The Legislative Assembly of Ontario remains on summer recess and resumes on October 28, 2019.
Treasury Board staff are continuing to work toward a broader public sector executive compensation policy that is expected to be implemented this fall. The four school board associations have been asked to attend a meeting on August 9, as part of the broader public sector consultations. OPSBA's Executive Director is attending the meeting, along with representatives from the other school board/trustee associations and CODE. Discussions are expected to focus on parameters for performance-based compensation. The Association will continue to provide information in future updates.
On July 22, the Ministry of Education announced the launch of this year's CPP, as well as the review of its School Construction Standards. Each board is to submit their top 10 requests for consideration with of a deadline of September 30, 2019. All projects are to be completed by 2023-24. The announcement includes mention of a pilot for "modular construction." OPSBA is seeking additional details on this initiative and continues to follow up with the ministry about funding details for the Priorities and Partnership Fund (PPF) and the moratorium on school closures. There is also the expectation of a revised regulation regarding Education Development Charges (EDC) and information will be shared when it becomes available.
Government News Release
Memo B17: Announcement of Launch of 2019-2020 Capital Priorities Program
On July 26, Deputy Minister Nancy Naylor sent a memo to all boards regarding this new approach which becomes effective September 1, 2019. The memo was sent by email and it includes an Appendix that outlines REA eligibility. OPSBA commented on our support for this approach and the choice for Indigenous families in our submission to the government as it was part of their omnibus budget bill.
On July 29, the government announced the expansion of their Autism Advisory Panel to include recommendations for a "new needs-based and sustainable autism program." Last May the government conducted public consultations regarding the OAP and OPSBA sent in a response with feedback from member board superintendents responsible for special education and the Education Program and Policy Development Work Teams. Our final submission was shared with the Ministry and OPSBA's Board of Directors.
Additional OAP information
Late in July, education ministers from across the country met in Victoria, British Columbia for their annual meeting. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce and Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. The MOU is for both provinces to "support and enhance opportunities for elementary and secondary students in STEM fields."
Government News Release
On May 1, the Ombudsman's Office was given the power to investigate complaints and address concerns from and about children and youth in care (including about Children's Aid Societies, foster and group homes, secure treatment facilities, and residential licensees across Ontario). The Ombudsman has established a dedicated children and youth unit for this work and in their July newsletter released tools (FAQs, info sheets etc.) to be shared with stakeholders.
Union says teachers’ contract talks stalled over dispute with school boardsThe Canadian Press, Jul. 25, 2019Contract talks between Ontario’s high school teachers, the province and its public school boards have stalled before they’ve even begun, says the union representing the educators.More ...
Ontario high school teachers won't have a contract before the academic year starts, union warnsCBC News, Jul. 24, 2019Contract negotiations for Ontario high school teachers have stalled, and according to the head of the province's main secondary school teachers' union, bargaining can't resume before the beginning of the school year.More ...
Ontario teacher contract negotiations already stalledNewstalk 1010, Jul. 24, 2019Earlier this month, Ontario's Education Minister expressed confidence a deal could be reached with teachers before their contracts expire on August 31.NEWSTALK 1010 has exclusively learned that is not going to happen.Negotiations have stalled before they even began.More ...
Teachers' negotiations stall before they beginThe Toronto Sun, Jul. 24, 2019Students at Ontario’s public high schools should still be in the classroom come the first week of September even if contract talks are at a standstill.More ...
Government moves forward with school repair funding; asks boards to submit funding requestsThe Canadian Press, Jul. 22, 2019Ontario's schools had a $15.9B capital repair backlog in 2017, the last time data was released.Ontario is asking school boards across the province to submit funding requests for their most pressing repair projects as it restarts a key school infrastructure program that has been frozen for more than a year.More ...
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario remains on summer recess
and resumes on Monday, October 28, 2019.
On July 17, the Ontario Ombudsman’s investigation report into
Near North District School Board’s decision to close Widdifield Secondary
School after the 2016-2017 Pupil Accommodation Review process, was made public.
The report includes 14 recommendations, which were accepted by the Board.
Ombudsman's News Release
The Government of Canada has
created a Climate Action Incentive Fund for Schools. With this new program, the
federal government is proposing to provide $40.9 million dollars for energy
efficiency investments in Ontario’s schools. On July 17, OPSBA sent
to a letter to Minister of Education Stephen Lecce and copied Jeff Yurek, the Minister of
the Environment, Conservation, and Parks. On July 19, iPolitics reported that Minister Yurek had written to Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, saying that "(the) government agrees in principle to redistributing these funds back to Ontario school boards, subject to any necessary internal approvals." OPSBA will continue to follow up with both ministries about funding
and timelines for our schools.
