Inspiring Public Confidence, an Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) conference will feature workshops focused on critical issues concerning regulators, the public, employers of Ontario Certified Teachers and providers of teacher education. Conference keynote speakers include:
Workshops will be offered in English or French, or by simultaneous interpretation. Simultaneous interpretation will also be available for all keynote addresses.
For more information and to register »
All four Ontario teacher unions now engaged in job action as talks with province stallThe Toronto Star, Jan. 14, 2020For the first time in more than two decades, all of the province’s teacher unions are involved in job action — ranging from work-to-rule to rotating one-day strikes.More ...
Confidential memo raises eyebrows with request for school boards to reduce ‘red tape’The Toronto Star, Jan. 14, 2020A confidential memo sent to school boards from the education ministry asks them to think of ways to “support reducing red tape and administrative burden” as the province looks to set funding levels for the next school year.More ...
Ontario education minister says school boards can delay Grade 9 EQAO testingNiagara Falls Review, Jan. 9, 2020TORONTO — A standardized test for Grade 9 math students may not go ahead next week as planned in most schools, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Wednesday, as a result of teacher job action.More ...
Grade 9 math tests up in the air as rotating teacher strikes continueThe Toronto Star, Jan. 8, 2020Standardized math tests slated to start Monday for Grade 9 students have been thrown into uncertainty as Education Minister Stephen Lecce gives school boards across Ontario the authority to postpone them until June.More ...
Ontario high school teachers plan a fourth, one-day ‘Wednesday walkout’The Toronto Star, Jan. 3, 2020Classes resume for Ontario students next week — and so do the one-day strikes by public high school teachers.More ...
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is recessed for the winter break and is scheduled to return on February 18, 2020, after Family Day.
On December 18, Minister of Finance Rod Phillips launched the first of a series of budget consultations that will run across Ontario throughout the months of January and February. During that time, Ontarians will be invited to participate via an online survey, attend an in-person session (details below) and/or, send in a written submission. The deadline for the survey and written submissions is February 11, 2020.
The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs will hold Pre-Budget Consultation public hearings in Toronto on January 17, 2020 and in Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay, Kitchener-Waterloo, Belleville, and Niagara during the week of January 20, 2020. Interested people who wish to be considered to make an oral presentation to the Committee on January 17, 2020, or during the week of January 20, 2020, are required to provide their contact name, mailing address, phone number, and email address directly to the Clerk of the Committee by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 9, 2020, in order to be registered. Those who do not wish to make an oral presentation but wish to comment on the issue may send a written submission to the Clerk of the Committee at the email or mailing address below by 6:00 p.m. on Friday, January 24, 2020. The clerk, Julia Douglas, can be reached at email@example.com.
Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs details
Ministry of Finance news release
Details about 2020 Budget consultations
Earlier in the fall, the OHRC announced its intention to conduct a public inquiry into potential human rights issues that affect students with reading disabilities in Ontario's public education system. On December 18, the OHRC announced details regarding the The "Right to Read" inquiry that will be reaching out to parents, students and educators across the province to hear about their experiences, challenges and concerns. The inquiry is also assessing whether school boards use scientific evidence-based approaches to meet students' right to read. The OHRC selected eight school boards to assess their compliance with their obligation to provide equal treatment to students with reading disabilities. The English public school boards involved include: the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board; the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, the Lakehead District School Board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, the Peel District School Board, and the Thames Valley District School Board.
Public hearings will begin on January 14, 2020 in Brampton, January 29 in London, February 25 in Thunder Bay and March 10 in Ottawa. There is an online survey for students with reading disabilities or their parents and guardians. A separate survey will be available for educators and others. OPSBA will follow up as to how the Association might participate.
OHRC website for more information, including student/parent/guardian survey
OHRC news release
MPPs rose December 12, marking the end of the fall session. The government issued a news release outlining their accomplishments. The House is recessed for the winter break and is scheduled to return February 18, 2020, after Family Day.
The Ministry of Education issued memo B20 on November 8 outlining amendments to the EDC regulation to now allow boards to use EDC revenues for lower cost alternative projects to site acquisition and to allow boards to enter into local agreements with developers. These are applicable to those boards that are already eligible to collect EDCs. However, several issues remain that OPSBA will continue to advocate for in terms of regulation changes. A letter was sent to the Minister of Education outlining again these concerns.
