Legislative Update, July 28

2017 7/31 | Connects Page, Early Years, Education Finance, Federal Issues, Provincial Updates

The following is an update on recent items.

Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017
This legislation was introduced on June 1, 2017, by Minister of Labour Kevin Daniel. The bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs by the House, to be studied over the summer. The legislation builds upon the final Changing Workplaces Review – a 420-page report containing 173 recommendations for how the province can improve its workplace regulations.

The bill includes raising Ontario’s minimum wage, expanding personal emergency leaves, changes to employment standards and other issues all intended to create fairer workplaces. The Committee held public meetings throughout the month of July. OPSBA reviewed the proposed legislation and sought legal counsel for education sector impacts and provided a submission to the Committee last week.

OPSBA will continue to follow this legislation when the House resumes in September.

Bill C-45, Cannabis Act
Last April, the Federal government introduced proposed legislation that will legalize and regulate cannabis across the country by July 2018. In Ontario, the Legalization of Cannabis Secretariat (LCS) has been established and is planning to engage stakeholders over the summer 2017 on topics related to the Federal government’s planned legalization (such as health regulations, youth prevention).

On July 12, 2017 the LCS announced an online public survey consultation with a deadline of July 31, 2017. There are five topic areas for feedback:

  • setting a minimum age for having, using and buying cannabis
  • deciding where people can use cannabis
  • keeping our roads safe
  • regulating cannabis sales
  • planning public education

Government news release

Online survey

Next week, OPSBA will be participating in a meeting with experts, the government and other stakeholders. This consultation will include all parts of the legalization, from regulatory changes to public education. The intent is to inform Ontario’s Cannabis Bill and provide input on public awareness and youth/young adult prevention.

Also, OPSBA’s work teams, Education Program and Policy Development, are meeting in early September and this will be on the agenda. In fall/winter, the Ministry of Education will be engaging with OPSBA, along with the other three trustee associations on youth prevention.

Child Care Announcement
On July 20, 2017, the Ministry of Education announced the appointment of Dr. Gordon Cleveland to review and provide recommendations to improve access to fee subsidies and making child care more affordable. He is to report back with recommendations by February 2018. Dr. Cleveland is an economics professor at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus. This appointment is part of Ontario’s Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework that was announced in June. The Framework is a Seven Point Action Plan that includes: increasing access, enhancing affordability, establishing a workforce strategy,  determining a provincial definition of “quality”, a renewed approach to inclusion, creating an outcomes and measurement strategy and a public awareness campaign.

Government news release

Other Information
Two new working groups were announced earlier this year to begin work in September 2017 as follows:

  1. Transportation Working Group to review Campbell Report recommendations. The review will include reviewing Phase 2 recommendations from the Campbell Report and a review of the funding model. OPSBA’s Director of Finance, Wayne McNally, will be a member of this working group.
  2.  Benefits Working Group to review the funding model for benefits now that board staff have been moved into the provincial benefits trust. OPSBA will be represented by two Senior Business Officials from our member boards and regularly connect with our senior finance and labour relations staff. 

OPSBA will continue to provide updates and information about these working groups.