Around OECTA

June 2022

Collective Bargaining

Notice to Enter Bargaining

On August 31, your collective agreement expires. For many of you, this isn't your first rodeo, and the process involved in bargaining a fair collective agreement is familiar. For some, this may be new territory. For all of us, it is pertinent to become informed, and remain so, of the progress being made by your collective bargaining team as they represent you at the table.

On June 3, the Association gave notice to the other parties to bargaining (the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association) that they wish to enter into negotiations for a new contract. The parties will now begin to meet to formally engage in the negotiation process. Throughout negotiations members can expect to receive several communiques on the progress being made. To become and remain informed, please register your personal email address with the Association by clicking on the image or by following this link. Regular updates are also posted on the Association's website in the members' area.

Will We Go On Strike?

Any response given to this question must be preceded by the disclaimer that no one knows for certain the direction negotiations will take — our crystal ball is as good as yours. What is fair to offer up is that your collective bargaining teams (central and local) will work with the best interests of the members in mind, and that each will make judicious use of the labour tools at their disposal as your bargaining agents, if necessary.

The above stated, one can reasonably take the pulse of the situation as we enter into discussions. Bill 124 remains on the books, inflation is now at 7.7%, and the government is looking to cut $12.3 billion from education over the next 9 years. The math here isn't looking overly promising. Is there going to be a strike? That's anybody's guess, but a safe wager at this point might be to watch how one spends their money now. A bit of foresight will make it easier to weather the potential incoming storm.

Article 8.02 - Extracurricular Travel Allowance

Each school will be provided with an annual allowance, which will be used by the Principal to reimburse Teachers who use their automobiles as a result of their involvement in extracurricular activities. This allowance shall be calculated in the following manner:

i) Total number of full-time equivalent students as at October 31 x 2.30 annual allowance

ii) No school shall receive less than $450 as an annual allowance.

What Activities Are Covered?

Funds dispersed through Article 8.02 are used to reimburse permanent teachers for the use of their personal vehicles while involved in extracurricular activities. The list of activities included in this are wide and varied, which makes it difficult to provide a definitive list to which members can turn. Some activities are easier to identify as qualifying, while other activities may be debatable.

As a guiding principle, extracurricular activities are not part of your regular curriculum. This can include attending the school BBQ, coaching teams, running a club etc. If, however, you were running an activity for your class which required running around to collect supplies, that type of activity would not qualify. Likewise, activities which are Board driven would not qualify, and should more appropriately be reimbursed through a Board mileage claim.

As a best practice, we offer the following suggestion: Get together at lunch as a staff and go through the calendar to figure our what activities would be included and then have each teacher add activities to their own personal forms as you go through each month. This would help to eliminate any animosity between teachers given that you are all on the same page. The expectation is that the honour system is used so it’s important that all teachers are included in the discussions to avoid conflicts as much as possible.

Some Scenarios

  • It is important to avoid making a decision to just use the money for a staff function or school event. If a staff wants to do this, each teacher should be given their portion of the funds and then if they choose, they can donate the money back.

  • If you coached a team and all your games were at your home school so you did not have to drive, this would NOT be covered. However, if there was a late game and you went home and back, then it would be covered.

  • If you picked up snacks for the school snack program, this would NOT be covered. It should be covered under board mileage.

  • If you were holding a popcorn sale to raise money for a class trip and used your car to pick up popcorn, this would NOT be covered. It should be covered under board mileage.

  • If you were doing a craft with your class and went to the store to purchase supplies, this would NOT be covered.

  • ·If you coached a team and there was a game on Saturday, mileage from home to the game and back home would be covered.

  • The donation of money to the CYO or any other charity should not be the result of a majority vote or the wishes of the majority. It is a choice each recipient makes. The preferred method would be for the school to issue the cheques to each eligible individual who could choose to donate the money. That way teachers would not feel pressured and they would receive a tax receipt.

25 Years Service Award Distribution

On June 15, we gathered as colleagues and friends to mark the auspicious career milestones of those reaching 25 years of service with OECTA, and to celebrate our retirees of the past number of years. It was truly an event to remember. The Retirement Celebration Committee is already looking forward to planning next year's event. Stay tuned for details in the coming school year.

To our 25 Years Service Award recipients who were unable to attend the event. We are working out a plan to distribute your gift to you. Given the time constraints found at the end of the school year, the delivery of the gifts will not occur until September at the earliest. More information about this will come in the new school year.

