The Legislative Assembly of Ontario resumed on Feb. 21, 2017. Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle has temporarily stepped down from his cabinet post and Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro will assume the portfolio in the interim. Current Party Standings for the 107 seats are:
Ontario Liberal Party: 57
Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario: 29
New Democratic Party of Ontario: 20
Vacant seat(s): 1
The vacancy is due to the resignation last December by Liberal MPP David Orazietti (MPP Sault Ste Marie). A by-election must be called by June.
With the House resuming, OPSBA will continue to monitor legislation that affects education and our member boards.
The government has introduced proposed amendments to the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act (SBCBA). Bill 92, School Boards Collective Bargaining Amendment Act, has been posted on the legislative website. Second Reading of the Bill began on Thursday, Feb. 23. The Ministry of Education also issued a news release and backgrounder. OPBSA will review the bill and continue to follow it as it moves through the legislative process and provide regular updates, media coverage and Hansard transcripts. OPSBA has consulted extensively with our member boards and contributed significantly to the government’s consultation. A key OPSBA priority remains to secure a legislated, fair structure and process for effective provincial bargaining. Our goal in this regard is to bring stability to the entire education sector.
The Association will also continue to monitor the next steps of Bill 68, Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act, 2016. This bill was introduced on November 16, 2016 by Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro and is currently at Second Reading Debate. For school board trustees, the legislation includes important amendments: changes to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (to add a range of penalties) and changes to the Municipal Elections Act that change the term start date for councillors and school board trustees (from December 1 to November 15). OPSBA has been reviewing this legislation with the Policy Development Work Team, Executive Council and senior staff at member boards in order to prepare for a future submission. Further analysis of the proposed legislation shows additional changes to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Of note, the legislation is proposing to allow judges to receive conflict of interest applications from anyone, not just an elector in a board’s jurisdiction. The legislation further proposed to allow judges to receive applications against former board members. The feedback to date indicates that these would not be supported by our membership.
- On February 1, 2017, OPSBA submitted a response regarding Building A Better Future: A Discussion Paper for Transforming Early Years and Child Care in Ontario. Our submission was based on feedback from Early Learning Leads at our member boards, our Policy Development Work Team members, participation at stakeholder meetings and past commentary. We will continue to work with the Ministry and participate in discussions about this paper’s next steps, the additional child care spaces across the province and the Fall implementation of before-and-after care for children 6-12.
Amendments were made to Ontario Regulation 243/07 under the Safe Water Drinking Act and the Minister of Education issued memo SB 4 to school boards via their Business Officials. OPSBA responded to the consultation regarding these amendments last fall and will monitor the impact of these changes. Most significant is the increase in the number of samples required from all drinking water sources and the potential associated costs for boards.