President’s Message

Janet Bigham – President

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – November 2018

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Simcoe County Elementary Teachers’ Federation. SCETF was established on July 1, 1998. 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. Congratulations to each and every SCETF Member for their on-going professionalism each and every day as they strive to provide the best educational experience possible for the students in their care!

Bill 115 Remedy Update

 Members may recall that in April 2018, ETFO and OSSTF filed unfair labour practice complaints with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) against the Government of Ontario. The complaints were made after it was discovered that the Government had agreed to provide payouts worth tens of millions of dollars to unions and other groups that did not participate in the Bill 115 Charter challenge.

ETFO, OSSTF, CUPE and OPSEU have all filed unfair labour practice complaints against the Government, and the complaints are being heard together before the Ontario Labour Relations Board. The first two hearing dates took place on September 27th, and October 3rd, 2018.

Legal arguments focussed on the Government’s objections to the four unions’ complaints, as well as the Government’s resistance to disclosing documents related to the payouts. The Government finished its arguments on October 3, 2018. Two additional hearing dates (December 13, 2018, and January 28, 2019) have been scheduled.

Repeal of HPE Curriculum

During the summer of 2018, the Government reissued the 2018 Health and Physical Education Curriculum with 1998 human growth and development section and announced a new parent ‘snitch line’. In response, ETFO held a press conference on September 4th to announce that ETFO filed an application for judicial review of the Minister of Education’s directive on the 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum and the parent ‘snitch line’. This judicial review will be heard on November 23rd. ETFO’s application has been combined with the application filed by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. ETFO Legal Counsel is preparing to call expert evidence on many aspects of this case including the violation to freedom of expression, the need to protect students, promote inclusion and ensure student safety.

Education Consultations Begin

The provincial government has launched its education consultations. The closing date of the consultations is December 15, 2018. It is important for ETFO members to engage in the process. The consultations seek input into a variety of issues including:

  1. Improving student performance in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
  2. Preparing students with needed job skills, such as skilled trades and coding.
  3. Improving provincial standardized testing.
  4. Ensuring students graduate with important life skills, including financial literacy.
  5. Banning the use of technology in classrooms, such as cell phones.
  6. Building a new age-appropriate Health and Physical Education curriculum that includes subjects like mental health, sexual health education and the legalization of cannabis.
  7. Developing the first-ever Parents’ Bill of Rights.

The government has three ways to participate in the Education Consultation: a telephone town hall, an on-line survey and an open submission. For more information on how to have your voice heard, go to: https://www.ontario.ca/page/for-the-parents. Information on each of the topics that are part of this consultation can be found at: https://www.buildingbetterschools.ca/consultation.

Collective Bargaining

 Our Collective Agreement expires on August 31, 2019, and preparations have begun for the upcoming round of bargaining. ETFO’s goal in every bargaining round is to negotiate strong Collective Agreements that improve the professional and personal lives of every member. To do that, your union needs to know what is important to you.

To have your voice heard, SCETF Members were encouraged to participate in the ETFO Central Bargaining Survey. This Central Bargaining Survey was available from November 5th to 25th. The purpose of this survey was for ETFO to explore and understand member concerns and bargaining priorities.

Your participation was a key part of the process of defining and establishing ETFO’s central goals for the 2019 round of collective bargaining. This was your opportunity to provide input so that ETFO has a comprehensive and accurate picture of the concerns and priorities of all ETFO members as we prepare for the next round of negotiations.

It continues to be a privilege to serve as your local President. If you have a question, or an issue to bring to my attention, please contact me by phone at 705-728-2888 or by email at janet@scetf.org. Wishing everyone all the best for the remainder of the year! Be sure to take time for family, friends and yourself.

Janet

 

 

 

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