MPPs have four sitting days this week at Queen’s Park as the Legislative Assembly of Ontario is scheduled to rise for Winter Recess on December 10, 2020. MPPs will return to Queen’s Park on February 16, 2021.

Recent Legislation and Regulations

Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures)

The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs held three days of public hearings and the bill is due back to the house for third reading by December 7, 2020. On November 27, OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Team supported a brief submission that addressed education references in the provincial budget.

In the October 30 memo to school boards, the Minister of Education referred to a number of operational changes aiming to reduce administrative burden and cut red tape. Some of these have been previously announced and more recent regulations filed include the 2020-21 pause on performance appraisals for teachers, principals and vice-principals and the flexibility for School Council and Parent Involvement Committee elections.

On December 1, Deputy Minister Nancy Naylor issued a memo regarding New Elementary Report Cards and Update on the Evaluation of Social-Emotional Learning Skills.

2021-2022 Grant For Student Needs

On December 3, the Ministry of Education released information about their engagement process regarding next year’s GSN. The 2021-22 Education Funding Consultation Guide focuses on the COVID-19 Outbreak Response, the Online Learning Adjustment, the Priorities and Partnerships Fund, Reducing Administrative Burden and Red Tape, the School Board Administration and Governance Grant, Managing Information for Student Achievement (MISA), Census Data and Secondary Class Size Compliance. Submissions are due January 15, 2021.

It’s important to note that OPSBA has already begun to gather feedback from its members about education funding beginning with regional meetings in November, discussions at both the Education Program and Policy Development Work Teams, as well as at recent meetings of OPSBA’s Executive Council and Board of Directors. Additional discussions will occur with the work teams and feedback will be sought from the Indigenous Trustees’ Council and senior business officials, and incorporate member board correspondence that included funding requests. Feedback to date includes pandemic-related costs of additional staffing for both teachers and education workers; IT devices for staff and students; HVAC and air ventilation; PPE and cleaning (supplies and caretaker costs); student transportation, and others.

OPSBA Speakers and Professional Development Sessions – First Speaker December 10

OPSBA will be bringing inspiring, informative speakers and virtual workshops through a series of speakers and PD sessions. The first session will be held via Zoom, on December 10 from 12 to 1 p.m. and features speaker Sachin Maharaj. Sachin teaches educational leadership and policy at OISE, is a teacher at the TDSB, and is a regular contributor to the Toronto Star. This series is offered free of charge but organizers are trying to determine attendance numbers, so if you are planning to attend, please send a quick email to Kendra Devine at webmaster@oesc-cseo.org.

COVID-19 Update

As of December 4, 1,445 cases of COVID-19 cases had been reported in publicly funded schools in the past 14 days. Of those cases, 1,192 are students, 252 are staff, and one was not identified. Six of the 4,828 schools in the province are currently closed, or 0.12%.

The government has rolled out a pilot of voluntary asymptomatic testing for students and staff at designated schools in Toronto, Peel and York Regions and Ottawa — four Ontario regions with a high number of active COVID-19 cases. Additional schools in hotspot areas will also be receiving voluntary asymptomatic testing clinics in the near future. On November 30, the government announced a second round of the Support for Learners program, which will cost the government about $380 million. The program will provide direct one-time payments to help offset additional learning costs, whether their children attend school in person, online or a mix of both.

Parents or guardians residing in Ontario can complete one application per child to receive a one-time payment of:

  • $200 for each child aged 0 to 12; or
  • $250 if their child or youth is aged 0 to 21 with special needs

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