Around OECTA

February 2023

From Your Local Unit

President's Message

Just like that, February is over. 

Looking out the window may tell a different story but nicer weather has to be around the corner and the break is even closer.

The unit office continues to work through the issues that have been brought to us.

We are having conversations surrounding staffing, reporting, mental health, and violence in the workplace. Paul, Alison, and I have been visiting schools with the purpose of having conversations surrounding violence reporting. 

I would like to repeat an important message from Paul’s Health and Safety Corner in last month’s newsletter;

The OECTA-HW office continues to promote the completion of Safe Schools Incident Reports, a duty placed upon all employees of the Board when they become aware of a student(s) whose conduct meets the threshold for reporting as outlined in PPM 145, the Education Act, and the HWCDSB Code of Conduct. The office also encourages members to meet their Workplace Violence Reporting obligation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Using data collected through reporting, the Board, as the employer, is supported in meeting its duty to provide a safe and positive working and learning environment for the staff and students of the HWCDSB.

There seems to be some messaging out there that suggests these reports are only filled out when the violent acts reach a certain threshold (as outlined in PPM 120). This is not true. Any act outlined on the SSIR triggers need to complete the report regardless if the student can/will be suspended. 

Our unit is also preparing for our Annual General Meeting in Toronto on the March Break. Our delegates have been preparing for this meeting and will have attended 2 delegate meetings leading up to the general meeting. The delegation will be voting on resolutions, policies, and action directives on your behalf, keeping in mind what makes sense for our Association and our unit.

Our Unit’s General Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 8 at St. Naum on Stonechurch Rd. and will begin at 4:30 pm (dinner to begin at 4:00). All permanent and occasional teachers are welcome to attend.

As we approach our well-deserved break, we need to allow ourselves time to unplug, recharge, and enjoy time with family and close friends.

God Bless.


Important Upcoming Dates

AGM 2023

The time has come once more for your Association to gather en masse as a democratic body at the Annual General Meeting.  At the meeting, delegates from each unit across the province will engage in debate and discussion, and then cast their vote on a variety of motions and resolutions which will determine the course for OECTA in the coming years. In last month's issue of Around OECTA the delegation from Hamilton-Wentworth was published. A big thank you goes out to those individuals who will spend the first part of their March Break in service to their colleagues and the profession as a whole.  

While not everyone is able to attend the Annual General Meeting as a delegate, all members are able to access the meeting materials to stay apprised of the Association's business.  Within the members'  area at, materials from the meeting are able to be viewed and downloaded.  All that's needed is your OECTA login and password.  Click here to create your account if you have not already done so.

Retirement Planning

OTIP Financial Planning: Health, Dental, and Travel Plans

On February 14, the OECTA office circulated an email to members highlighting an opportunity to register for an OTIP Retirement Workshop.  These workshops are excellent for teachers of all ages to attend as financial planning for retirement should not be a task left for your last year of teaching.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), the response to our email was overwhelming, and resulted in several members missing out on registration for the local Hamilton workshop.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), virtual classrooms have become part of our everyday experience in the past few years, and OTIP has scheduled several online webinars for teachers to attend  and learn about financial planning and benefits for their retirement. Please see the table below for a complete listing of workshops.

Registration for attendance at these events is required.  

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and You

In addition to the workshops being delivered by OTIP, OECTA-HW will be hosting a Pension Workshop scheduled for Thursday, May 11, 2023 between 4-7 pm. Registration and location details will follow. Please stay tuned.

Your Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan remains strong and fully funded (107% funding ratio) for the 9th year in a row. At over $242 billion in assets, the OTPP stands as a world leader among pension plans. With an annualized total-fund return of 9.7% since inception, and with a bold, ambitious goal to grow the fund to $300 billion by 2030, plan members can remain confident that their gold-standard defined benefit plan will be there for them upon retirement.   

Managed by a world-class investing team, and overseen by the plan sponsors - the Ontario Teachers' Federation and the Ontario Government - the OTPP remains committed to responsible investment principles that build sustainable, long-term value, while also fostering better ways of doing business and improving social and environmental outcomes in the world. In short, your contributions are invested in meaningful ways that promote positive change and sustainable practices so that you can enjoy your retirement in more ways than just financially.

A Note on LTD Deductions

When a member reaches 30 years of pension credit, their Long Term Disability "caps out," and further LTD deductions  become an unnecessary payment for insurance for which they no longer qualify.

There are 3 scenarios where a member would be advised to cancel their LTD payments:

If you meet the criteria outlined in one of the three scenarios above, please complete the Long Term Disability cancellation form and then forward it to the unit office.


CREDIT — This is the actual time (years, months and days) you have contributed to the plan. This figure is used to calculate the amount of your pension.

