Memo B6 – Budget Planning Information for 2019-20

On February 28, the Ministry of Education issued Memo B6 to all school boards via Directors of Education. The memo refers to a further update to the sector on or before March 15, 2019. In other budget related news, Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli will be delivering a luncheon speech at the Empire Club on March 28, 2019. The topic for his remarks is, “Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability.” There is speculation that the provincial budget may follow two weeks later on April 11, 2019. Canada’s Finance Minister Bill Morneau will deliver the federal budget on March 19, 2019.

Bill 48, Safe and Supportive Classrooms Act

On February 25, OPSBA President Cathy Abraham and Executive Director Rusty Hick made a presentation to the Standing Committee on Social Policy regarding Bill 48, Safe and Supportive Classrooms Act. Both the speaking remarks and submission are available on our website. Other presenters to the Committee included: the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA), and Brock University. Next week the bill will have clause-by-clause review to consider any amendments and it is to return to the House no later than March 6, 2019. The legislation, if passed, would require teachers to pass a math test before getting licensed and would revoke teaching certificates from teachers disciplined by the profession’s regulatory body for committing sexual abuse against a student or child. The bill also proposes an amendment regarding the use of service animals in schools and classrooms. OPSBA is to be part of any stakeholder discussion regarding a standard policy on service animals.

Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act

On December 6, Economic Development Minister Todd Smith introduced Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act. The omnibus bill includes changes to 12 different ministries and proposes to change business regulations relating to toxic chemicals, employment standards, child care caps, safety in assembly plants, pawnbrokers, food safety testing, wireless cellphone contracts, agriculture, water extraction permits, wastewater treatment, private career colleges and more. OPSBA is reviewing the proposed changes to the Education Act and the Child Care and Early Years Act and has sent a survey to member boards via their Early Learning Leads.
Current Status: Second Reading.

Ontario Autism Program (OAP)

On February 27, OPSBA sent a letter to Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services regarding the recently announced changes to the OAP. Our letter addresses the concerns and outstanding questions expressed by member boards. OPSBA will continue to follow up with the Ministry of Education about the impacts to schools and classrooms. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services has updated its website with the latest information concerning the April 1, 2019 effective date.​