The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is in session for three weeks before a constituency week that aligns with the Victoria Day holiday weekend (May 24-28), and is set to rise for summer recess on June 3.
Education Week 2021- Stronger Together
For 2021, Ontario’s Education Week theme is Stronger Together. Building on the 2020 theme, Rising to the Challenge, we are recognizing our collective efforts in overcoming the difficulties of COVID-19. Many OPSBA member boards are highlighting the amazing activities and initiatives happening through the contributions of students, parents, teachers and education workers who promote and ensure student success and well-being at the local level. We’re taking this opportunity to encourage you to share your good news on Twitter and Instagram (and other social media of course!) using the hashtags #OntEdTogether and the Ministry of Education’s hashtag #StrongerTogether.
See OPSBA’s Education Week web page
The provincial COVID-19 school-related case information webpage is not currently being updated due to the province-wide closure of schools to nearly all in-person learning.
On April 29, the government announced it will be accelerating vaccination rollout over the next few weeks, starting with targeting 50 per cent of upcoming vaccine shipments to hot spot communities as identified by postal code during the weeks of May 3 and 10. Approximately 800,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Ontario per week at the start of May, ramping up to 940,000 doses per week by the end of May.
Earlier today Minister Lecce released a statement via twitter about vaccines for all education workers next week.
Recent and Current Legislation
Bill 276, Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act – This legislation was introduced by Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria, the Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. The bill contains changes to 28 Acts, including the Education Act which includes a proposed amendment regarding demonstration schools. This bill has been referred to the Standing Committee General Government and even though public hearings have not been posted, OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Team has sent in a brief submission.
Current Status: Ordered referred to Standing Committee
Bill 269, Protecting the People of Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2021 – This legislation supports the provincial government’s budget that was released on March 24 by the Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy. That same day, OPSBA shared a preliminary overview of the 2021-22 budget that included education sector impacts with its members.
Current Status: Royal Assent received on April 27, 2021.
See the Ministry of Finance news release, Ontario Legislature Passes Budget Bill to Protect Health and Jobs
Bill 260, Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act, 2021 – This legislation was introduced on February 8 by Liberal MPP Stephen Blais. The legislation proposes to amend the Municipal Act and the City of Toronto Act to include code of conduct breaches that involve workplace violence and harassment policies. The introduction followed a previous government announcement on March 5, indicating that the government will be reviewing Municipal Codes of Conduct. This consultation is not applicable to school boards or trustees but OPSBA will monitor for any proposed changes. On April 14, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing issued a news release, Ontario Now Accepting Public Feedback to Strengthen Municipal Codes of Conduct
Current Status: First Reading.
Bill 251, Combating Human Trafficking Act, 2021 – This legislation was introduced on February 22 by Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. In addition to this legislation, the Ministry of Education connected with education stakeholders, “to inform the development of an anti-human trafficking policy framework for the provincially-funded education sector.” OPSBA’s Policy Development Work Team met to discuss the questionnaire and how schools play a role in protecting students against trafficking and how to support survivors. A submission was sent on March 19, 2021.
Current Status: Second Reading.
Mathematics Proficiency Test Update
A memo was sent on April 29 regarding the Mathematics Proficiency Test (MPT), which is a requirement for certification by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT). An amendment was made to Ontario Regulation 271/19 (Proficiency in Mathematics) under the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996.
The Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship
Nominations are now open for the Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship. This is an award jointly provided by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) and the Public Board Council of OSTA-AECO. The intent is to recognize outstanding achievement in a leadership role and provide financial support to a graduating public board student trustee to assist with their post-secondary education plans (university, college, or apprenticeship). This scholarship is based on an outstanding initiative accomplished during the student trustee’s term and how the initiative positively impacted the students in their board. Two scholarships, in the amount of $500 each, will be awarded. The application deadline is May 24, 2021.
Other News Releases and Information
- April 30, 2021 News Release: Ontario Extends Freeze on College and University Tuitions
- April 29, 2021 News Release: Canada And Ontario Invest Over $44 M in Improved Culture, Recreation, and Green Infrastructure in Partnership with 15 Communities Across Ontario
- April 28, 2021 Auditor General Reports: Special Report on Pandemic Readiness and Response in Long-Term Care
- April 28, 2021 News Release: Ontario to Introduce Paid COVID-19 Leave
- April 28, 2021 News Release: Ontario Helps Train More Personal Support Workers Financial assistance available for students enrolled at Private Career Colleges and School Boards
- April 26, 2021 News Release: Ontario Introduces Legislation to Take Action Against Stunt Driving and Street Racing
- April 2021: Ontario Ombudsman Newsletter