This legislation was introduced on November 6 by Minister of Finance Rod Phillips and was the legislation to support the Fall Economic Statement, which included amendments to 40 different Acts. The legislation received Royal Assent on December 10.
Government news release
This legislation was introduced on May 27 by Minister of Health Christine Elliott. It enacts two Schedules, the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence Act, 2019, and the Opioid Damages and Health Costs Recovery Act, 2019. The legislation received Royal Assent on December 12. The Ontario Coalition for Children and Youth Mental Health sent a letter to the Standing Committee on Social Policy.
Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy introduced this legislation on June 5 which caps public sector wage increases to an average of 1% per year for the next three years. It received Royal Assent on November 7. On December 12, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association, Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens launched a court challenge arguing the legislation violates collective bargaining rights.
Education Union news releaseMr. Bethlenfalvy's response statement
When the House resumes in the new year, OPSBA will continue to monitor these other bills that have recently been introduced:
The two vacancies are due to the retirement of Nathalie Des Rosiers (Ottawa—Vanier) and the resignation of Liberal MPP Marie-France Lalonde (Orléans). By-elections are expected to be held on the same day in early February 2020.
There have been no updates from the Ministry of Education about the timing for release of the 2020-21 Education Funding Guide or dates for the Standing Committee to tour the province for pre-budget consultations. If something is announced this month, we will in turn, share information with our members. We have begun crafting our funding submission to include OPSBA/Nanos funding specific data, information gathered from our earlier PDWT meeting, and the various regional meetings held in early November.
OPSBA Media Release, Tentative agreement reached with EWAODec. 10, 2019
Tentative agreement reached between province and education workersDaily Hive Toronto, Dec. 10, 2019The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) said that the Education Workers’ Alliance of Ontario (EWAO) have successfully negotiated a tentative agreement with the provincial government.More ...
Brampton and Mississauga education workers' union reaches tentative deal with provinceMississauga.com, Dec. 10, 2019Some education workers in Ontario have reached a tentative agreement with the province, just as public high school teachers prepare to stage a one-day walkout in selected school boards.More ...
Know an Ontario public school student, teacher, education worker, parent, volunteer or trustee who deserves recognition for making a difference in their community?
Nominations are now being accepted for the Ontario Public School Boards' Association's Awards Program. OPSBA's Awards strive to recognize the outstanding contributions to the public education system made by individuals across Ontario.
The nomination deadline for all the awards, except for the Bernardine Yackman Memorial Award, is April 2, 2020 at 5 p.m.
The nomination deadline for the Bernardine Yackman Memorial Award is June 11, 2020 at 5 p.m.
Complete information about the awards listed below, including access to the online nomination form, is available on the OPSBA Awards webpage.
The President's Award recognizes persons with 25 years of service in public education.
The Jack A. MacDonald Award of Merit honours an elementary or secondary school student attending an Ontario public school who has earned a sound academic record and has shown outstanding service and leadership in his or her community.
The Fred L. Bartlett Memorial Award is presented annually to an active or retired member of the teaching profession. The successful candidate is selected on the basis of outstanding contribution to education throughout Ontario, such as constructive participation in education affairs over a number of years or for dedication to some recent and specific project that has had provincial impact.
The Dr. Harry Paikin Award of Merit is awarded to an active or retired public school trustee for outstanding service.
The OPSBA Award of Excellence and Achievement Award were created by OPSBA to recognize the outstanding contributions of non-teaching staff, parents, volunteers and community partners involved in education in Member Boards. This award provides an opportunity to raise awareness and promote the importance of celebrating excellence and the necessity of recognizing the work of all members of the education community.
The Bernardine Yackman Memorial Award is for dedication, commitment and an outstanding contribution to education with special recognition for Northern Ontario service.
For more information: Mary Adams, Awards Coordinator, 416-340-2540, ext.101, or email the OPSBA Webmaster.
A portrait of Olympian
swimmer Penny Oleksiak was unveiled at the TDSB’s Monarch Park Collegiate
recently, in honour of her achievements at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Oleksiak became the
first Canadian to win four medals in the same Games and the country's youngest
Olympic champion. She won gold in the 100m freestyle, silver in the 100m
butterfly, two bronze medals in the women's freestyle relays, and Canadian
hearts everywhere. At the time, Oleksiak was also enrolled as a student at
Monarch Park Collegiate.
limited-edition prints of the portrait signed by Oleksiak and the artist,
Jeffrey Sprang, are for sale. The proceeds will support swim programs at
various Toronto District School Board schools.
