The Legislative Assembly of Ontario remains adjourned for the summer with Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) returning on September 13, 2021.

COVID-19 Update

Ontario’s COVID-19 case rates continue to decline as vaccination numbers rise. On July 9, the province announced the move to Step 3 will occur on Friday, July 16, 2021. More details, including the changes that will come into effect are provided in the province’s Roadmap to Reopen. As of July 5, all children and youth aged 12 to 17 are eligible for a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Routine and School-based Publicly Funded Immunizations for Children
The Publicly Funded Immunization Schedules for Ontario provides free vaccines for children and adolescents to protect them in school, community and social settings. This includes protection from pertussis, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, Haemophilus influenza B, hepatitis B, varicella, measles, rubella, human papillomavirus, and meningococcal and pneumococcal disease. The COVID-19 pandemic has had many impacts across the health system, including on routine vaccinations. Public health units will be engaging and collaborating locally with school boards and other partners to plan for the return of routine immunization programming. As the province prepares for the return of in-person school in the fall, planning and delivery of routine vaccinations are important amid COVID-19 vaccination for eligible youth.

See the memo sent to Medical Officers of Health and Directors of Education.

OPSBA continues to wait for the Ministry of Education to release information and guidelines regarding the return to school in September.  Minister Lecce has indicated this will come by early August at the latest.

Education Standards Development Committee’s Initial Recommendations for K-12 Education

OPSBA is pleased to report that thanks to advocacy efforts, the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility has granted the Association a four-week extension to the initial deadline of September 2, 2021, to respond to the initial recommendations report. Our submission deadline is now September 30, 2021. The full report can be found here. This extension will give the Association and our member boards time to prepare an appropriate response, with a final review of our consultation submission with the Education Program and Policy Development Work Teams at the joint work team meeting in early September. We will also be reaching out to our school board accessibility leads in the weeks ahead.

Policy/Program Memoranda 166: Keeping Students Safe: Policy Framework for School Board Anti-Sex Trafficking Protocols

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Education released PPM 166: Keeping Students Safe: Policy Framework for School Board Anti-Sex Trafficking Protocols. This follows legislation that was introduced by the Solicitor General, Sylvia Jones this past spring and a separate consultation with the education sector, “to inform the development of an anti-human trafficking policy framework for the provincially-funded education sector.” OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Team did meet to discuss how schools can play a role in protecting students against trafficking and how to support survivors.

See the OPSBA submission.

OPSBA will follow up with the Ministry about the PPM and discuss with member boards about the policy requirements, which are effective January 31, 2022.

See the ministry news release and backgrounder.

Trustee Code of Conduct Consultation

As part of their news release on July 15 announcing supports for 2SLGBTQI+ Students, the Ministry of Education referenced an upcoming consultation regarding Code of Conduct. The release stated, “The government will be working with provincial trustee associations and other stakeholders to explore ways to strengthen the school board accountability given the role of trustees as elected leaders of school boards. The province will be seeking input from stakeholders and the public on provincial standards for trustee codes of conduct and more effective measures for preventing and addressing breaches of the code to ensure the dignity and wellbeing of all students and families, and to uphold public confidence.”

OPSBA anticipates this consultation to occur in the fall and has reached out to the Ministry to share our member board template that includes both a Code of Conduct Policy and a Step by Step Enforcement Procedure. We have also asked for specific details on timing and how individuals, member boards and OPSBA can participate in any stakeholder consultation.

Other News Releases and Information