The Legislative Assembly of Ontario has been adjourned for a constituency week and MPPs are reconvening today, Monday, April 9, 2018. The writ of election is set for May 9, 2018 with the next provincial election on June 7, 2018. This leaves four sitting weeks with the main piece of legislation to pass being the government’s budget bill. Although the government is still in place and able to make policy decisions, traditionally there tends to be limited implementation of any new government initiative and communications during the lead up to the writ.
Bill 31, Plan for Care and Opportunity Act (Budget Measures)
This legislation is the government’s budget bill and was introduced on March 28, 2018 by Minister of Finance Charles Sousa. The omnibus bill includes 31 schedules – amendments to various Acts. There is a proposed amendment to the Education Act, included in Schedule 9. This involves the recent work by the Ministry of Education and the FNMI stakeholders (including OPSBA’s Indigenous Trustees’ Council) about a Reciprocal Education Approach. The proposed legislation will enable parents of Indigenous students to choose the school system to which their child will attend. If an Indigenous child lives off reserve, but wants to attend a school on reserve, or a school operated by a First Nation or a First Nation organization off reserve, the parent will have the right to do so, provided the school is on an approved list that will be developed by the Ministry. Funding will flow through the school board to the school of choice.
Schedule 19 makes various amendments to the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996, in respect of the powers and procedures mainly with the College’s Discipline Committee. A new Part is added to the Act that requires the College to establish and administer a program to provide funding for therapy and counselling for students who are the subject of sexual abuse or of a prohibited act involving child pornography. The Ontario College of Teachers issued a news release supportive of the proposed changes, “College supports legislative changes to better protect students.”
Consultation – Potential Regulations for Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018
On March 6, 2018, the government passed Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), 2018, as well as amendments to the Education Act. This legislation will establish mandatory requirements for the prevention, detection and management of concussions in amateur competitive sports. When Rowan’s Law received Royal Assent on March 7, 2018, the one section that was proclaimed was an annual “Rowan’s Law Day.” That means that the first Rowan’s Law Day will take place on September 28, 2018. Many of the detailed specifications to implement the provisions will be provided in regulations. The government is seeking public input to help inform the development of those regulations, policies and guidelines. On March 23, 2018, a consultation was posted on the Ontario’s Regulatory Registry with comments due May 7, 2018. In February, OPSBA provided feedback to Bill 193, Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety) and the work teams will review this new consultation paper.
Provincial Election – June 7, 2018 and OPSBA Education Day
REMINDER: OPSBA is developing resources to support our advocacy initiative, OPSBA Education Day. OPSBA has tentatively set the date for Education Day as Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Please note that this date was chosen to allow sufficient time after the writ is issued to distribute final resources and time before the OPSBA AGM and Voting Day. Also note that trustees and boards can choose to participate in Education Day activities anytime during the week of May 22-25, 2018. We are asking trustees to begin thinking about possible locations for their all candidates meetings.
Elections Ontario has now updated their website to include the listing of all 124 electoral districts. The site also includes information for 16 and 17-year-olds to register as an Ontario Future Voter. At the age of 18, individuals are automatically added to the Voters List.
OPSBA Student Transportation Submission
OPSBA conducted its own student transportation survey to capture the needs and challenges facing our member boards. Our survey touched on the questions posed by the ministry, but includes more directed questions and topics that have been requested by our membership. Both trustees and Senior Business Officials agreed the top four service issues are: ride times, driver retention, funding and safety.
OPSBA Submission regarding the Ministry of Education’s New Vision for Student Transportation in Ontario Discussion Paper
2018 Municipal and School Board Elections
The Ministry of Education has shared information about their upcoming supports for the Fall Election. The Ministry memo provides details about Grade 10 Civics curriculum materials, student-led All Candidates Meetings and Trustee Candidate Research.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has also posted resources for the 2018 election on their website. The information includes Guides that have been updated to reflect legislative changes made to the Municipal Elections Act since the last election. They are available in PDF format and are available online at www.ontario.ca/municipalelections.
Here are the quick links to each Guide:
- 2018 Voters’ guide for Ontario municipal council and school board elections
- 2018 Candidates’ guide for Ontario municipal council and school board elections
- 2018 Guide for third party advertisers – Ontario municipal council and school board elections