The legislature’s summer session will run into a fifth week. MPPs returned to Queen’s Park after the long weekend on September 6, 2022. The House may then adjourn until after the Municipal and School Board elections are held.

First Day of School!

While some school boards have different first days of school, OPSBA is celebrating the return on Tuesday, September 6, by asking social media followers to share first-day-of-school photos of themselves or their children using the hashtag #OntEdFirstDay. These photos could be from 1962, 1982, 2002 or 2022 – that’s up to you! Photos should be shared on Twitter or Instagram, which OPSBA will be monitoring for retweeting and further sharing.

On September 2, the Ministry of Education sent a memo, Back to School: Normal, Stable & Enjoyable to all school boards and authorities. The memo contains a reminder about the government’s Plan to Catch Up, Tutoring Supports, Graduation Requirements (including the return to 40 hours of community involvement), new curriculum components, and updates regarding assessments and evaluations.  A separate document, Key Messages and Additional Resources to Support Professional Activity Dayshas also been provided.

COVID-19 – New Public Health Guidance and Booster Information

As of September 1, parents and caregivers of children aged five to 11 are now able to book an appointment for a paediatric COVID-19 booster dose through the COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. Individuals aged 18 and over remain eligible for their second booster dose at a recommended interval of five months since their first booster dose. On the recommendation of Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario is updating public health guidance to manage COVID-19 during the respiratory illness season this fall.

Updates announced include:

  • Dropping of the mandatory five-day isolation period if you test positive for COVID-19. Instead, individuals are advised to stay home until symptoms of any respiratory illness improve.
  • If you are in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, continue to self- monitor for symptoms. There is no longer a need to isolate but you should wear a mask for 10 days when in public.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, or runny nose, stay home from school, work and social events until your fever is gone and symptoms are improving, get a rapid antigen test or, if eligible, a PCR test. Wear a mask for 10 days after and avoid non-essential visits to high-risk individuals and settings.

Face coverings will not be mandatory in Ontario schools this fall, although they are encouraged. See a memo, Updates to the Screening Tool, that was sent to all school boards from their regional office.

New and Current Legislation

Bill 17, Abuse Prevention Week Act, 2022

This legislation was introduced on August 30, 2022, by NDP MPP Michael Mantha. If passed, the bill would proclaim, “the week beginning on the first Sunday in October in each year as Abuse Prevention Week. The Act establishes an Abuse Prevention Framework Advisory Committee to provide recommendations to the Minister of Education.”
Current Status: First Reading

Bill 16, Racial Equity in the Education System Act, 2022

This legislation was introduced on August 30, 2022, by three NDP MPPs – Lise Vaugeois, Jill Andrew and Laura Mae Lindo, who had introduced a similar bill last year. Various Acts, including the Education Act are to amended with respect to racial equity.
Current Status: First Reading

Bill 7, More Beds, Better Care Act, 2022

This legislation was introduced by Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra on August 18, 2022. The bill amends existing laws so alternative level of care patients at hospitals can be transferred to long-term care homes while they wait for a permanent bed. See the news release, Ontario Introduces A Plan to Stay Open: Health System Stability and Recovery
Current Status: Royal Assent (August 31, 2022)

Bill 3, Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022

This legislation was introduced by Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark on August 10, 2022. Among the suggested changes, “the bill and the proposed regulations would give new powers to the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa.”  See the news release, Ontario Empowering Mayors to Build Housing Faster.
Current Status: Ordered for Third Reading (August 31, 2022)

Bill 2, Plan to Build Act (Budget Measures), 2022

This legislation was introduced by Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy on August 9, 2022. It contains 6 schedules or changes to various Acts to implement the government’s budget.
Current Status: Third Reading (September 1, 2022)

Municipal and School Board Elections – Candidate Information Needed

With the next Municipal and School Board Elections coming up on October 24, OPSBA continues to work with the Ontario Education Services Corporation (OESC) on a number of initiatives, including the guide Making A Difference: Running for Election as a School Board Trustee, a series of election information posters, and most recently, Your Guide To Hosting A School Board Trustee All Candidates Meeting. Nomination information and candidate details will soon be available on the revised and updated school board elections website.

All candidates are encouraged to submit their profiles (name, school board and ward) to TrusteeCandidateInfo@oesc-cseo.org.

Candidates can also include a photo, a brief biography, social media handles, email addresses and website URLs with their profile.

In addition, OPSBA has worked on a number of initiatives throughout the summer to promote the role of school trustee in advance of the final nomination deadline of August 19. This included continued promotion for a dedicated promotional website to encourage Ontario residents to run for trustee, including a tool to subscribe to an email list that sent a number of follow-up emails to those who provided their address, encouraging them to apply to run for trustee. This promotion will shift in coming weeks to encourage constituents to vote and learn more about the trustee candidates in their area.

See Trustee interview clips included in the campaign, featuring outgoing Toronto DSB Trustees Robin Pilkey and Chris Moise, York Region Trustee Juanita Nathan and Limestone DSB Trustee and past OPSBA President Laurie French. The website located at the URL featured in the videos is currently being revamped in advance of a shift in messaging to encourage voting.

Note: OPSBA has 2 member boards with no candidates filing for one ward position each. To see our recommended advice, visit: School Board Candidate Vacancy Information-Post-Nomination-Deadline 

Other News Releases and Information