Around OECTA

March 2023

From Your Local Unit

President's Message

Hello colleagues and friends.

Spring has sprung and hopefully the snow will be a distant memory. It was reported that this was Ontario’s darkest winter in 73 years and I’m sure most of you felt every one of those gloomy days.

Our thoughts turn to April and the celebration of Easter. This marks the joyful end of our Lenten observances and the celebration of our risen Lord Jesus. May God bless us.

If you were unaware, the Governing Conservatives quietly tabled their 2023 budget and subsequently published their meaningless, outdated, and inflammatory Sunshine List. This 27 year-old relic of the Harris years serves as a distraction to draw attention away from the ‘horrific’ budget. Please do not let anyone tell you that there is an increase to the Education portfolio. On its surface it looks to be a $2.3 billion increase, however, factoring in inflation and the injection of federal money to reduce child care fees, it’s a cut. Anyone who says differently is uninformed. Just this year alone, education spending is down nearly $850 million.

The budget has earmarked $353 million total for wage enhancements this year AND professional development AND growth in spaces AND start-up grants AND administrative costs together. This is the total. For all of this.  

Also of note, the reporting of the government’s plan to introduce a regulation to impose a 4-year deal outside of bargaining which would have a collective agreement expire after the next provincial election. The fact that there are still Ontarians falling for this type of fiscal deception is disappointing. 

Bargaining continues with upcoming dates already scheduled. This process has been frustratingly slow but our association remains committed to the process and to bargaining in good faith. We hear this frustration from teachers in our unit and across the province. One ancillary benefit of CUPE’s job action in the fall was that the government unwittingly united organized labour groups. We will need to be united in the coming months.

In other news, the office has been busy this month. Our Annual General Meeting in Toronto took a good deal of time and work both over the March Break and the weeks leading up to it. Our delegation represented our members well at this event. A great deal of thought and discussion went into the business of our Association. Many resolutions were debated and I believe our Association took steps toward a more inclusive and positive future. 

We continue to have discussions with the board surrounding issues such as; Aspen, missed planning time, health and safety, and staffing. These items stay on the top of our list of discussion points.

OTIP hosted an in-person retirement seminar last week and it was well attended by members and some spouses. Topics covered included; benefits, pension, and other investment and income considerations. Retirement can be a complex and intimidating event, but with the knowledge and tools learned at events such as these, members can feel equipped to enter retirement with the understanding that they need. OECTA will be hosting a retirement workshop on May 11, 2023. Stay tuned for additional OTIP sponsored events.

Unit Elections are coming up. This year’s elections will take place in-person on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at the General Meeting. All members are encouraged to consider running for an elected position on next year’s unit executive.

Alison and I participated in the board’s Conflict Resolution Sessions on March 21-22. These sessions were presented by our EFAP staff and examined steps taken to resolve conflicts that arise among staff. Leadership is also being in-serviced and our hope is that with common processes and common language, the board, with our support, can address staff conflicts positively and productively. 

As we make the turn into April, you are reminded that your health and mental well-being are of primary concern. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Focus on your class/students and participate in the extras that bring you joy and personal satisfaction. Look after yourself, look out for one another, and let us know if we can help.

May the blessings of the Easter season be with you and your family.

Be well.


Important Upcoming Dates

The Edvantage program is always growing and changing to serve our members better. We enjoy hearing about what’s working and what could be better. Reach out at:

#OTIPUpdate #Edvantage #ExclusiveSavingsProgram

Farewell to Kathryn!

We would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to Kathryn Campbell as she concludes her tenure as our Office Administrator. For nine years, Kathryn has served our membership with unparalleled kindness, dedication, and commitment, making her the first point of contact for many of you and providing expert guidance and support with all issues that came to the office.

Kathryn's cheerful demeanor, positive attitude, and calming presence have endeared her to all those who have had the pleasure of interacting with her. We are confident that the Waterloo OECTA office will greatly benefit from her expertise and strength.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish Kathryn all the best as she embarks on a new chapter in her professional journey. Although we will miss her greatly, we are grateful for the invaluable contributions she has made to our unit and are confident that she will continue to achieve great things in her future endeavors.