Attendance Check-Up and Earned Leave Payout

Attendance Check-Up

The end of the school year is a good time to review your absence balances. When your attendance is inappropriately managed the implications may include financial losses and also affect you the following school year through a reduction in top-up days accessible when using your Short Term Disability and Leave Plan.

When checking your attendance balances, it is important to refer to 2 sources; Employee Self-Self and SmartFind Express. Both records should reconcile with one another. If there are discrepancies, please reach out to the OECTA office for assistance. Catching an error sooner rather than later often results in a speedier resolution.

Earned Leave Payout

Article 8 of the 2014-2017 contract provided members with access to partially paid and unpaid days as an incentive for an attendance record which was better than the average of their colleagues across the system. This article was subsequently negotiated out of the contract with a stepped phase out of accrued credits.

As of June 30, 2022, step one of the phase out will occur. Partially paid days (ELP_P) will be cashed out to members at the Occasional Teacher daily rate. Step two of the phase out will occur on June 30, 2023 when all unpaid (ELP_U) credits will expire.

1 ELP_P Credit = $248.48

Incorrect Earned Leave Payout?

Be sure to check your pay stub for coding which indicates that you have received payment for your ELP_P credits. Each ELP_P credit is worth $248.48. If the numbers are not adding up for you, please email Cheryl Brookes-Gratton at and/or call her at 905-525-2930 extension 2185. If emailing, include on the CC. Be sure to include a copy of your absence allocations (as shown below).

Checking Attendance

Step 1 - Log into ESS

Step 2 - Select Absences from the menu

Step 3 - Review Allocations and Balances

Take note of your allocations and balances. This information needs to square with the data entered into SmartFind Express. If you do not understand the information presented, please reach out to the office for assistance.

Step 4 - Log into SFE

Step 5 - Review Absences

Once logged into SmartFind Express, choose "Review Absences" from the menu bar, while selecting the "List of" radio button. Be sure to set the date range from the start of the school year to today's date.

The list which is generated will indicate the code to account for each absence. Ensure that the list from SmartFind Express aligns with the table in Employee Self-Serve.

If it is found that there are incongruencies between the two sources, please reach out to the OECTA-HW office for assistance.

From the Treasurer

As this year draws to an end, we look ahead to the planning of next year. All Committee Chairpersons who wish to increase their respective committee's budget are asked to submit their proposed budget by Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in order for the budget process to run its course, which begins in the summer. If you could highlight specific categories by expense, that would be helpful to the budget deliberations.

Before we break for summer holidays, I would like to take this opportunity to invite all interested OECTA members to the Finance Committee Meeting on Wednesday, August 31, 2022. Further details will be sent out at a later date once the number of attendees are confirmed.

From Your Provincial Association

Upcoming Opportunities

Additional Qualifications Course in Italy

  • Offered as a compliment our Religious Education AQ courses, the trip will take place from July 6 to 16, 2023 – it will involve in-person experiential learning and faith-development, and will include visits to Assisi, Rome, and Sorrento.

  • Participants will be required to complete their respective Religious Education AQ courses online, prior to departure.

  • Pricing, registration instructions, and a daily itinerary can be found HERE!

  • Learn more about this exciting opportunity by attending an online presentation delivered by Georgia Hardy Tours:

Monday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m.

  • To join the information meeting on the 27th of June, click here.

Summer Institutes

  • Join us as we unpack the new Ministry resource, Effective Early Reading Instruction: A Teacher’s Guide and discuss promising practices for early reading instruction in Ontario.

  • This 2-day virtual session will explore purposeful evidence-based practices for reading as well as provide advice and activities that support early reading instruction. Sessions will be grade designated with a session for Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2.

  • Sessions will take place August 23 & 24 from 9:00am to 3:00pm.

Your Mental Health Matters

Your mental health and overall feeling of wellness have a profound impact on your ability to function and perform at your best – inside the classroom and out. Many teachers are diligent and proactive about improving their skills and techniques related to their teaching, but just as important is managing your mental and emotional health and wellness.

With the emergence of COVID-19, the level of stress and anxiety that many teachers are feeling has increased exponentially, leaving many at a loss as to how they are to do their jobs while maintaining their mental well-being.

Here you will find a list of resources designed to connect you with information and services that support you and your overall well-being.

Starling Minds Digital Mental Health Program

The Association and the Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan (OTIP) have partnered to provide members with Starling Minds Mental Fitness, a 24/7, confidential digital self-guided program for stress, anxiety, burnout, and depression, available anytime and anywhere.

Promotional Material

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