontario Labour Relations Board with regard to teacher responsibilities and the provision of extracurriculars. During the course of the meeting there were media reports on the decision by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation to advise its members to resume extracurricular activities. With regard to the future of collective bargaining, it was noted that a report on the input given by trustees and board staff at the Public Education Symposium would be shared at the upcoming Labour Relations Symposium (March 21-23, 2013). A subsequent report with recommendations will be brought to the April meeting of the Board of Directors.

Media and Government Relations Update
The Communications Director reported on the growing profile of OPSBA in both mainstream media coverage and social media. Data was provided showing the reach of media items that include content about OPSBA and comments from President Michael Barrett. Twitter was used extensively to send out messages during the Public Education Symposium and OPSBA's followers on Twitter have increased significantly in the last several weeks.

The Finance Director presented a report that charts the status of various measures introduced in the 2012 budget. He noted that the previously announced cost-savings measures related to school board amalgamations and under-utilized schools have been put on hold. OPSBA is monitoring where the anticipated budget savings will come from. Updates were also provided with regard to (a) the funding model proposed by the government's School Board Administration and Governance Advisory Group (BAAG), (b) on legal challenges by bus operators with regard to Student Transportation RFPs and (c) savings to boards resulting from copyright rulings. OPSBA's proposed brief on the 2013-14 Grants for Students Needs was approved and will be submitted to the Minister of Education.

Full Day Kindergarten / Childcare
A verbal report was provided on (a) the Ministry's Policy Document on Modernizing Child Care (b) status of board information on viability of Extended Day programs for next year, (c) media attention on the pressures experienced by some boards with regard to accommodation of FDK in Year 5 since some schools have no physical space to expand, and (d) specific issues in OPSBA's GSN brief with regard to costs associated with over enrolment in FDK and underfunded costs of some ECE positions.

Legislative Updates
A verbal update was provided on the new Liberal cabinet and the initial debate following the resumption of the Legislature. Information was also provided on key staff positions in the Premier's office and the office of the Minister of Education. It was noted that OPSBA's Work Teams are preparing a response to the PC White Paper on Education.

Health and Safety - Site Audits
A report was provided on the recent school and school board inspections conducted by the Ministry of Labour and on the proposed legislation to require mandatory health and safety training for all workers and supervisors. OPSBA has prepared a submission on the proposed Regulation.

AODA Update
It was reported that the TeachAble Project website ( ) has been fully launched and has been well-received in the school system. The report also confirmed that the Regulation on Design of Public Spaces is now part of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation and its provisions as they relate to school boards come into effect in January, 2016. The accessible built environment standards are being considered for inclusion in the review of Ontario's Building Code. It was noted as well that the province has a new Accessibility Standards Advisory Committee and that the Accessibility Directorate will be moved to the Ministry of Economic Development.

Children and Youth Mental Health Update
A report was provided on the most recent meeting of the Coalition for Children and Youth Mental Health where the focus was a review of the feedback provided by participants at the October Summit. This will provide the basis for a submission to the four Ministers responsible for implementation of the province's Comprehensive Strategy for Mental Health and Addictions. The next Summit on Children and Youth Mental Health will be held in early April, 2014.

Vision for Learning and Teaching in A Digital Age
It was reported that this OPSBA paper was launched during the Public Education Symposium and that the focus of activity is now on advocacy with the Ministry, on promotion and on the broadest possible dissemination of the Vision set out in the paper.

LTO Evaluation
A verbal report indicated that the Ministry is now finalizing a draft Long-Term Occasional Teacher Evaluation template for use in school boards. This is related to implementation of Regulation 274 on hiring practices. Boards that currently have an evaluation process will be able to continue to use it.

Diagnostic Assessments
A verbal report was provided about Policy Memorandum 155 and indicated that boards are currently identifying the diagnostic assessments they want teachers to choose from. OPSBA will monitor issues of concern to boards and will discuss them with the office of the new Minister of Education.

