This update includes news on:
- Recent Legislative Business
- OPSBA Summer Advocacy Actions and Activities
- Ministry of Education Communications and Information – NEW Memo “Launch of 2023-24 Capital Priorities Program”
- Ministry of Education/Osgoode Professional Development Sessions for School Board Leaders
- Canadians School Boards’ Association – Provincial Member Board Information
- Other News and Information
Recent Legislative Business
The Legislative Assembly of Ontario remains adjourned for summer recess and returns September 25, 2023. In August, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) held its Annual General Meeting and Conference in London, Ontario. OPSBA President Cathy Abraham, OPSBA First Vice-President Kathleen Woodcock, and senior staff attended. They were able to connect with several cabinet ministers, opposition party leaders, and critics, including Minister Lecce, Minister Parsa (Children, Community, and Social Services), NDP Leader Marit Stiles, NDP Education Critic Chandra Pasma, Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, and municipal politicians and staff from across the province. The conference included the traditional ministers’ forum — also known as “the bear pit”, with nearly the entire cabinet in attendance, facing questions from municipal politicians. Minister Lecce was asked one question about how municipalities and school boards should work together on joint use of schools projects following the passage of Bill 98. In his response he emphasized the need for increased collaboration on such projects, as they are important to meet the needs of growing communities across the province.
The Premier addressed the group and announced the creation of the Building Faster Fund — funding for municipalities that meet to the government’s housing targets and also the expansion of “strong mayor powers.” Opposition Leader Marit Stiles also addressed the group.
To view the government news release, visit To Build More Homes, Ontario Launching Building Faster Fund and Expanding Strong Mayor Powers.
To view the backgrounder, visit Ontario Providing New Tools to Municipalities to Build More Homes Sooner.
Of note, TVO employees went on strike for the first time in the public broadcaster’s history on Monday morning. The strike impacted the AMO conference, which TVO was helping run. In the morning, TVO presenter Jeyan Jeganathan hosted the event, but once the strike was called AMO president Colin Best had to step in.
OPSBA Summer Advocacy Actions and Activities
On August 24, members of OPSBA’s Executive Council and senior staff participated in the Association’s Strategic Planning Session. The meeting included reviewing the draft operational plan and policy resolutions from the 2023 Annual General Meeting. Staff presented an advocacy plan of action for the upcoming school year and trustees reviewed orientation materials. The meeting was held at the Aga Kahn Museum, and trustees were also given a tour.
- August 23, 2023 – OPSBA offered congratulations and sent an introductory letter to the new federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Honourable Jenna Sudds. Following a presentation to the work groups earlier this year, the Association is now an endorser of the Coalition for Healthy School Food. On August 3, the Coalition sent their pre-budget submission to the federal government.
- August 21, 2023 – Following their meeting on August 10 and 11, the Indigenous Trustees’ Council sent a letter to Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce.
Ministry of Education Communications & Information
- August 21, 2023: Memo B09, 2023–24 Grants for Student Needs (GSN) and Related Regulations
- August 18, 2023: Memo SB11, Student Transportation – Start-up Survey and Daily Cancellation Report for 2023-24 School Year
- August 14, 2023: Memo B08, Launch of 2023-24 Capital Priorities Program
- Deadline for capital funding requests is October 20, 2023.
- Projects are for addressing current pupil accommodation needs and can include the creation of new licensed child care spaces – there is no limit to the number of projects that can be submitted.
- Boards are also asked to provide details of their longer term growth plans linked to the Ontario Housing Action Plan and municipal growth plans.
OPSBA attended an information session last week and school board staff have been invited to attend sessions in late August and early September.
- August 2, 2023: memo re Important Update Regarding the Canadian GED
- August 1, 2023 memo re Revisions to the Social Studies, Grades 1 to 3 Curriculum ‒Mandatory Indigenous-focused learning
Ministry of Education/Osgoode Professional Development Sessions for School Board Leaders
In Winter/Spring 2021, Osgoode Professional Development delivered a program focused on anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism. As a follow-up, Osgoode Hall Law School developed a two-part Intensive Human Rights Program for School Board Leaders. The first session on Disability Rights in Public Education occurred in Spring 2023. Part two: Hate Activity in School Boards is now open for registration. Several dates have been scheduled for trustees and directors/other senior school board leaders. Participants who completed the session in the spring and who also complete this training are eligible to receive a confirmation of attendance and participation. For more information and to register, visit the Osgoode Hall PD website.
Canadians School Boards’ Association (CSBA) – Provincial Member Board Information
- August 2, 2023: News Release, QESBA thrilled with Superior Court ruling on Bill 40 (The Quebec English School Boards Association [QESBA] had argued that many parts of Bill 40, An Act to amend mainly the Education Act with regard to school organization and governance, were unconstitutional. The legislation was originally introduced in October 2019 and passed in February 2020. The QESBA challenged the legislation and was awarded a stay in 2020, the Québec Superior Court heard the case 2021 and rendered it decision on August 2, 2023.)
The CSBA will be participating in an Ottawa Advocacy Week in early October. OPSBA President Cathy Abraham and Executive Director Stephanie Donaldson will be attending and meeting with federal MPs and key political staff.
Other News Releases and Information
- August 22, 2023: News Release, New Youth Wellness Hub Now Open in Sarnia
- August 16, 2023: News Release, ETFO members elect provincial Executive for 2023-2025
- August 14, 2023: News Release, Ontario Releases 2023-24 First Quarter Finances
- August 9, 2023: News Release, Selection of Lands Removed from the Greenbelt Was Biased and Dismissive of Effective Land-Use Planning; Preferential Treatment Given to Certain Land Developer Requests: Auditor General
- August 3, 2023: News Release, Prime Minister announces new Lieutenant Governor for Ontario
- July 31, 2023: News Release, Ontario Launching New Indian Residential School Community Engagement Fund
- June 30, 2023: School Energy Coalition Status Report