Sprang’s art has
supported education in Canada and around the world. In June 1990, he met Nelson
Mandela at Central Technical School which led to a limited-edition print in
support of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund Canada. His work has also
supported the literacy development charity, One World Schoolhouse Foundation.
Sprang joined OPSBA as its communications director in 1999 and over a period of
18 years solidified a remarkable reputation as the "go-to guy" for
straight talk on public education.
For more information and to
purchase a print, visit the TDSB’s SchoolCashOnline
The Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) Board of Directors held a meeting on November 24, 2019, in Toronto. Elaine Johnston, 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.
Nik Nanos of Nanos Research attended part of the meeting to discuss and outline results from recent polling in advance of the release of a report on the morning of November 25 as part of the Association's Advocacy Day at Queen's Park.
Education policy and program issues that were discussed in public session at the meeting are summarized below.
An update on collective bargaining was provided to board members. OPSBA is fully engaged in its role as the bargaining agent for all English public school boards in the province. For additional status updates, visit the OPSBA website.
OPSBA Advocacy Day The Association's second Advocacy Day was a tremendous success. Board of Directors members and student trustees spent the day at Queen's Park meeting with their local MPPs. The day began with a breakfast meeting with the Minister of Education, attendance in Question Period, and an evening reception.
In total, OPSBA representatives met with 54 MPPs (24 PC, 23 NDP, three Liberal, one Green, and one Independent).
Polling and Research OPSBA engaged Nanos Research in November to conduct a public opinion poll on a number of education-related topics. The polling and research was announced publicly as a part of the Association's press conference at Queen's Park on November 25. We expect this initiative to bolster OPSBA's advocacy position on key issues, such as the importance of investment in public education, Indigenous Education, curriculum, mental health supports and the importance of electing trustees.
Education Today – Fall 2019 The Fall 2019 issue of OPSBA's education magazine is now available online. This issue focused specifically on Indigenous Education, and includes columns from OPSBA President Cathy Abraham, Elaine Johnston, Thames Valley DSB Indigenous Student Trustee Chiara Kennedy and Hastings and Prince Edward DSB Director of Education Sean Monteith. Interviews include Minister of Education Stephen Lecce and Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.
Media Statements and News Releases
OPSBA Media Activity
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario resumed sitting on October 28, 2019, with the government identifying priorities in a news release, Building Ontario Together. OPSBA has been following legislation and regulatory change related to the public education sector, including: Bill 124, Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019; Bill 116, Foundations for Promoting and Protecting Mental Health and Addictions Services Act, 2019; Education Development Charge regulation amendments.
On November 6, Finance Minister Rod Phillips tabled his Fall Economic Statement legislation, Bill 138, The Plan to Build Ontario Together Act. The government is projecting a lower deficit of $9 billion in 2019-20, compared to the $10.3 billion that was forecast in the spring budget. Overall spending is forecast to go up to nearly $163.8 billion, which includes an extra $404 million for health care and $186 million for education.
Full Legislative Updates are available on the OPSBA Connects blog.
Local Government Week – October 20-26, 2019 The annual week is an opportunity to raise awareness of the important civic contributions of school boards and municipalities to communities across the province. An updated resource package was provided to trustees and a follow-up letter has been sent to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark requesting a meeting with municipal and school board partners to coordinate Local Government Week 2020.
Ontario Coalition for Children and Youth Mental Health The Coalition held a full day meeting on October 4, 2019. The purpose of the meeting was to:
The results of this day will help to identify themes for an expanded stakeholder group discussion day being planned for 2020.FSL Labour Market Partnership Project OPSBA is leading a labour market partnership project, Meeting Labour Market Needs for French as a Second Language Instruction in Ontario, for English and Catholic public school boards. This is a three-year initiative and the ultimate goal of this project is to uncover workable solutions to the current worsening imbalance between the growing demand province-wide for qualified French language teachers and support staff and the related supply pipeline. Phase II of the three year initiative has now been completed and the Ministry contract ended on November 11, 2019. All deliverables have been met and the executive summary and the full report are being finalized in order to seek Ministry approval for public distribution in December. There will be a session at the Public Education Symposium in January 2020 that will outline the Phase II findings and next steps for the FSL-Labour Market Partnership Project.Recommendations for a New Needs-Based Ontario Autism Program –The Ontario Autism Program Advisory Panel ReportThere are specific recommendations that have implications for school boards. It has been recommended that an education advisory committee on autism be formed before the end of 2019. OPSBA will request to be represented on this committee.