On July 3, OPSBA President Cathy Abraham, Executive Director Rusty Hick and members of senior staff met with the new Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce. The face-to-face meeting was an opportunity to congratulate Mr. Lecce and introduce him to our Association and our priorities that support student achievement and well-being. An introductory letter had been sent shortly after he was appointed and OPBSA has extended an invitation for Minister Lecce to attend an upcoming Board of Directors meeting.
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario has risen for summer recess and resumes on Monday, October 28, 2019. Please see below for an update on recent items...
Last week the Premier announced the Parliamentary Assistants (PA) that are connected to the various cabinet positions. Sam Oosterhoff, the MPP for Niagara West, remains the PA to Minister of Education. Click here for the news release detailing the assignments.
Last week the Ontario Ombudsman, Paul Dubé, released his 2018-2019 annual report detailing the complaints the office has received. The report is divided into subject areas and includes a section on Education. There number of overall "Education" complaints was down slightly from the year before and the top complaints included: board employee and staff conduct; special education; exclusions/access; and transportation. Of note, as of May 1, the Ombudsman's oversight now includes child protection issues (formerly under the domain of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth) and French Language services.
A formal investigation was launched in October 2019 regarding a Near North District School Board's pupil accommodation review. The final report has yet to be released.
Click here for the full report (Note: it is 84 pages)
Click here for the Education section
Individual school boards can see the number of cases directed at their board listed on page 78.
On July 2, Minister Lecce released the revised Grade 10 Career Studies Course, which is to be implemented in September 2019, with a central focus on the jobs of the future. The course, "includes learning on financial literacy and an enhanced focus on career pathways, such as apprenticeships in the skilled trades."
Click here for the news release
Click here for OPSBA's response to the last Fall's Consultation: Education in Ontario
On June 20, Premier Doug Ford announced a cabinet shuffle that includes the addition of one new ministry (Health is split into two ministries), as well as five new associate ministers. Stephen Lecce is the new Minister of Education and Lisa Thompson is now the Minister of Government and Consumer Services. Stephen Lecce is the MPP for King-Vaughan and was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in last year's election. He was formally the Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier and the Minister of Infrastructure. OPSBA has connected with political staff and confirmed that the current Chief of Staff and Director of Stakeholder Relations are staying with the new Minister. We understand that preliminary briefings will begin and stakeholder outreach will follow. Decisions regarding Parliamentary Assistants should be announced soon.
OPSBA released the following statement:
"OPSBA had a good working relationship with former Minister of Education Lisa Thompson and her staff and we wish her well in her new portfolio. We look forward to meeting the new Minister of Education Stephen Lecce and connecting as soon as possible to share our priorities, which focus on providing universally accessible education for all students, regardless of their backgrounds. Our goal when interacting with Minister Lecce will remain the same: to confirm the government's commitment to supporting and investing in public education. OPSBA is a trusted non-partisan advisory body and source of information and feedback on public education and our advocacy focuses on our Multi-Year Strategic Priorities."
Parliamentary History for New Minister of Education Stephen Lecce
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario has risen for summer recess and MPPs return to Queen's Park on October 28, 2019 – a week after the Federal Election, which will take place on October 21, 2019.
OESC announces their new Professional Development website is now available. The online modules are in the process of being reviewed to reflect current legislation, regulations, policy and research. The four modules that have been updated are:
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. Nominations for the Education Program and Policy Development Work Teams can be made from the floor at regional meetings.
June 19, 2019 News Release: Ontario Continues to Unlock Value of World-Class Health Care Agencies and Redirects Health Care Dollars from Administration to Direct Patient Care
June 14, 2019 News Release: Ontario Renews Funding for Legends Mentoring Program at Jake's House for Children with Autism
June 12, 2019: SB10 Memo, 19-20 Estimates Forms for Section 68 School Authorities
Rookie MPP Stephen Lecce takes on a tough education fileThe Toronto Star, Jun. 20, 2019Stephen Lecce now rules the schools — but Ontario’s new education minister takes on a tough portfolio amid controversial cuts and with tough contract talks on the horizon.More ...
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.