The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) Board of Directors held a meeting at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa on June 9 prior to the OPSBA Annual General Meeting on June 10. President Cathy Abraham provided a traditional territory acknowledgement and noted that members were joining from traditional lands across Ontario.
Education policy and program issues that were discussed in public session at the meeting are summarized below.
OPSBA Annual Report
OPSBA’s 2021-22 Annual Report showcases the wide range of work the Association has engaged in while advocating, promoting, and enhancing Ontario’s public education system. See the OPSBA Annual Report online.
The Ontario Legislature
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario rose after the 2022 Budget was presented in the Ontario Legislature. The election writ was issued on May 4 and the Provincial Election occurred on June 2. The fall session is to begin on Monday, September 12, 2022.
The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, led by Doug Ford, was re-elected in the June 2 provincial election, securing a majority government with 83 seats. The New Democratic Party of Ontario, led by Andrea Horwath, won 31 seats and will form the official opposition. The Liberal Party of Ontario, led by Steven Del Duca, captured eight seats. There was one successful independent candidate – Bobbi Ann Brady won in Haldimand—Norfolk. Mr. Del Duca was not elected in his riding, Vaughan-Woodbridge. Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, won his seat in the riding of Guelph. Both Mr. Del Duca and Ms. Horwath have announced they are stepping down as their party leaders. All former government cabinet ministers were re-elected. Elections Ontario has posted that the voter turnout was 43.03%.
Twelve seats are required for official party status in the legislature. With only eight seats, the Liberal Party remain without official party status and with that comes no funding for administrative staff and research activities, as well as designated time to speak in the legislature.
In the coming days and weeks, OPSBA will be contacting the new government to establish meetings to share and discuss education priorities. The time to form a new government varies and is typically two to five weeks. The current parliamentary calendar indicates the Legislative Assembly of Ontario will resume on Monday, September 12, 2022. OPSBA will continue to provide information and updates to members.
There were several trustee candidates in the provincial election and OPSBA congratulates those who were successful and will now become MPPs. We thank them for their contribution to public education. This includes:
- Patrice Barnes, Durham DSB – PC Candidate (Ajax)
- David Smith, Toronto DSB – PC Candidate (Scarborough Centre)
Current Party Standings – 124 seats:
- Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario – 83
- New Democratic Party of Ontario – 31
- Ontario Liberal Party – 8
- Green Party of Ontario – 1
- Independent – 1
2022 OPSBA Awards
Each year, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association honours individuals who have made significant contributions in the field of education. While it is impossible to honour all those special people who make a difference, the recipients of these awards represent the many who contribute to the creativity and hard work that make our schools and education system leaders in the world.
Jack A. MacDonald Award of Merit and Certificate of Recognition
The winners of these student awards are selected on the basis of a sound academic record throughout their career, accompanied by outstanding community service and leadership. This year’s Jack A. MacDonald Award of Merit was presented to Alexandra Elmslie, John F. Ross Collegiate, Upper Grand DSB.
Certificates of Recognition were awarded to Jessica Kellow, Englehardt HS, Upper Grand DSB, and Tabarak Al-Delaimi, Sir Wilfred Laurier, Ottawa Carleton DSB.
The President’s Award
This award recognizes trustees who have given 25 or more years of service to public education. This year’s recipients are:
- Jane Bryce, Lambton Kent DSB
- John Hendry, Waterloo Region DSB
- Rose Kitney, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB
- Angela Lloyd, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB
- Marilyn McComb, Bluewater DSB
- Susan Thayer, Algoma DSB
Colleen Schenk, Avon Maitland DSB, recipient of the 2021 President’s Award, was also recognized at this year’s AGM.
Dr. Harry Paikin Memorial Award
This award is given to an active or retired public school trustee for outstanding service. This year’s recipient is Judith Brown, Limestone DSB.
Fred L. Bartlett Memorial Award
The Fred L. Bartlett Memorial Award is given to an active or retired member of the teaching profession for outstanding contribution to education in Ontario. This year’s recipients are Kimiko Shibata, Waterloo Region DSB, and Martha Rogers, Upper Grand DSB.
OPSBA Award of Excellence and Achievement Award
The OPSBA Award of Excellence and the Achievement Award are presented by the local board to volunteers for outstanding, exemplary and/or unique contributions to the overall well-being of the school or community through in-school, board-wide, extra-curricular and/or volunteer activity.
This year’s Award of Excellence was presented to Erin Kahkonen, President, Gorham and Ware Home and School Association, Lakehead DSB.
The Achievement Award was presented to the following individuals:
- Chris and Robin Cooper, Algoma DSB
- Elizabeth Carlton, Bluewater DSB
- Aline Saleem, Durham DSB
- Stephen Crowther, Durham DSB
- Carolynn McCarron, Durham DSB
- Stephanie Vesey, Durham DSB
- Rihanna Harris, Hastings and Prince Edward DSB
- Carl Creatchman, Hamilton-Wentworth DSB
- Pamela Spragg, Hamilton-Wentworth DSB
- Brenda Gardiner, Hamilton-Wentworth DSB
- Alison Lyver, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB
- Sheri Meiklejohn, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB
- Patti Freeburn, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB
- Constance Hodson, Principal, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB
- Dawn Magee, Keewatin-Patricia DSB
- Fergus Penner, Keewatin-Patricia DSB
- Cecile Marcino, Keewatin-Patricia DSB
- Erin Kahkonen, Lakehead DSB
- Dan Hendry, Limestone DSB
- Louri Snider, Limestone DSB
- Anne McCrank, Near North DSB
- Angela Ayeni, Peel DSB
- Tracy Alli, Peel DSB
- Caroline Alli, Early Childhood Educator, Peel DSB
- Yonnette Dey, Peel DSB
- Patrika Daws, Peel DSB
- Mr. Hutchins, Simcoe County DSB
- Christopher Klassen, Simcoe County DSB
- Mona Parsram, Simcoe County DSB
- Jonathan Carr, York Region DSB
Updates were provided in private session on recent developments related to labour relations.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Following the final report of Turner Consulting to the Board in September of 2021, the 29 recommendations contained in the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Audit have been either actioned or are under consideration for potential implementation by the OPSBA Executive Council, Program and Policy Work Teams, the Indigenous Trustees’ Council, Project Compass (steering and sub-committees), as well as staff.
For more information, visit Equity and Inclusive Education.
Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA)
The 2022 CSBA Congress will be in person in Saskatoon this July, with an online attendance option available for trustees who do not wish to travel. Registration is now open! OPSBA thanks outgoing CSBA President Laurie French, a past OPSBA President, for her four years of contributions to public education at the national level.