The Legislative Assembly of Ontario returned on June 10 for the introduction of new government legislation.  Attorney General Doug Downey introduced Bill 307, Protecting Elections and Defending Democracy Act, which reinstates sections of the Election Finances Act struck down by a Superior Court judge earlier in the week.  Under the government’s new legislation, third party-advertisers cannot spend more than $600,000 in the 12 months ahead of a campaign period.  MPPs sat Saturday morning, June 12, to begin debate on the new election financing bill, which invokes the notwithstanding clause, at second reading (plus a likely time-allocation motion).  MPPs also sat on June 13 to complete second-reading debate and June 14, for a third-reading vote.

REMINDER: OPSBA Annual General Meeting

OPSBA’s 2021 AGM and Keynote was held via Zoom on June 12 with livestreaming provided on OPSBA’s YouTube page. The keynote speaker was Kike Ojo-Thompson, founder and principal consultant of KOJO Institute, and her session was entitled, Addressing Anti-Black Racism in Education: A Conversation for System Leaders.  Elections were held for members of the Policy Development and Education Work Teams, and Regional Chairs and Vice-Chairs (if necessary) at the regional meetings at 1 p.m. Please visit the AGM webpage for more information.

COVID-19 Update

Schools across Ontario will remain closed until the fall due to the ongoing presence of COVID-19 in the community.

On June 7, the government filed a regulation under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 to provide publicly-funded and private schools with the opportunity to invite students to return to school in June for short, outdoor celebrations.  All celebrations must adhere to the requirements outlined in the Guidance to End of School Year Celebrations.  The Guidance outlines health and safety requirements, as well as possible approaches boards could consider.  School boards may have planned virtual graduation ceremonies which should proceed, augmented by outdoor end of school year celebrations where possible.

On June 11, the province moved to Step One of its Roadmap to Reopen.  This includes the following:

  • Outdoor social gatherings and organized public events for up to 10 people
  • Outdoor dining for up to 4 people per table
  • Essential retail capacity at 25%
  • Non-essential retail capacity at 15%
  • Religious services, rites and ceremonies indoors at 15% capacity and outdoors with capacity limited to permit physical distancing of 2 metres
  • Outdoor sports training (no games or practices), fitness classes and personal training up to 10 people
  • Day camps
  • Overnight camping at campgrounds and campsites, including Ontario Parks and short-term rentals
  • Outdoor horse racing and motor speedways without spectators
  • Outdoor pools and wading pools

On June 10, Minister of Health Christine Elliott announced an accelerated second dose schedule.  Ontario is further expanding eligibility to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in areas with the highest rates of Delta (B.1.617) variant transmission.  Beginning at 8 a.m. on Monday, individuals who live in Halton, Peel, Porcupine, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and York public health units and also received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine on or before May 9, 2021 will be eligible to book their accelerated second dose appointment through the provincial booking system (for Peel and Toronto public health units), directly through public health units that use their own booking system and through participating pharmacies.  Primary care providers will also be reaching out to book appointments.

The Ministry also sent information about updated screening processes for “school staff and students with special education needs who are currently working and learning in-person in Ontario schools.”  Two documents, one for school and child care, and the other for employees and visitors, include information about screening, isolation/testing, and masking.

Grade 9 Math Curriculum

On June 9, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced an updated math curriculum that will merge the academic and applied streams for Grade 9.  The new course will focus on things such as financial literacy, data literacy and coding.

For more details, see the Ministry memo.

Equity Planning Tool

The Ministry of Education has introduced a new tool for school boards “To improve education outcomes for Black students and break down systemic barriers.”  The new tool will be in place for the upcoming school year.

Math Proficiency Test (MPT)

On June 8,  the Ministry sent a memo announcing the extension of the current deadline to fulfill the Math Proficiency Test (MPT) condition from August 31, 2021 to December 31, 2021 for Ontario-trained teacher candidates applying to the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) for certification and OCT members with a condition to complete the MPT.

K-12 Education Standards Development Committee Initial Recommendations Report

A report which includes initial recommendations to the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility has been released by the K-12 Education Standards Development Committee.  The initial report contains 197 recommendations that span the following nine broad themes:

  1. attitudes, behaviours, perceptions and assumptions
  2. awareness and training
  3. curriculum, assessment and instruction
  4. digital learning and technology
  5. organizational barriers
  6. social realms
  7. physical and architectural barriers
  8. planning for emergencies and safety framework
  9. timelines and accountability

Stakeholders have been asked to provide comments by September 2, 2021.  OPSBA has contacted member boards about this review to collect contact information in order to provide a future submission.

See the Deputy Minister of Education memo to Directors of Education and School Authorities encouraging participation in the public consultation.

Other News Releases and Information

June 11, 2021 News Release: Ontario Partnering with 4-H to Promote Agri-food Education

June 4, 2011: Memo SB11, Asset Retirement Obligations Standard Implementation and Building Assets – School Facilities Inventory System Information Verification