Annual General Meeting 2023

On March 11, OECTA delegations from across Ontario gathered to  conduct the business of the Association. We extend our deepest appreciation to those teachers from Hamilton-Wentworth who gave of their own vacation time to engage in debate and discussion, and cast their votes on a variety of motions and resolutions which will determine the course for OECTA in the coming years.  If you were unable to attend the AGM this year, please consider volunteering your name next year. The AGM offers an excellent opportunity to learn about your Association and the work it does on behalf of teachers and the profession.

Coming out of this year's AGM are a few exciting announcements that we would like to share with our local membership. First, it was with great admiration that the assembly celebrated the venerable career of our very own Nick de Koning. Nick was a co-recipient of the prestigious Pearse Shannon Memorial Association Service Award given for his years of steady leadership and dedication to his colleagues in Hamilton and across the province. Please take a moment to view the short video prepared in honour of Nick.

In other news, we're happy to share that two members of our unit, Michel Derikx and Paul Kiely, have been elected to Provincial positions. Michel will continue in his role as our Provincial Treasurer, while Paul has been elected to serve as a Governor at the Ontario Teachers' Federation. We'd like to congratulate them on their successful election campaigns and wish them well in their new roles. They're both proud to represent the teachers of Hamilton on the Provincial stage and are committed to improving the teaching profession overall.

In addition to the above-described, several other important elections occurred at the meeting, resulting in some changes to the faces of those representing you at the provincial level. In the upcoming 2023-2024 school year, the following people will be working in the interests of some 45 000 Catholic teachers across the Province of Ontario:


René Jansen in de Wall

First Vice-President

Chris Cowley

Second Vice-President

Anthony Rocchio

Third Vice-President

Diana Corazza


Michel Derikx


Dean Demers

Melissa Garrett

OTF Table Officer

Andrew Robertson

OTF Governors 

Julie Altomare-Di Nunzio

Rick Belisle

Paul Kiely

Tracey Peckarski

Didn't attend the AGM but still want to know what's going on in your Association? Click on the link below to access the materials and reports shared at the meeting.

Celebrating the Career of Nick de Koning

Michel Derikx Elected Treasurer

Paul Kiely Elected OTF Governor

OECTA-HW  Unit Executive Elections

On Wednesday, May 24, 2023, local unit elections will take place as part of our at our unit's General Meeting. In accordance with our by-laws, the Elections Committee (graciously co-chaired by Horst Schweinbenz and Lynda Cifani) will issue a series of call-outs for candidates over the coming weeks leading into the election. Interested teachers are urged to declare their candidacy as soon as possible, and take heed of the following information to assist with their campaigns.

On March 27, 2023, the Nominations Committee published its first call-out for interested candidates for the following open positions. Additional call-outs will occur in the coming weeks.

*Must be an elementary Occasional Teacher. Only an elementary Occasional Teacher will be able to vote for this position

Community over Isolation

Harry Somerville and Sal Longley 

OECTA Service Awards

Each year, OECTA-HW presents a graduation award to a deserving grade 8 student at each school in the system. Presented in memory of Harry Sommerville and Sal Longley, former educators within the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board, the award is given to a student who demonstrates the qualities of Harry and Sal who exemplified the light of Christ through their service to those in need.

Grade 8 teachers are reminded to submit their school's nominee for the award to Len Moccia before the May long weekend. Awards will be mailed to schools in advance of graduation ceremonies. Please note that the award does not come with a piece of hardware such as a plaque. Schools that wish to include a plaque or trophy with the award are advised to make the needed arrangements when placing their order for grad awards.

Harry Somerville

“He will be motivating me until the day I one else ever helped me.” This quote from a former drug addict gives witness to the effect that the life of Harry Somerville had on those he encountered. 

Born May 5, 1934, and raised in Hamilton, Harry attended Catholic schools where he later returned to teach. Mr. Somerville was a caring and loving teacher. His leadership potential was recognized as he assumed responsibility as principal and subsequently as founder and coordinator of Pastoral Services in 1980. Wherever he served, his tremendous love for God and his unrelenting zest for living to the fullest inspired others to believe in and use their God-given talents.