The full report from the Advisory Panel
The Association's Northern Regional Meeting was held in Thunder Bay on October 4, 2019. OPSBA staff attended to assist in facilitating a session to reaffirm key priorities and areas of focus. A letter with a summary of priorities will be sent to Ministers Stephen Lecce and Greg Rickford.
There are now only two sitting weeks left in the fall session with the Legislative Assembly of Ontario rising on December 12, 2019. Many pieces of legislation are being time-allocated in order for them to pass their legislative stages before the House rises.
The Association's second Advocacy Day was a tremendous success. Board of Directors members and student trustees spent the day at Queen's Park meeting with their local MPPs. The day began with a breakfast meeting with the Minister of Education, attendance in Question Period, and an evening reception. In total, OPSBA representatives met with 54 MPP offices (24 PC, 23 NDP, three Liberal, one Green, and one Independent). OPSBA engaged Nanos Research in November to conduct a public opinion poll on a number of education-related topics. The polling and research was announced publicly as a part of the Association's press conference that morning.
OPSBA media release, and three handouts that focus on Indigenous Education, The Whole Child & Student Well-Being and Education Funding
This legislation was introduced on November 27 by NDP MPP France Gélinas. Its intention is to amend the Act to prohibit the promotion of vapour products. Health Minister Christine Elliott has said the government will ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations starting January 1, 2020. The bill is at First Reading.
This legislation was introduced on November 6 by Minister of Finance Rod Phillips and is the legislation to support the Fall Economic Statement, which includes amendments to 40 different Acts. The legislation was time allocated and has been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. The Committee intends to hold public hearings in Toronto on December 2, 2019. Written submissions are also due at that time.
This legislation was introduced on May 27 by Minister of Health Christine Elliott. It enacts two Schedules, the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence Act, 2019, and the Opioid Damages and Health Costs Recovery Act, 2019. On November 28, the government's time allocation motion was tabled and will be voted on early next week. The motion would refer the legislation to the Standing Committee on Social Policy, conduct public meetings on December 6, have written submissions due December 6, and require the bill to return to the House for Third Reading on December 11, 2019.
In early November, at the request of the Chair and Director of Education, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced a review of the Peel District School Board. Ontario Regulation 43/10: Provincial Interest in Education was amended on November 8, 2019, to include a section referencing the review of the Peel DSB, which includes a revocation date of December 31, 2020. Last week, the Minister announced that Suzanne Herbert and Ena Chadha have been appointed to conduct an immediate review of the board.
Government news release
OPSBA hosts its Advocacy Day on Monday, November 25. There are three more sitting weeks left in the fall session with the Legislative Assembly of Ontario rising on Thursday, December 12, 2019. Please see below for an update on recent items.
This legislation was introduced on November 6, 2019 by Minister of Finance Rod Phillips and is the legislation to support the Fall Economic Statement which includes amendments to 40 different Acts. It remains at Second Reading Debate. Schedules of Interest include:
This legislation was introduced on May 27, 2019, by Minister of Health, Christine Elliott. It enacts two Schedules, the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence Act, 2019, and the Opioid Damages and Health Costs Recovery Act, 2019. It remains at Second Reading Debate.
On November 8, 2019, the Ministry of Education issued memo B20, Education Development Charge Policy Framework Update. The memo follows their earlier consultation work reviewing the EDC framework to indicate that amendments have been made to the Ontario Regulation 20/98 (Education Development Charges – General) and Ontario Regulation 444/98 (Disposition of Surplus Real Property). The amendments include changes to EDC Rate Restrictions, Alternative Projects, Notification of Site Acquisitions and EDC Rate Calculations.
OPSBA sent in a submission after coordinating our work with the Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASBO). Our submission focused on our continued advocacy for an increase in the charges to cover the actual costs of sites and the flexibility to support boards experiencing areas of growth.