Legislative Update, June 22, 2017

2017 6/23 | Connects Page, Early Years, Education Finance, Provincial Updates

MPPs rose for summer recess on June 1, 2017, and return on Monday, September 11, 2017. The following is an update on recent items.

Rural and Remote Education Review

OPSBA provided a submission to the Ministry consultation on June 16, 2017. The content was based on feedback from the ten engagement sessions, as well as the discussion at the recent Policy Development Work Team, Executive Council and Board of Directors. OPSBA staff have met with policy staff from Minister’s Hunter office who were appreciative of our submission and the comments. We expect information about next steps very soon.

Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017
Bill 148 was introduced on June 1, 2017, by Minister of Labour Kevin Daniel. That same day the bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, which was given permission from the House to meet over the summer to study the bill. 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. OPSBA will be reviewing the bill for school board implications and reaching out to member board CFOs and Human Resources staff.

The committee will be holding public meetings in Thunder Bay, North Bay, Ottawa, Kingston, and Windsor-Essex the week of July 10, 2017. Public meetings will also be held in London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Niagara, Hamilton and Toronto during the week of July 17, 2017. Written submissions are due Friday, July 21, 2017.

Capital Funding Announcements

Earlier this week, the ministry announced details for the 38 school construction projects across the province – a combination of new schools, renovations and additions. This funding was previously announced in the GSNs, but the specific project were not identified. The ministry backgrounder lists the 38 locations.

Provincial and Federal Child Care Announcements

On June 6, 2017, the government announced Ontario’s Renewed Early Years and Child Care Policy Framework. 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.

On June 16, 2017, the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario announced the first Early Learning and Child Care Bilateral Agreement. This followed an earlier announcement on June 12 when the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework was announced, addressing the federal government’s long term vision and plans for children across the country. The June 16Ontario announcement includes a three year bi-lateral agreement allocating $435 million to the sector. The priority areas for this funding are: increasing access to child cares (including money to municipalities for subsidies), Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres (expansion) and Training & Professional Development (more opportunities and ECE qualification upgrades).