Never satisfied with his outreach to the poor and dispossessed, Harry joined the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd in 1984. His quest to follow Jesus unconditionally led him to the slums of Miami where, at Camillus House, he worked tirelessly to rehabilitate drug addicts.

It was in pursuit of a greater understanding of addiction and its prevention that his great heart burst. Harry Somerville died in his sleep in New Mexico on April 10, 1994. 

Sal Longley

Sal Longley was an exemplary teacher; a caring and courageous individual. Her perseverance, determination, and thirst for knowledge encouraged her students to set high standards for themselves, and propelled them forward toward success. Teaching in both the high school and elementary levels, she consistently instilled in her students a love of learning, especially in the field of English Literature, an area in which she received her Master’s Degree. 

Sal firmly believed in providing students with the necessary tools so they could pursue, explore, and expand their knowledge. In keeping with helping those in need, Sal was instrumental in coordinating a small group of teachers at St. Anthony of Padua School who volunteered to gather used clothing and toiletries for the elderly and homeless at Christmas time. Bearing the name "Christmas Charities" , Today, families within the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board are provided with food hampers and gifts for their children through OECTA Christmas Charities. Sal would be very proud to witness the continuation of her efforts of those in need.

Sal fought numerous battles and faced many difficult decisions concerning her health. As in all facets of her life, she persevered and accepted her limitations, but only as a means to empower her further - a truly remarkable and courageous teacher.

Planning for retirement when it’s ten years, five years, and one year away

Planning for retirement but don’t know where to start? You’re not alone. Here are some action items you can take as your retirement date draws closer.


Know Your Contract

Transfer season will soon be upon us. Our contract states the exact process that must be followed for our 100% seniority-based transfers. This process is the gold-star in the Province. The exact dates are a collaboration between OECTA and the Board, keeping in line with the contract. The first step in this process is for the principal at each school to provide every teacher with their assignment for the following year, in writing. If this assignment changes after this date, it would be a breach of the collective agreement and the office should be notified. May 3, 2023 is the date that your principal is required to notify you of your placement. Round 1 of transfers will begin the morning of May 9, 2023. 

As you may know, the Reading Recovery Program will be changed to a Literacy Resource Teacher model. Depending on size of the school and if they are equal ops, LRT has been assigned from a 0.33 to a 0.67 support. The remainder of the day an LRT will be assigned FDK Planning Time. If there is not enough FDK PT to assign, then PPT will be assigned to the LRT. Given all these changes many are wondering how these changes will impact the school as a whole.

This is a “know your contract” section but there is no contract language that guides this area of the changes at the school level (transition to a LRT model). These sorts of changes are at Board’s discretion and OECTA was briefed on them only a few days before the Board brought this to the Trustees to vote. OECTA’s role is to uphold the contract but we certainly worked hard to ensure the Reading Recovery Teachers had a fair and transparent process through this transition.

What was also important to OECTA is when the newly created openings for LRT were filled, it was also done in respect of the contract. As required, the Board has posted for the position, is interviewing and creating an LRT roster since there are so many positions to be filled. From here the contract indicates the Board has the right to choose any qualified applicant from the list of applicants who applied. Despite this contract language, we have been in talks with the Board about how this long list of successful applicants will be placed into the unfilled LRT positions.

Since the beginning, we have raised concerns about the “ripple effect” of these changes to the FSL Teachers and PPT Teachers. Our concern is how many positions may be “chopped up” because of this, creating a logistical nightmare. If you have been wondering who will be surplus to the school in this situation, our contract is clear. When positions are lost within a school, the least senior teacher in the building will be declared surplus, as long as all teachers remaining hold the qualifications to fill the positions remaining at the school.

Once surplus is declared, based on the contract, the Education Act gives principals the power to then staff their school, “how they see fit.” For example, if a school has two full time PPT Teachers and is losing 0.33 planning time to be assigned to the LRT, the principal can decide which teacher stays in PPT and which is given a different assignment. Many principals decide to use seniority to make this decision as it is the “cleanest” and most transparent way to do this. We would hope seniority in the position is considered and that meaningful conversations take place with the teachers that will be affected when making these decisions. When this does not occur, it causes conflict at the school level that can easily be diminished through clear communication.