QUALIFYING YEARS — These are the school years in which you have taught or bought back service for at least a portion of the year. Qualifying years determine when you’re eligible to start receiving a pension. 

QUALIFYING FACTOR — Your age plus qualifying years equal your qualifying factor. Your qualifying factor is used to determine when you’re eligible for an unreduced retirement pension (85 factor) and to calculate any early retirement reduction. 

Please see for all the finer details.

Four Steps to Retirement

Step 1: Contact OTPP

Step 2: Inform the Board

Step 3: Submit Required Documents to OTPP

Step 4: Enjoy your Pension

OTPP Financial Planning Webinars

TFSA or RRSP: an education member’s guide to making the right choice

One of the most frequently asked financial questions out there is whether to invest in a tax-free savings account (TFSA) or a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP). While TFSAs and RRSPs both offer tax advantages that can help you achieve your saving and investing goals, which is right for you?

To help you decide, check out this education member’s guide to making the right choice: Brought to you by Educators Financial Group.

Know Your Contract

Grid Placement and Your Pay

As you are aware, we are paid on a grid which takes into account years of service and qualifications. Occasionally, members have discovered that they are being paid incorrectly.  These mistakes can be fixed, though resolutions to errors become more complex the further out in time from the start of the error. It is encouraged that all members take 5 minutes of their time to ensure that all pay and absence records are accurate. Log into Employee Self-Serve to check your pay stub and absence balances. If errors are detected, please reach out to the unit office for assistance.

Qualification Upgrades 

Upgrading qualifications is an excellent way to improve one's practice and pay grade. The completion of a course may lead to a category change on the pay grid. Please note that the school board will not automatically adjust your placement on the grid.  Teachers are responsible for submitting a record of the course completion to the Qualification Evaluation Council of Ontario.  The teacher must then provide notice of a category change to the board before adjustments are made. 

Earned Leave Plan 

As an ongoing reminder to members, leave-credits accrued through the Earned Leave Plan are expiring at the end of June.  Article 8 of the 2014-2017 contract provided members with access to partially paid and unpaid days as in incentive for an attendance record which was better than the average of their colleagues across the system. As of August 31, 2019, this plan ceased to have any force inasmuch as additional earned leave could no longer be accrued. Days previously earned, however, would remain in place to be accessed with conditions.  Members should be aware of the following with respect to their earned leave days...

Please refer to Article 8 of your contract for all the details related to accessing your earned leave.  Click on the link below to access the form to apply for any unused days.

Member Opportunities

Provincial Association Opportunities

Called to Serve? Apply to a Provincial Committee

The Association is now accepting applications from members who feel the call to serve their colleagues through work on a Provincial committee. Participation on a committee is a great way to learn more about how the Association operates, share your skills and perspectives, and meet new people.  

If you're interested in increasing your involvement and serving members, please follow the links below to complete your application.  

Applications are accepted up to May 1, 2023.  Apply today!

From the Provincial Association

OECTA Speaks for Students and Teachers

Last week, OECTA President Barb Dobrowolski participated in the Ontario government’s pre-budget consultations, presenting the Association’s pre-budget submission on behalf of 45,000 Catholic teachers.

Speaking to MPPs, President Dobrowolski urged the Ford government to use the 2023-24 budget to address pandemic-related learning loss, by investing in a real plan that provides the necessary in-class resources and supports to ensure every student gets the learning environment they need and deserve.

Championing the calls to action from Catholic teachers, students, families, other educators, and concerned Ontarians, she explained that a real learning recovery plan must include, among other things, smaller class sizes, an end to the expansion of online learning and efforts to privatize publicly funded education, and a commitment from the government to engage in meaningful collaboration with frontline educators.

In this edition of Catholic Teacher

Click here to read Catholic Teacher.

Over the past few months, the Association has been proactively engaging with parents from different areas of the province to ask them to tell their stories, to share their concerns about pandemic learning disruptions, and to discuss what supports their children need to succeed.

Using these gripping testimonials from real parents, the Association has launched the second phase of our revamped, province-wide campaign under our existing #KnowMore banner, with new ads and community-focused shareable content.

The ads showcase conversations with parents concerning their children’s learning experiences over the past several years, and highlight why parents and teachers alike are calling for smaller class sizes, more one-on-one time with students in the classroom, and more meaningful government collaboration with educators.

These new ads will run alongside existing content, highlighting the voices of Catholic teachers on social media platforms, radio, newspapers, and billboards, as well as an expanded array of ad platforms to increase our reach, including newspapers, transit, and streaming services.

Watch for new and exciting ways to get involved, and to share your classroom experiences and what students need to succeed, as our #KnowMore campaign continues to take action.

Now, more than ever, this government needs to invest more in schools, not less. Thank you for everything you do to support Ontario students.


The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association

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