First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education
OPSBA's First Nation Director Peter Garrow presented a report from the January 31st meeting of the First Nation Trustees Council. The Council developed a submission to the Ministry in response to the preliminary progress report on implementation of the First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework. The Council also held dialogues with staff from Rainy River DSB with regard to their innovative language program, and with the representative of the Assembly of First Nations with respect to national developments including consultations on proposed First Nation education federal legislation. The Canadian School Boards Association has been invited to respond to discussions on the proposed legislation and, with input from First Nation trustees, OPSBA will take the lead on this matter. Peter also referred to First Nation trustee participation in the First Nation Forum and Ideas Exchange convened by Ontario's Lieutenant-Governor.

Policy Development Work Team (PDWT)
PDWT Chair Shelley Laskin's verbal report from the meeting held on February 13, 2013 via Adobe Connect highlighted discussions on the recently released Progressive Conservative White Paper on Education which will result in feedback to be provided jointly with the Education Program Work Team. The Team also reviewed the GSN submission to be made by OPSBA, a draft submission with regard to proposed regulation requiring mandatory health and safety training for all workers and supervisors, and a recently released report on the results of school inspections conducted by the Ministry of Labour.

Education Program Work Team (EPWT)
EPWT Vice-Chair Jan Johnstone's verbal report from the February 8, 2013 meeting of the Education Program, held via Adobe Connect, indicated discussions on Children and Youth Mental Health, recommended actions for promotion of the OPSBA Vision for Learning and Teaching in the Digital Age, suggestions for the Ministry related to the First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework, and proposed input with regard to the Progressive Conservative White Paper on Education.

Minister's Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE)
Cheryl Lovell, OPSBA's representative to MACSE, reported on matters that were before the Advisory Council at its February 6th meeting. A key topic was the Ministry's Policy and Program Memorandum related to transition plans for students with special needs. This policy, which will require transition planning for each transition point in the student's school career, as well as transition to post-secondary education or the world of work, will be in effective in September, 2014. The summary of the February meeting will be available shortly on the OPSBA website.

Ontario Education Services Corporation Update
It was reported that OESC has recently acquired Compass for Success which is a data warehouse on student achievement. This service, which was begun through a collaborative of school boards, is now available to other interested boards.

Report on PES 2013
This year's Public Education Symposium drew a high number of participants and feedback has been very positive. The issues shared during rural, urban and rural-urban caucus sessions will be shared with OPSBA's Regions when they meet in April to discuss OPSBA's key priorities.

For more information: Florenda Tingle, Executive Coordinator, ext.108; or webmaster

Complete Lists of Cabinet & Parliamentary Assistants

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On Monday, February 11, Premier Kathleen Wynne was sworn in as the province's new Minister. The positions for the 27 member cabinet, as well as the list of parliamentary assistant positions, were also announced that day. Individual minister political staff is still being determined. This past week the government's nine standing committees were established. Each committee is made up of four liberal MPPs, 3 PC MPPs and 2 NDP MPPs.

The Cabinet

Parliamentary Assistants

Ministry of Education UPDATE

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2013: SB 3, Condition Assessment Program: Preparing for Year 3, February 25

OPSBA Summaries
2013 B Memoranda
 (funding policy, financial matters)

2012 B Memoranda

2012 SB Memoranda (administrative information, clarification on financial matters)

2011 B Memoranda

2011 SB Memoranda

Ministry of Education Memoranda
B and SB Memoranda

Memoranda Summary

For more information: Wayne McNally, Director, Finance, x104, or webmaster


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Elementary teachers continue protest and refuse to run extracurricular activities
Kristin Rushowy, The Star (Feb 28)

With a lot of talk - but no action - the union representing Ontario's elementary teachers has decided to continue its protest of extracurricular activities that has left students without clubs and sports since the start of the school year.

More ...

Conflict claims against school trustees ‘ludicrous': Ontario public board association head
Moira MacDonald, National Post (Feb 28)

Conflict of interest allegations against two trustees involved in school review and closure processes in their own neighbourhoods set "a dangerous precedent" for all trustees in Ontario, says the head of the province's public school boards' association.

