Around OECTA

January 2022

Avoiding COVID in 2022

Third Vaccination Attestation

On Friday the Board sent a memo indicating the Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health requirement for reporting statistical information regarding the booster status of employees and volunteers. The Board is legally obligated to collect and share this accumulated information with the Ministry of Education.

At this time the information will just be used for reporting purposes. The definition for fully vaccinated status is still two doses. However, this could be changed in the future. Employees with less than two doses of the vaccine or those how have chosen not to share their status are required to produce three negative RAT tests each week of face-to-face instruction. While a number of Boards across Ontario have disciplined employees who have not submitted their vaccine status, our Board has not yet because of the participation of you and your educational partners.

In October the Board was required to collect employee information on their vaccine status. At that time a number of teachers expressed their concern about disclosing private medical information. These concerns were addressed by the Provincial office and OECTA’s lawyer Paul Cavaluzzo:

“The question that arises from many of you is whether this [vaccination disclosure] policy violates your legal rights. And the simple answer is ‘no.’ There are three reasons why the policy does not violate your legal rights. The first is that this is an instruction or direction of the Chief Medical Officer of Health under the legislation under which he is acting, and he has mandated that school boards have the kind of vaccination disclosure policy that your school board has. The second reason is that your school board, under the Education Act, has the legal responsibility and obligation to protect the safety of its students. And the third reason is that your employer is obligated to provide a safe workplace under section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which means that they must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect employees’ health and safety.” ~ Paul Cavalluzzo, OECTA Legal Counsel

Paul Cavaluzzo is well respected within the legal community who acted as the lead counsel in the Maher Arar and Walkerton inquiries and has argued many cases before the Supreme Court in the last few years. For more information please use this link.

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WSIB and Omicron

When a worker believes that they have contracted COVID-19 while in the course of their duties, they have the right to file a claim with the WSIB. To this point in the pandemic, this process has been fairly straightforward, and reasonable claims have generally been approved. Recent changes to COVID testing practices, however, are likely to impact the adjudication procedures of the WSIB when examining the evidence to support a claim. Ultimately, a worker will need to demonstrate that their risk of contracting COVID while at work is greater than the risk to which the public at large is exposed, and that work significantly contributed to the instance of illness.

Members are encouraged to include as much information to support their claim as is available to them to facilitate claim processing. Consider including the following...

  • If eligible, get a PCR test to confirm your diagnosis.

  • Take a photo of your positive home rapid antigen test with your face and a record of the date.

  • If ineligible for a PCR or RAT, have your family doctor provide their medical opinion on WSIB Form 8.

  • Save any emails/notes/memos etc. indicating COVID-19 cases in your school/class.

  • Screen shot board/school case counts around the date of your illness.

  • Save a copy or take a screenshot of your failed daily screening.

  • Create a timeline of your daily activities and contacts in the week before your illness.

With any WSIB claim, members are encouraged to reach out to the OECTA Hamilton-Wentworth office for assistance with the process.

Callout to Members

January 3 and 4 Planning Time Payback

In a memo to principals on January 2, the Board directed that one of January 3 or January 4 may be used to recognize banked preparation and planning time. The Association does not recognize this as time paid back.

From Your Contract

10.01 Preparation and Planning Time

m) All banked preparation and planning time shall be provided to a Teacher through the use of a French as a Second Language Teacher, an Itinerant Teacher (e.g. Arts Integrated Teacher), or a Primary Program Teacher provided such Teachers have unassigned time in their schedule, as outlined in the Memorandum of Settlement —Preparation and Planning Time reached between the parties dated December 18, 2009.

n) When repaying missed preparation and planning time, a Principal shall request an Occasional Teacher in accordance with the December 2009 Memorandum of Settlement.

Our office has requested your local OECTA rep to check your planning time binders to ensure there was no “paid back” time on January 3rd or 4th. For those who have already attended to this task, many thanks. To reps who have yet to report this information to the office, please do so at your earliest convenience. If you had time paid back on those days, please ensure that your school rep is informed.

To reps, we are also requesting an update of the planning time binder after it has been populated with time missed during the January 5 to January 14 virtual learning period. The office continues to work on this behind the scenes and we appreciate updated and accurate information.

Student Screening Verification

When a student attends school without evidence to support their successful completion of the COVID-19 school and child care screening, it is our understanding that the student is to be directed to the isolation room while confirmation of screening is determined by the school office staff. To help us in understanding the wide range of local practices across the system, please respond to the following short survey. The information you provide will help us in discussions with the Board as we continue to advocate for the safest possible working and learning environment.

Local Collective Bargaining Committee

In a few short months, our contract will be coming to the end of its life. To prepare for the upcoming negotiations, the unit office is now accepting applications to the Local Collective Bargaining Committee. Participation on this committee is a great way to learn more about your contract, meet new people, and serve the members of OECTA Hamilton-Wentworth. If you're interested in increasing your involvement in OECTA and in serving our members, please follow the link below to complete your application. Please note the due dates for each application is February 7 @ 12pm.

Retirement Celebration Planning

For those members who have made (and are still making) the difficult decision to retire this school year, we want to acknowledge and honour each of you for your years of dedication and service to your students and to Catholic education in Ontario. Though COVID has curtailed our typical retirement celebrations these past couple of years, plans are underway to properly celebrate our retirees. At this time, if you have made the decision to join the Retiring Class 2022, please sign your name to our survey using the link below. If you haven't announced your plans publicly, your secret is safe with us.

Your Provincial Association Working For You

OECTA Film Club

Our Provincial body is excited to extend an invitation for all members to participate in the premier OECTA Film Club showing of Reel Injun, a documentary examining the portrayal of North American Indigenous people throughout a century of cinema.

On two separate meeting dates, Film Club participants will view a screening/streaming of the film and then engage in a film-talk. Registration is required. Please use the links below to select a Film Talk meeting date.

If you are unable to attend the schedule screening/streaming event, members will be able to view the film at their leisure prior to attending a Film Tak meeting.

Film Screening/Streaming

Thursday February 24, 2022 at 7pm

Film Talk Meeting Dates

Monday February 28, 2022 at 4:30pm

Monday February 28, 2022 at 7:00pm

To assist members develop professionally, the Association has developed WebExperiences covering a wide range of topics and issues. A WebExperience is a an engaging approach to professional development which are delivered using live and interactive online sessions designed by teachers for teachers.

Visit the Archive of Past WebExperiences

Upcoming WebExperiences

Click on a Date to Register

Making the Grade With Awesome Assessment

Primary, Junior & Intermediate

Ready Steady Code

K to 8

Math in the Early Years

Kindergarten Teachers

Nature, Nurture & Nourish: Outdoor Learning in Kindergarten

Kindergarten Teachers

Financial Literacy Across Grades

Grades 1-8

Christian Meditation

All Teachers

Before the School Bell Rings: Wellbeing Practices for Teachers

All Teachers

Faith and Wellness: A Daily Mental Health Resource

Elementary Teachers

Promotional Material

Does my home insurance cover items in storage?

Whether you’re in the middle of a move, downsizing, hanging on to a loved one’s belongings, or just looking to free up some space at home, you might find yourself storing items in an offsite storage unit. Whatever the reason, the items you’ve chosen to store are likely important to you. That’s why it’s equally important to know that your precious belongings have the proper coverage to repair or replace them if they were damaged or stolen while in storage.