President’s Message

Janet Bigham - PresidentPRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – March 2019

As the 2018-2019 school year unfolds, we continue to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of SCETF. For twenty years, SCETF Members have been dedicated to improving the working

conditions of teachers and the learning conditions of students, to advocating for publicly funded education and to making this world a better place for all. The SCETF Executive was honoured to provide a 20th Anniversary lanyard for each member. As I am out and about in the schools, I see members wearing these lanyards with pride!

Bill 115 Remedy Update

On November 30, 2018, the Government of Ontario contacted ETFO in order to propose a further discussion on our Bill 115 remedy. The Government’s request was made in advance of its Bill 115 remedy submission to Ontario Superior Court Judge Thomas Lederer, which was due on December 15, 2018. This remedy settlement flows from ETFO’s successful Charter Challenge on Bill 115. In early December 2018, the ETFO Provincial Executive considered the Government’s November 20th offer. It deliberated on the losses you incurred as a result of the imposition of Bill 115, a draconian piece of legislation that stripped negotiated entitlements out of ETFO Collective Agreements and violated your constitutional rights.

The ETFO Provincial Executive also considered the offer’s requirement that ETFO abandon grievances and legal proceedings that challenge the Government’s bad faith bargaining in 2014 and its secret pay-outs in 2018 to organizations that did not challenge and, in fact, cooperated with the Government’s agenda to strip education sector workers’ Collective Agreements under Bill 115. After a full discussion, the ETFO Provincial Executive determined that the recent remedy proposed by the Government does not meet the principle of fair restitution for the losses suffered by ETFO members under Bill 115 and so cannot agree to the offer.

ETFO will continue with its plan to pursue a fair Bill 115 remedy in Court before Justice Lederer, and will keep you updated as new information becomes available.

SAY NO TO LARGER CLASSES!

In late January, the Ontario PC government announced that it is considering removing the cap on class sizes for Kindergarten to Grade 3 as well as increasing the average class size for all grades.

Parents, students and educators know that increasing class size negatively impacts the quality of education and reduces access to teaching resources, especially for students who need additional support.

ETFO has set up a campaign page www.BuildingBetterSchools.ca/class to encourage members, parents and the public at large to let the government and their local MPP know they do not support larger classes and that, instead of cutting funding, the government should be investing in public education. All SCETF Members are encouraged to send a message and add your own perspective on how class size impacts education. There has been tremendous response from the public on this issue and significant media attention.

Sam Hammond, ETFO President has invited the Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson, to join him on a tour to visit schools across Ontario and to hear directly from front-line educators about their thoughts on class size. The Minister has not responded to Sam’s invitation.

Each SCETF Member should have received an ETFO ‘CLASS SIZE MATTERS’ button and ‘CUTS HURT KIDS’ button. Please wear these buttons with pride and solidarity as together, we continue to defend and promote the high-quality public education system we have in Ontario. Buttons can be picked up at the SCETF Office or request one at: janet@scetf.org.

Collective Bargaining

A thank you is extended to each SCETF Member for participating in the SCETF Local Collective Bargaining survey in late February/early March. The SCETF County Collective Bargaining Committee will be using your responses and feedback to determine member concerns priorities as we prepare the SCETF Preliminary Submission. Once approved by the SCETF Membership, the preliminary submission will determine the direction of the upcoming round of local negotiations.

All the best to each and every SCETF Member throughout the rest of the 2018-2019 school year!

Janet

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