This update includes:

  • Legislative Business for Week of April 17
  • Bill 98, Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act, 2023
  • 2023-24 Grants for Student Needs
  • OPSBA Submission re: Fourth Improvement Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
  • OPSBA’s 2023 AGM and Program Registration
  • Upcoming PD sessions for Trustees
  • Ombudsman Report – Missing In Inaction: Misty’s Story
  • Other News and Information

Legislative Business for Week of April 17

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario resumed this week after its constituency week and will sit for two weeks before the next constituency week in early May. The Liberal Party of Ontario announced details for their leadership vote. Party members will cast their ranked ballots on November 25 and 26, with the results to be announced on December 2.  The deadline for candidate registrations is September 5, although there is no date yet for when registrations will open. Candidates will have to pay a $100,000 entry fee plus a $25,000 refundable deposit.

The Minister of Education made several announcements including the introduction of Bill 98, Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act and the release of the 2023-24 Grants for Student Needs.

Bill 98, Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act, 2023

This legislation was introduced on April 17, 2023 by Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education.  The bill proposes changes to the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007, the Education Act, and the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996.  It also suggests minor wording changes to the French version to the preamble of Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001. The bill will most likely move quickly through the legislative process and OPSBA staff will monitor for any referral to Committee.
Current Status: Second Reading

With respect to the Education Act, some of the proposed amendments include:

  • “set(ting) provincial education priorities on student achievement” and requiring school boards to create multi-year plans to meet those priorities. Parents will need to be consulted on the development of their local school board’s plan twice per year and receive progress reports;
  • requiring school board trustees and senior officials to undergo provincially mandated training to make sure they have the “skills and competencies” to deliver on the government’s priorities;
  • standardizing performance assessments for directors of education;
  • establishing a new “impartial integrity commissioner-led process” for Code of Conduct complaints about school board trustees;
  • creating a new, faster process for declaring school board land as surplus; and
  • working with municipalities to help implement the province’s subsidized childcare agreement with the federal government.

The Ministry of Education issued several communications about this legislation including a news release and backgrounder, as well as two memos from the Minister and Deputy Minister; one is a high level overview of the legislation and the second is a list of the proposed changes.

To see OPSBA’s initial statement, visit OPSBA statement on The Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act.

OPSBA has an extensive consultation plan to respond to these proposed changes that involves senior staff, the Policy Development and Education Program Work Groups, Executive Council, as well as key stakeholders. It will also refer to any relevant past commentary made by the Association.

The bill was also posted for commentary on the Ontario’s Regulatory Registry with a feedback deadline of May 16, 2023.

2023-2024 Grant For Student Needs (GSN) and Priorities and Partnership Fund

Also on Monday, the Ministry of Education released information about the 2023-24 Grants for Student Needs Funding (GSN) and the Priorities and Partnership Fund. Many supporting memos were issued as well and have been posted at: Education funding, 2023–24

The memos are:

There was no stand-alone ministry news release but it was referred to in the Bill 98 new release. OPSBA issued a statement on the GSN and to view our submission regarding 2023-24 Education Funding and the Grants for Student Needs, visit 2023-24 OPSBA Education Funding and GSN Submission.

OPSBA provides comments to the Fourth Improvement Review of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

OPSBA has long been fully committed to supporting and meeting the objectives and requirements of the AODA, with its goal of an accessible Ontario by 2025, as well as the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy on accessible education for students with disabilities. To support this commitment, OPSBA requested feedback from member boards and staff leads to inform a submission to the Fourth Improvement Review of the AODA. On Wednesday, April 19, the Association provided its comments to the government and its appointed lead on the review, Rich Donovan.

Registration for OPSBA’s 2023 AGM and Program is now open!

Join us as we celebrate 35 years of OPSBA! Together we will determine priorities and directions for the coming year. From June 8 – 10, 2023, we’ll be at the beautiful Blue Mountain Resort for an event packed with professional development, networking opportunities, and exciting speakers. This year’s AGM will feature the incredibly inspiring Karl Subban and Njeri Damali Sojourner-Campbell as keynote speakers. Plus, with professional development sessions and plenty of opportunities to connect with fellow trustees, you’ll leave with valuable insights and new relationships.

OPSBA’s AGM also includes a welcome reception to kick off the event, and we’ll be concluding with the President’s Dinner on Saturday night. This is your chance to unwind, have fun, and celebrate all the hard work you do as a trustee. To view the agenda and register today, visit the 2023 OPSBA Annual General Meeting and Program.

Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship

Nominations are open for the 2022-2023 Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship. The intent of this award 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 April 28, 2023. More information can be found on The Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship (2022-23).

REMINDER: Ministry of Education/Osgoode Professional Development Sessions for School Board Leaders

The Ministry of Education is continuing its partnership with York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School to provide a new two-part human rights professional development program. These follow the Winter/Spring 2021 program that focused on anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism.

The 2023 program will consist of two half-day, live online sessions and is offered at a price of $245. It is designed for trustees, student trustees, directors of education and board senior leadership. Upon completion of both sessions, participants will be eligible to receive a confirmation of attendance and participation.

  1. Disability Rights in Public Education – This program will provide school board leaders and trustees with a foundational understanding of disability rights in publicly funded education.
    Dates: Sat., May 13, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. OR Tues., May 23, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  2. Hate Activity in School Boards – This session will provide a foundational understanding of manifestations of hate and discrimination relevant to Ontario’s publicly funded school boards.
    Dates TBD – will launch in Fall 2023

Registration is now open for these programs. For more information visit the Osgoode PD website or email education@osgoode.yorku.ca.

Ombudsman Report – Missing In Inaction: Misty’s Story

In his report, Missing in Inaction, Misty’s Story, released on April 13, the Ombudsman examines what went wrong during the 47 days in 2020 that “Misty,” a 13-year-old from Northern Ontario, was living in a home operated by Johnson Children’s Services.

Other News Releases and Information