MPPs have a constituency week that coincides with March Break, March 13 to 17. The following is an update on recent items.
Bill 92, School Boards Collective Bargaining Amendment Act
On March 8, OPSBA made a presentation to the Standing Committee on General Government regarding Bill 92, School Boards Collective Bargaining Amendment Act. Joining OPSBA at the Committee were representatives from the other school board/trustee associations – OCSTA, ACÉPO and AFOCSC. The Committee is scheduled to meet again March 9 for public hearings but no one is scheduled to appear. The bill will have clause-by-clause review (to vote on any amendments) on March 20 and report back to the House no later than March 21. Third Reading and Royal Assent should follow soon after. On February 10, the four school board associations sent a joint letter to Minister Mitzie Hunter.
Rural and Remote Education Review
On March 6, 2017 a letter was sent to school boards and municipalities from Education Minister Mitzie Hunter and Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli. The letter addresses “impacts of recent pupil accommodation reviews” and announces the creation of a Rural and Remote Education Review. Three parliamentary assistants have been appointed to lead engagement and research gathering on how to sustain a strong education system in rural and remote Ontario. These individuals are: Education PA: Granville Anderson; Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs PA: Grant Crack; and Municipal Affairs PA Lou Rinaldi. OPSBA will reach out to the Minister’s office to learn more about the timing, process and how boards/trustees can be part of this review.
Ontario’s Three Year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan
On March 8, 2017, Michael Coteau, Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism, announced the release of a three-year plan to combat systemic racism in the province entitled, “A Better Way Forward.” The plan acknowledges the presence of anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in Ontario and recognizes this discrimination can act as a barrier to people’s achievement. The plan includes strategies for collecting “disaggregated” race-based data so the province can study how specific races experience systemic racism. Beginning in 2017, disaggregated race data will be gathered on the following issues: child welfare, K-12 education, the justice system and mental health. The province is forming a new Ontario Black Youth Action Plan and introducing legislation this Spring that would give the government the authority to “mandate race data collection and implement the use of an anti-racism impact assessment process.”