The Legislative Assembly of Ontario will reconvene on August 8 for a five-week summer session. Electing a Speaker will be the first item on the agenda when MPPs return to Queen’s Park. The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, will deliver the Speech from the Throne on August 9, 2022. The names of members of the 42nd Provincial Parliament are now engraved on the walls of the legislature by the main staircase, alongside the names of MPPs from parliaments past. For the first time, Oji-Cree syllabics were added to the wall, with NDP deputy leader Sol Mamakwa having his name engraved in both the Oji-Cree and Latin alphabets. Mamakwa is Anishinaabe and grew up speaking Oji-Cree as his first language.
OPSBA has sent letters of congratulations and has met (virtually) with the new Ministry of Education Parliamentary Assistants; MPP Patrice Barnes and MPP Matthew Rae. Minister Lecce will be attending the upcoming Indigenous Trustees’ Council Meeting later in August.
On July 13, the Ontario New Democratic Party released its shadow cabinet appointments, granting each of its 31 caucus members a portfolio to cover. The party also filled its senior caucus positions, with Doly Begum and Sol Mamakwa chosen to serve as deputy leaders. Jeff Burch is the new caucus chair, while Peggy Sattler remains government house leader, with Lisa Gretzky named deputy house leader. John Vanthof is returning as the chief whip, with Michael Mantha and Monique Taylor serving as deputy whips. Marit Stiles (MPP for Davenport) remains the Education critic. The NDP also announced that its new permanent leader will be chosen during the first week of March 2023, with two official live-streamed leadership debates occurring beforehand. Leadership candidates have until early December to register. To see the full list of NDP shadow cabinet appointments, visit Interim Official Opposition Leader Peter Tabuns names NDP deputy leaders, critics « Ontario NDP.
On July 25, the Ontario Liberal Party announced its selection of John Fraser (MPP Ottawa South) as its Interim Leader. No critic portfolios have been announced.
Ministry of Education’s Plan to Catch Up
On July 25, the Minister of Education announced a plan with five key pillars to support students in their learning recovery journey. The five pillars are:
- Back to normal: safely, on-time with an enriching, complete school experience
- Expanded student supports: tutoring, literacy, and special education.
- Ontario’s modern curriculum: preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow
- Building more schools and improving education
- Mental health: the foundation for student success
The Ministry has also released a memo – August 5 re: 2022-23 Health and Safety Measures in Schools. The memo outlines expectations for this school year and based “On the advice of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, for the 2022-23 school year, most health and safety requirements remain unchanged from the previous direction provided to school board partners at the end of the 2021-22 school year.”
Municipal and School Board Elections – NOMINATION DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, AUGUST 19 AT 2 PM.
OPSBA is working with the Ontario Education Services Corporation (OESC) on a number of initiatives, including the guide, Making A Difference: Running for Election as a School Board Trustee, a series of election information posters, and most recently, Your Guide To Hosting A School Board Trustee All Candidates Meeting. Moreover, several OPSBA senior staff are contributing as writers for the updated Good Governance Guide 2022-2026.
In addition, the Association has been working on a number of initiatives this summer to promote the role of school trustee in advance of the final nomination deadline of August 19. This includes:
- Continued promotion for a dedicated promotional website to encourage Ontario residents to run for trustee, including a tool to subscribe to an email list that will send a number of follow-up emails to those who provide their address, encouraging them to apply to run for trustee. More than 2,100 individuals have already provided their emails through the tool.
- Paid promotional Facebook, Instagram and Twitter advertisements targeted at demographics that may be interested in running for trustee.
- Organic (unpaid) social content on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, which will continue throughout much of August.
- An op-ed from our President Cathy Abraham was published in the Toronto Star on July 27, 2022 – Want to help shape Ontario’s public schools for the next generation? Run for school board trustee | The Star.
- Short videos promoting the role of trustee (featuring interviews with four current trustees who are not running again) and the importance of voting are in production, the first of which were launched after the Civic Holiday weekend.
Post Election – School Board Inaugural/Organizational Meeting Date – November 2022
The next term of office (2022-2026) begins for publicly elected school board trustees on November 15, 2022. A newly elected trustee does not officially take office until the board’s inaugural/organizational meeting (within 7 days of November 15, 2022) and a trustee swears a declaration as prescribed in the Education Act.
For more information about key dates, visit: OPSBA Municipal Election Checklist
- August 6 – Burlington
Equal Voice is offering a free one-day crash course on running in politics entitled, Campaign School. From their promotional materials: “Hear from guest speakers, ask questions, and network with others interested in politics. Expect to practice your ‘elevator pitch’ and run a mock campaign!” For more details, visit: GTA Campaign School – Equal Voice
- August 14 to 17 — Ottawa
The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) will hold its annual conference and general meeting, where a new president and secretary-treasurer will be elected. Premier Doug Ford will speak at the event, along with other opposition leaders. The ministers’ forum, known as the “bear pit,” is also on the docket, however the conference now takes place while the House is in session. OPSBA President Cathy Abraham and First Vice-President Kathleen Woodcock will be attending and meeting with key ministers and staff.
Other News Releases and Information
- August 3, 2022 OPSBA Letter: Commitments under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
- July 29, 2022 Statement: Ontario Marks World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
- July 21, 2022 News Release: COVID-19 Vaccine Bookings to Open For Children Aged Six Months to Under Five Years
- July 19, 2022: The Chiefs of Ontario launched a new series of tools and guides designed to help more Ontario First Nations negotiate education agreements with their local school boards.
- July 17, 2022: The Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE) announced that its new Executive Director will be Laura Elliot. Laura joins CODE on September 1, 2022, replacing Tony Pontes. Laura was the Director of Education at the Thames valley DSB from 2013 – 2019 and has more recently done some consulting work for OESC and elsewhere.
- July 14, 2022: Memo SB22, Supply Chain Data Collection – Updated Corporate Reporting Requirements for Fiscal Years 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21
- July 15, 2022: Memo re COVID-19 Second Booster Shot Eligibility
- July 13, 2022 News Release: Ontarians Aged 18+ Eligible for Second Booster Shot
- July 6, 2022: Memo SB21, Consolidation of the Ontario School Boards’ Insurance Exchange into School Board Financial Statements
- July 2022 Newsletter: Office of the Ontario Ombudsman
- June 2022 Newsletter: Office of the Ontario Ombudsman