Michael Barrett, president of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association, said recent allegations against Toronto District School Board trustee Howard Goodman, and Judith Bishop of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board "represent a crisis."

More ... 

Toronto Trustee Howard Goodman drops out of local school-boundary discussion after conflict complaint
Kristin Rushowy, The Star (Feb 28)

Toronto Trustee Howard Goodman has removed himself from the process of reviewing how to accommodate full-day kindergarten at five schools in his ward, after a resident alleged the possibility of redrawn boundaries puts him in a conflict of interest.

More ...

New provincial regulations in place for school board hiring process
Durham Radio News (Feb 28)

The Ontario Public School Boards' Association says new provincial hiring rules will hamper diversity among teaching staff. Officials say ‘Regulation 274′ forces school boards to hire from the most five senior applicants, and president of OPSBA Michael Barrett says this doesn't necessarily mean the right person will be chosen for the job. Barrett says they support an improved hiring process, but not when the cure is worse than the symptoms.

More ...

Trustee bows out of school boundary review after conflict allegation
Caroline Alphonso and Kate Hammer, The Globe and Mail (Feb 27)

A long-time Toronto District School Board trustee has bowed out of a contentious school boundary review after a resident alleged his involvement constituted a conflict of interest.

Property values in Trustee Howard Goodman's Eglinton-Lawrence ward are closely tied to the reputations of their local schools. The board is reviewing possible school boundary changes in order to help accommodate full-day kindergarten that may impact John Ross Robertson Junior Public School, near Mr. Goodman's home.

More ...

Ontario teachers vote to resume high school extracurriculars
(OPSBA President Michael Barrett is interviewed)
CTV News (Feb 22)

TORONTO -- Ontario's high school students are one step closer to being able to enjoy extracurricular activities, the union representing the province's secondary school teachers suggested Friday.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation said local leaders held a vote during which they agreed to "suspend political action" related to tumultuous labour negotiations with the Liberal government.

More ...


CSBA Congress 2013, July 4—6

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BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) is proud to be hosting education delegates from across Canada at the Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA) Congress being held from July 4-6, 2013 in Vancouver, B.C. The theme of Congress 2013 will be: "Diversity Matters. In the classroom. In the boardroom. In public education."

BCSTA is delighted to welcome former Governor General of Canada Michaëlle Jean as the keynote speaker - politician, accomplished journalist, advocate and champion of causes on gender equality, relief aid, the arts, and youth empowerment.

The Congress promises lively presentations, discussions, networking and social events that focus attention on all issues surrounding diversity. Interested presenters can contact BCSTA with a presentation proposal.

For more information: CSBA Congress 2013 website, or follow CSBA Congress 2013 on Facebook

From Education PARTNERS

Career BOARD

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Career Board (from OPSBA members and education partners)

OASBO Job Postings as of Feb 28 (from OASBO members)

Upcoming Events

MARCH 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
OPSBA Board Room, Toronto

March 21—23
Sheraton Centre Hotel
123 Queen Street West, Toronto
Phone: 416-361-1000 or 1-800-325-3535
OPSBA rate: $205 plus taxes (single and double room)
Hotel cut-off date: February 17

APRIL 2013

Saturday, April 6

Friday, April 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
OPSBA Board Room, Toronto

Friday, April 26, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. &
Saturday, April 27, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Metropolitan Hotel, 108 Chestnut Street, Toronto
Phone: 416-977-5000 or 1-800-668-6600
OPSBA Board of Directors Rate: $145
Cut-off date: March 31

Friday, April 26, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
OPSBA Board Room, Toronto

May 2013

Friday, May 10, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
OPSBA, Toronto

Friday, May 31, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
OPSBA Board Room, Toronto

JUNE 2013

June 6—8
Hosted by: Central East Region
Deerhurst Resort, Huntsville
Phone: 1-800-461-4393