ETFO Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
On January 15, 2019, ETFO presented a submission to the Ontario Legislature’s pre-budget hearings. The submission rejects cuts to public services and makes the case for investments in public education.
In this submission, ETFO addresses key priorities for elementary educator such as workplace violence in schools, the lack of support for students with mental health issues and students with learning exceptionalities, the importance of reducing class sizes and ensuring sufficient staffing, and the need for a long-overdue independent review of the education funding formula.
ETFO Submission to the Education in Ontario Consultation – December 2018
On December 13, 2018, ETFO provided a submission on behalf of public elementary educators as part of the government’s education consultations. ETFO’s submission makes it clear that investments in public education, not cuts, are needed to enhance Ontario’s internationally-regarded education system.
Building Better Schools: The ETFO Education Agenda
ETFO introduced its first edition of Building Better Schools prior to the 2011 election and an updated version in advance of the 2014 election. This edition, updated for the 2018 Ontario election, looks at how policies like smaller classes and more support for students with special needs can reduce the incidence of school violence. It also adds two new priorities to be addressed by the incoming government:
- fair funding for public schools; and
- one secular school system.
Shortchanging Ontario Students: An Overview and Assessment of Education Funding in Ontario
On August 14, 2017, ETFO released Shortchanging Ontario Students, a report prepared for the Federation by economist Hugh Mackenzie. The report provides an analysis of a provincial funding formula that dates back to the government of former premier Mike Harris in the 1990s. The many shortcomings of that funding formula have adversely affect Ontario’s elementary students.
ETFO Submission on Bill 92, School Boards Collective Bargaining Amendment Act
On March 8, 2017, ETFO presented a submission to the legislative hearings on Bill 92, the School Boards Collective Bargaining Amendment Act. The bill proposes amendments to the 2014 statute that established provincial two-tier bargaining in the education sector. The ETFO submission identifies concerns with a number of the proposed amendments and also recommends changes to the Act that weren’t included in the bill.
A Charter Challenge Win for ETFO at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice
In December 2015, ETFO made the case at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that the provincial government violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when it enacted unprecedented legislation in 2012 (i.e., the Putting Students First Act, more commonly known as Bill 115) that stripped the education sector of its right to bargain collectively.
The decision regarding our court challenge was released on April 20, 2016 and the decision confirms that the Ontario government violated the Charter rights of ETFO and other unions’ members when it stripped collective bargaining rights through Bill 115.
In the words of Justice J. Lederer:
“I find that between the fall of 2011 and the passage of the Putting Students First Act, Ontario infringed on the applicants’ right, under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to meaningful collective bargaining. When reviewed in the context of the Charter and the rights it provides, it becomes apparent that the process engaged in was fundamentally flawed. It could not, by design, provide meaningful collective bargaining.” [paragraphs 134-135]
ETFO submission on Bill 122, the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act
On February 26, 2014, ETFO presented its submission on Bill 122, the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly.
The brief acknowledges that a legal framework for provincial bargaining in the education sector has become a practical necessity. The previous informal process for discussions with the government lacked clear rules and responsibilities. The Provincial Discussion Table (PDT) process was increasingly fraught with problems and ultimately, in 2012, led to impasse between ETFO and the government. With school boards no longer having any ability to raise taxes, the provincial government now has total authority over education funding.
ETFO’s submission draws attention to the importance of the provision in Bill 122 that ensures that locals will continue to have the right to negotiate local contract terms and have the right to strike. The brief identifies amendments designed to ensure that the proposed provincial bargaining framework is balanced and fair and works in the best interest of public education in the province.
ETFO Presentation on Bill 115, Putting Students First Act, 2012
On September 6, 2012, ETFO made a presentation on Bill 115, the Putting Students First Act, 2012. The presentation outlined ETFO’s concerns about the Ontario Government’s assault on education sector collective bargaining rights.