Around OECTA

May 2023

From Your Local Unit

President's Message

Hello Springtime!

By the time some of you read this, it will already be June. June is good!

The cycle of a school year has brought us to June reports, play days, school trips, staff socials, and graduations. It is a busy time for all.

We would also like to wish every Happy Pride Month. As Catholic teachers, we are called to strive for more peace, respect, and compassion in our society. Rather than seeing difference and separation, we seek to embrace all that unites us as people. We strive to make our communities and schools as safe and welcoming as possible for students, teachers, and staff who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+.

The office has been busy navigating through this transfer season. Communicating, monitoring, and intervening when necessary to ensure this process is smooth while also adhering to the collective agreement has been the focus. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this process, please reach out to the office for clarification.

The unit recently held its Annual General Meeting on May 24th at Marquis Gardens. Those in attendance were treated to a nice meal as well as speeches from candidates running for Unit Executive positions. The membership elected our executive for school year 2023-2024. See results below in the newsletter for a listing of next year’s executive.

As I mentioned at the general meeting, I would like to encourage all teachers to consider participating in your association next year by applying to part of one of the many local committees we have with OECTA. Whether you are an experienced committee member or looking to reconnect with local unit initiatives, all are welcome to apply. Committees benefit with more involvement from members, who bring their experiences, ideas, and enthusiasm to these groups. See our website for a list of unit committees with contact information. If you’re not sure what to get involved in, call the office and we can chat.

As our school year comes to a close, everyone is encouraged to find the joy in your days, enjoy time with family and close friends, and enjoy your last few weeks with your students and colleagues.

Be well.


Important Upcoming Dates

OECTA-HW Celebrates Pride Month

As we embrace the vibrant and inclusive spirit of Pride Month, we joyfully come together to celebrate and uplift one another, especially our students. Pride Month is a time when we recognize and honour the diverse identities and experiences that enrich our communities.

During this month, we cherish the contributions and achievements of LGBTQ+ individuals, acknowledging the struggles they have faced and the progress that has been made towards equality. We strive to create an environment where all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, feel valued, supported, and empowered to be their authentic selves.

By celebrating each other's unique journeys and fostering a culture of acceptance, we cultivate a sense of belonging that is fundamental to individual growth and collective well-being. We commit ourselves to promoting understanding, empathy, and love, rejecting discrimination and prejudice in all forms.

As Catholic educators, we recognize the importance of creating safe spaces where students can thrive academically, emotionally, and socially. We affirm our dedication to providing comprehensive and inclusive education., where all feel loved.

During this month, let us join hands, stand tall, and advocate for a world where every individual is celebrated, respected, and embraced for who they are. Together, we inspire a future generation that values diversity, compassion, and equality, nurturing a society where everyone can flourish and shine their brightest.

Happy Pride Month!

The 2SLGBTQ+ Allies Committee

All Pride With No Prejudice:  Pride Month Kicks Off With Inclusive Event

Get ready to celebrate diversity, inclusion, and love as we embrace the spirit of Pride Month! The 2SLGBTQ+| Allies Committee is thrilled to host all members and their families at The Hearty Hooligan to kick-off Pride Month. Join us on June 1 for some light food and refreshments in a safe space at this inclusive social event for all.

Celebrating Our Colleagues' Career Milestones

On the evening of May 31, we gathered as an assembly of colleagues, family, and friends to honour and commemorate the remarkable career milestones of several OECTA-HW teachers at our annual Retirement Celebration event. The celebration was an enchanting evening filled with heartfelt tributes, laughter, and fond memories.  

Please click on the graphic below to view the slide deck from the ceremony.

OECTA-HW  Unit Executive Elections

On Wednesday, May 24, 2023, local unit elections took place as part of our at our unit's General Meeting. We would like to thank our departing members of the executive (Barbara Forsyth and Rick Palkowski) for their service to their colleagues over their years.  

For the 2023-2024 school year, the unit executive will be comprised of...