The Board has assured us that the “ripple effect” mentioned is minimal. We are keeping a close eye on these changes as tentative school orgs are completed that will inform staffing for next year. We have follow-up meetings to review schedules in an effort to be proactive before transfers begin, rather than reactive when there are tight timelines at play.

The transfer timelines will be sent by the Board soon, and we will also be sending out important reminders regarding transfers prior to the start of the process as we rely on all of you to help ensure our contract is followed during this very busy time.

Hopefully this information is helpful to you as there has been very little information coming forward from the Board, despite our prodding to do so.

All the best,


Health and Safety Corner

Incident/Accident Reporting Procedures

When an Incident/Injury Occurs  

What Happens With the Parklane Report?

When a Critical Injury Occurs

Critical Injuries

The Occupational Health and Safety Act defines a critical injury as an event/incident which...

Enough is Enough


Fed up with the rich getting richer, while workers struggle to get by?

We are, too. And we’re done waiting.

We’re taking action in communities across Ontario. Because enough is enough.

Ready to join us?

Here are our demands:

Read more about our demands by clicking here.


June 3, 2023 @ Queen's Park

Join us on June 3 at Queens Park for a day of action.  

RSVP today!

Member Opportunities

Local Opportunities

Religious Education Additional Qualification Course - Part 1

START  DATE: Tuesday, July 4, 2023

END DATE: Friday, August 4, 2023

TIME:  8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

COST:  $550

This course contains three face-to-face sessions that will be held on:

The face-to-face sessions will run from 9:00 - 1:00 p.m. at St. Jean de Brebeuf CSS.

For more information, please contact the course director Jennifer Curtis.

Register today. Registrations close July 5.

Provincial Association Opportunities

Summer Book Club

Looking to read a great book? Looking to connect with peers to chat about that great book? Sounds like you should join OECTA’s Summer Book Club.

Book Club participants will meet twice. Initially for a brief launch meeting prior to reading the text and then again for a book talk after reading. Participants are required to obtain their own copy of the book in advance of the launch meeting. Registration will open on April 3, 2023.


Catherine Hernandez

Love Lives Here

Amada Jetté Knox

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 link below to complete your application.  

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

From the Provincial Association

Ontario Budget Holds the Line on Education

The 2023 Ontario budget has dropped, and, to the surprise of no one, planned spending in education fails to keep up with inflation. Despite input from several key stakeholders, including your Association, to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, the Ford government continues to assail the greatest of our public trusts - our world-class education system. Once again, Ford has abdicated his responsibility to ensure that every child is afforded a quality education that prepares them for success in life. Shamefully, Ford remains on track to meet the projected $12.3 shortfall in educationfunding by 2029-2030. Ontario deserves better.

Education Shortchanged by $844 Million in 2022

Though claiming record setting investment, the Ford government continues its assault of austerity on public education and other important government ministries which form the social fabric of Ontario. According the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario, spending shortfalls in education totaled nearly $850 million in the 2022-2023 fiscal year alone, $432 million of which is specifically drawn against elementary and secondary education budgets. Further cuts are expected to be realized over the course of the next six years to the tune of $6 billion. In an education system already stretched so thin, this does not bode well for education workers and students alike. Enough is enough! Ontario deserves better.

Collective Bargaining Updates

Meaningful progress at the central bargaining table has been slow. While your Association remains committed to good-faith bargaining following the processes outlined in the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, the Crown and OSCTA continued to drag their heels. Time and again, the Provincial Bargaining Team has arrived to meetings fully prepared to engage in productive discourse, only to be met with unwilling partners. As a result, the Association filed a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board. This is in addition to the previously filed complaint regarding the matter of the scope of central bargaining. More details on the status of these complaints and their resolutions will come at a later date.  In the meantime, additional bargaining dates have been set for April 3, 4, 12, and 13.  

Stay tuned to your email inbox for updates, or click here to access updates on the Provincial website. If you have not been receiving the email updates, click here to add your address to our mailing list.

Additional Reading

Planning for your retirement?

RTIP offers the most flexible health, dental and travel insurance for the retired education community. Apply online or register for a free workshop or webinar to learn more:   #OTIPUpdate