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The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is adjourned while MPPs are on a constituency week from March 15 to 19, 2021. They return to Queen’s Park on March 22. Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board announced on March 11 that the Provincial Budget will be delivered on March 24. The Grants for Student Needs (GSN) are to follow and we expect these to come in early to mid-April.

Bill 257, Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021

This legislation was introduced on March 4 by Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott. The bill, “proposes to reduce costs to broadband providers associated with attaching broadband wirelines to hydro utility poles, and would provide timely access to poles and to municipal rights of way to install broadband on municipal land.”

Current Status: Second Reading

Bill 254, Protecting Ontario Elections Act, 2021

This legislation was introduced on February 25 by Attorney General Doug Downey. The bill proposes to amend the Election ActElection Finances Act, the Members’ Integrity Act and the Municipal Elections Act. Specific changes would affect donation limits, MPP social media accounts during campaigns, create longer advance polling dates and, allow independent MPPs to receive per vote subsidies. OPSBA will continue to monitor the legislation and its proposed elections changes. The next general election is scheduled to occur on or before June 2, 2022.

Current Status: Second Reading

Bill 251, Combating Human Trafficking Act, 2021

This legislation was introduced on February 22 by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Team has met to discuss how schools play a role in protecting students against trafficking and how to support survivors.

Current Status: Second Reading

American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes quebecoise (LSQ) Courses

On March 11, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education and Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility announced that starting in September 2011, secondary schools may offer American Sign Language as a second language course.

See the memo

See additional curriculum information

Child Care Regulations

Following a previous update, amendments were filed on March 8 to Ontario Regulation 221/11: Extended Day and Third Party Programs to allow specified authorized recreational and skill building programs to operate for more than three hours per day on instructional and non-instructional days during the school year.

Municipal Codes of Conduct

On February 8, Liberal MPP Steven Blais introduced a Private Members’ Bill – Bill 260, Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act, 2021. The legislation proposes to amend the Municipal Act and the City of Toronto Act to include code of conduct breaches that involve workplace violence and harassment policies. This does not include any changes to the Education Act.

Current Status: First Reading

This introduction followed the earlier announcement from March 5, that the government will be reviewing Municipal Codes of Conduct. This consultation is not applicable to school boards or trustees but OPSBA will monitor for any proposed changes.

See the news release Ontario Launches Consultation to Strengthen Municipal Codes of Conduct

COVID-19 Update

As of the morning of March 12, 1,471 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in publicly funded schools in the past 14 days. Of those cases, 1,219 are students, 233 are staff, and 19 are not identified. Thirty-four of the 4,828 schools in the province are currently closed.

On March 5, the DM issued a memo regarding the Prioritization of Education and Child Care Workers in Phase Two: COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Plan.

Virtual Advocacy Days 2021 – Local Trustee & MPP Meetings

Over the past few weeks, OPSBA has participated in virtual Advocacy Days with the Minister of Education and PC MPPs, the New Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and the Green Party. We are encouraging all trustees to meet with their local MPPs during their constituency week, March 15 to 19. Trustees can use these meetings to re-introduce OPSBA and its priorities as well as to discuss local school board issues.

Click here for constituency office contact information and please visit the OPSBA website for our PowerPoint slide deck. Trustees can also connect with OPSBA staff for other materials.

Education Funding Memos

Other News Releases and Information

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