Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) will return to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario before a constituency week that aligns with the Victoria Day holiday weekend (May 24-28).

COVID-19 Update

The provincial COVID-19 school-related case information webpage is not currently being updated due to the province-wide closure of schools to nearly all in-person learning.

Stay-at-Home Order

The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended the Stay-at-Home Order (O. Reg. 265/21) until at least June 2, 2021. All public health and workplace safety measures under the province-wide emergency brake will also remain in effect. No additional outdoor recreational activities will be permitted.

Current Remote Learning Period

All publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools in the province will continue to operate under teacher-led remote learning for the time being. Provincial and local medical experts, including the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other public health officials, will be consulted and use the most recent and relevant data to determine if it would be safe to resume in-person learning.

Youth Vaccination Plan

Beginning the week of May 31, youth in Ontario between 12 and 17 years of age and their family members who have not received a vaccine will be eligible to book an appointment to receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, including at special dedicated youth and family clinics throughout the weeks of June 14 and 21. The province will work with public health units to offer both doses of vaccine to youth aged 12 to 17 by the end of August, in collaboration with school boards and other partners. The government says the rollout will be informed by the work of the Children’s COVID-19 Vaccine Table and will provide access to multiple channels to support vaccinating this group, including mass vaccination clinics, community or school pop-ups, and pharmacies.

See OPSBA President Cathy Abraham’s comment on the use of schools as vaccination sites for our students.

See the May 12 memo regarding funding support for Personal Support Worker programs at school boards.

Recent and Current Legislation – Note: All government introduced legislation has moved to the Committee Stage

Bill 288, Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act, 2021 – This legislation was introduced by Labour Minister Monte McNaughton on May 6, 2021. Proposed amendments include establishing Skilled Trades Ontario, a new Crown agency to replace the Ontario College of Trades and to “streamline” apprenticeship training. The link to the news release is below.
Current Status: Referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

Bill 287, Equity Education for Young Ontarians Act, 2021 – This private member’s bill was introduced by Liberal MPP Lucille Collard. The legislation would require the history of colonization and its impact on Indigenous Peoples to be included in school curricula from kindergarten to Grade 12 in an age-appropriate manner.
Current Status: First Reading

Bill 276, Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act, 2021 – This legislation was introduced by Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria, the Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. The bill contains changes to 28 Acts, including the Education Act which includes a proposed amendment regarding demonstration schools. This bill has been referred to the Standing Committee General Government and virtual public hearings have recently been announced for May 17 and 18, 2021. Written submissions are due May 19, 2021. On April 29, OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Team has sent a brief submission.
Current Status: Ordered referred to the Standing Committee on General Government

Bill 251, Combating Human Trafficking Act, 2021 – This legislation was introduced on February 22 by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. In addition to this legislation, the Ministry of Education connected with education stakeholders, “to inform the development of an anti-human trafficking policy framework for the provincially-funded education sector.” OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Team met to discuss the questionnaire and how schools play a role in protecting students against trafficking and how to support survivors. An OPSBA submission was sent on March 19, 2021.
Current Status: Ordered referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy

Bill 216, Food Literacy for Students Act, 2021 – This legislation was introduced last October by PC MPP Daryl Kramp. While we note this legislation does not have any public hearing dates set, it was discussed at a Policy Development Work Team meeting  with trustees wanting to shared comments with the Committee and the Ministry of Education.  An OPSBA submission was sent on May 12.
Current Status: Ordered referred to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly

Thursday, May 20  – OPSBA Speaker and PD Series

Please join us on Thursday, May 20 at 12 noon for the final session in OPSBA’s Speaker and Professional Development Series. The session will provide an overview of the observations, preliminary research and implications for the future of school in OPSBA’s groundbreaking discussion paper entitled, Transitioning from the COVID-19 School Experience, followed by an opportunity to engage in a discussion forum using some of the document’s key guiding questions. OPSBA’s Judith Nyman and researcher David Jack are the presenters. Zoom details have been sent to Boards and although registration is NOT required, please send a quick email to kdevine@opsba.org indicating you plan to attend.

The Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship

The Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship is an award jointly provided by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) and the Public Board Council of OSTA-AECO. The intent is to recognize outstanding achievement in a leadership role and provide financial support to a graduating public board student trustee to assist with their post-secondary education plans (University, College, or Apprenticeship). This scholarship is based on an outstanding initiative accomplished during the student trustee’s term and how the initiative positively impacted the students in their board. Two scholarships, in the amount of $500 each, will be awarded. The application deadline is May 24, 2021.

Other News Releases and Information