Avoiding COVID in 2022
Third Vaccination Attestation
“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
What do you do when...
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.
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.