This update includes news on:

  • Recent Legislative Business – Week of September 18
  • OPSBA Advocacy Actions and Activities
  • Ministry of Education Communications and Information – Bill 98 Next Steps / Regulation Postings
  • Other News and Information

Recent Legislative Business

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario returned on September 25, 2023, following summer recess. Many MPPs attended the International Plowing Match, recently held in Bowling Green, Ontario. Other news includes the resignation of Kaleed Rasheed as the Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery. Rasheed remains the MPP for the riding of Mississauga East—Cooksville and will now sit as an Independent.  After a two-day caucus retreat in Niagara Falls, the Premier announced his intent to return the lands removed from the Greenbelt last fall back under environmental protection. This was followed by the resignation of Labour Minister Monte McNaughton, the MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex. McNaughton issued a statement indicating he is returning to the private sector. He is the third minister to resign from his cabinet position this month. The government has up to six months to call a by-election. On September 22, the Premier issued the news release, Premier Doug Ford Updates Cabinet, that includes these new roles:

  • David Piccini, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development;
  • Andrea Khanjin, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks;
  • Todd McCarthy, Minister of Public and Business Service Delivery; and
  • Vijay Thanigasalam, Associate Minister of Transportation.

OPSBA Advocacy Actions and Activities

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30, 2023, marks the third National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The creation of this federal statutory holiday was through legislative amendments made by the Parliament of Canada. On June 3, 2021, Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Day for Truth and Reconciliation) received Royal Assent. September 30 has been marked as Orange Shirt Day since 2013. Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day that honours the children who survived Indian Residential Schools and remembers those who did not. We honour First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children and communities impacted by this system. During Truth and Reconciliation Week, September 26 to 30, we encourage schools to participate in events offered by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

OPSBA is recognizing the day and week by surfacing school board activities, and will be releasing a public statement as well. For more, visit our National Day for Truth and Reconciliation webpage.

National Healthy Schools Week

The inaugural National Healthy Schools Week (#NHSW2023) in Canada takes place from October 2 to 6, 2023 and will return every year in the first week of October. A “Healthy School” centres (w)holistic health and well-being in its policies, its curriculum, its people, its relationship and its environment. A Healthy School focuses on what the school community can do together. That’s why #NHSW2023 is a great opportunity for schools to tailor the week’s activities in their priority areas, and encourage the entire school to participate. School leads can download the NHSW Planning toolkit and Communications toolkit. For more information, visit National Healthy Schools Week.

OPSBA has long advocated for healthy schools, including during the COVID-19 pandemic and with the following recent submissions:

  • August 24, 2023 – OPSBA Letter to the Honourable Jenna Sudds, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
  • February 24, 2023 – OPSBA Letter to the federal government regarding a National School Food Policy

Local Government Week

Local Government Week (LGW) aims to increase youth and public awareness about the important role local government plays in our communities. Please join OPSBA, our member trustees and our education partners in raising civic awareness and promoting the role of trustees among Ontario students. OPSBA has created resources to facilitate in-person and virtual sessions with students in Grade 5 or 10 classrooms, including a PowerPoint presentation and video. The slide deck allows trustees to modify them to add local board information. We encourage you to be inspired about what you do locally and how it impacts your students and community. In addition to classroom visits, we encourage you to connect and share information with your municipal counterparts. Centrally, OPSBA will be promoting LGW via social media and using #LocalGovWeek Resources will be released on the OPSBA School Board Governance page soon.

Good Governance Workshops: OPSBA Leaders Academy

This fall, OPSBA is introducing an exciting lineup of Good Governance Workshops to support trustees in their vital governance roles. On September 20, Marion Thomson Howell presented a well-attended virtual session called In the Boardroom: How Great Boards Meet. The recorded video from this session will be available soon and will be shared with all school boards.

SAVE THE DATE for the next OPSBA Leaders Academy workshops in this series (registration to come soon): 

  • Wednesday, October 18, 2023
    Meaningful Engagement: How to Hear from the voices that matter on issues that are important
    Facilitated by Marion Thomson Howell
  • Wednesday, November 22, 2023
    Delegations: Opportunities to hear from the public and what to do when disruptions get in the way
    Facilitated by Marion Thomson Howell

Ministry of Education Communications & Information

Bill 98, The Better Schools and Outcomes Act, 2023

The Ministry of Education (EDU) is moving ahead on regulations and next steps stemming from Bill 98, The Better Schools and Outcomes Act, 2023. For these, OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Group (PDWG) will be taking the lead on the Association’s responses and working with senior staff, member board senior staff and education partners.  Our responses will also reflect our earlier submission.

Director of Education Performance Appraisals

The PDWG members and alternates will be participating in a virtual consultation session next week with members of the ministry’s governance branch. The virtual meeting will be a ministry-led facilitation to answer and discuss the contents of a future regulation. In addition, there will be a regulatory posting on the Ontario’s Regulatory Registry and this is expected by the end of the month. OPSBA will submit a formal response to the ministry following the consultation and also submit feedback to the online registry posting.

Leveraging Surplus School Board Property

The outline for this regulation amendment has been posted on the Ontario’s Regulatory Registry. To see this regulation amendment outline, visit The Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act, 2023 – Regulation Amendment: Disposition of Surplus Property

Schools on a Shared Site

The outline for this new regulation has been posted on the Ontario’s Regulatory Registry. To see this regulation amendment outline, visit New Regulation under The Education Act: Schools on a Shared Site.

The feedback deadline for the above two postings is October 19, 2023. See the memo from the Ministry of Education about the postings.

In addition to the above public postings, OPSBA has been asked to participated in a stakeholder consultation re: Schools in Joint Use Facilities. The discussions are to include what key guiding principles and criteria should be considered, and how governance might work in a joint-use facility. There are three dates in October at which all school board/trustee associations have been invited to bring three staff representatives. OPSBA will also connect on these with the Council of Senior Business Officials (COSBO).

Concussion Safety and Rowan’s Law Information

This year Rowan’s Law Day is on September 27, 2023. See resources provided by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Other News Releases and Information