Legislative Update – May 11, 2020

2020 5/11 | Connects Page, Labour Relations, Ontario Newsroom, OPSBA Awards, Provincial Updates

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario resumes May 12 at 9 a.m. for a reduced Question Period and to renew the emergency declarations that have been in place since April 14. The government is resuming twice-weekly Question Periods, to be held every Tuesday and Wednesday at least, until June 4 — which is when the House is scheduled to rise for summer.  More pandemic-related legislation is also expected to be introduced and OPSBA will monitor this for any education-related impacts. We continue to expect the release of the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) very soon.

On May 8, Liberal leader Steven Del Duca announced an updated list of critic portfolios that includes newly elected MPPs Lucille Collard and Stephen Blais. MPP Kathleen Wynne remains the Liberal Education Critic and John Fraser will remain as House Leader.

The full list of critics

COVID-19 Update

Following the March Break, Ontario’s schools have now been closed for seven weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with students and teachers connecting from home. The government has extended all emergency orders put in place in April until at least May 19. This includes the extension of the closure of private schools and childcare centres. The closure order is under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act and can be extended in 14-day increments, which is why they are not aligned with the closure of public schools under the Education Act. On April 26, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce announced that school closures would continue through to May 31.  Minister Lecce also sent a letter to parents on April 28. There have been no recent decisions regarding public school closures or re-opening.

The province also announced that it would be extending hydro rate relief for families, farms, and small businesses. The announcement also included the additional types of business reopenings that would be permitted, with strict guidelines in place. As of May 8, garden centres and nurseries are allowed to reopen. On May 9, hardware stores and safety supply stores will be allowed to reopen. On May 11, any retail store with a street entrance will be allowed to reopen for curbside pickup.

“Essential construction” projects allowed to proceed now include below-grade apartment buildings and condos, as well as existing above-grade housing projects. On May 6, the Ministry of Education sent follow-up letter to Directors of Education regarding the resumption of school construction projects “as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

On May 7, the government released a plan to resume scheduled surgeries and procedures. The framework includes criteria that must be met before hospitals can resume scheduled surgeries, including that the hospital and its region have a stable number of COVID-19 cases, a stable supply of personal protective equipment and a stable supply of medications, as well as adequate capacity of beds and medical staff.

List of all Ontario emergency orders

Collective Bargaining

On May 5, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) announced the ratification of the tentative settlement that was reached with the Ontario Council of Education Workers (OCEW) on April 4, 2020.

OPSBA news release

The government statement

Public Property Assessment Network Scholarship

The Public Property Assessment Network Scholarship is being awarded in the amount of $1,000 to one recipient in each of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association’s (OPSBA) five regions, for three school years – 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22. Scholarship recipients are students of strong character, leadership skills and potential, who care deeply about their communities and furthering their own learning. Each of OPSBA’s regions has fine-tuned the eligibility and selection criteria that may be taken into consideration. For more information, please visit the OPSBA website or contact webmaster@opsba.org.

Other information