President - Joshua Mamer

1st Vice-President - Alison Coyle

2nd Vice-President - Paul Kiely

3rd Vice-President - Lori Bell

Treasurer - Erin O'Neill

Recording Secretary - Laura Mostacci

Councillors - Joe Clinton, Larry Finocchi, Stephan Hume, Sherrie Savelli  

Occasional Teacher Representative - Anthony Salvatore

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

From the Treasurer

Cashing Cheques

With so much personal banking now being done over our cell phones, increasingly cheques are inadvertently being cashed two (or more) times. This results in problems later on while reconciling the bank statement. To assist the unit in maintaining its books, members are asked to cash cheques ASAP '(and within 6 months)., Be sure to write "void" or "cancel" on remotely cashed cheques. 

2022-2023 Expenses and Mileage

All expenses and mileage claims (for union business) must be sent to the OECTA office by June 24th. Any expenses and mileage related to a specific committee must be signed for by the committee chairs before submitting to the office.

PD Funds Available

If you have taken a course which will help you to develop professionally, the unit may be able to help. PD funds (up to $250) are available for courses such as AQs, conferences, etc. Courses/Conferences must be completed by August 31 to qualify under this year's budgeted funds.  Courses/Conferences after August 31 may be claimed using next year's allocated funds.

Committee Budget Proposals

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 Thursday, June 29, 2023, 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 30, 2023. Further details will be sent out at a later date once the number of attendees are confirmed.

What education members need to know about the new First Home Savings Account

Thinking about buying your first home? Good news. The new Tax-Free First Home Savings Account (FHSA), designed to help qualifying first-time home buyers save for their home, is here. So, how exactly does this new account work and how can education members leverage it to save for their first home?

Read on to learn more about the FHSA and why you should consider opening an FHSA, even if you’re unsure about buying a home: Brought to you by Educators Financial Group.

Know Your Contract

Transfer Process Update

Transfer seasons is drawing near to its end. Some final stages remain in the process (outlined in the table) which will wrap up very shortly. Please be certain to direct all questions about transfers to the OECTA office.

From the Ontario Federation of Labour


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

RSVP today!

OECTA Hamilton--Wentworth Says "Enough is Enough"

The Ontario Federation of Labour in partnership with labour councils across Ontario is planning for Enough is Enough - Day of Action on Saturday, June 3. We encourage you and all OECTA members to participate in an Enough is Enough Day of Action in your community. To access the list of events planned across the province, visit: Enough is Enough Local Events.

Enough is Enough is a campaign designed to unite workers and the community to fight against the Ford government's corporate agenda.

The events, scheduled to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the re-election of the Ford government, aim to demand action from the government as working people struggle with the rising costs of food and housing, finding and keeping good paying jobs and accessing high quality publicly funded health care and education.

In Hamilton, there will be a rally and march at Gore Park from 12-3pm on June 3rd . For more information or questions, please feel free to contact Rick Palkowski via email:

Rick Palkowski and Josh Mamer

Member Opportunities

Local Opportunities

The Social Committee Wraps Up the Year With a Strike

On Thursday May 18th, after a 3 year hiatus, our 11th annual OECTA-HW Bowling Night at Splitsville was a success! It was an energetic evening filled with friendly competition, laughter, prizes and food. Congratulations to the 2023 winning team who bowled in tutus and proudly took the OECTA-HW Bowling Pin Trophy back to their school - the St. Marguerite d'Youville "Ball"erinas (Christian Ferrecuti, George Frade, Deb Medeiros, Steve Pratt, Joanna Rivera and Kelly Torrence).

A sincere thank you goes out to all members of the Social Committee who worked very hard behind the scenes and at events this year to bring the sense of community back to our members. Your dedication allowed for events such as Breakfast With Santa, Family Skating, Paint Night, and Bowling to be filled with camaraderie and joy. Committee members for 2022-2023 include: Lori Bell, Joshua Czerniga, Michelle Demers, Lisa Fernandes, Barbara Forsyth, Jennifer Gunby, Paul Kiely, Josh Mamer, Erin O'Neill, Anna Pyz, Anthony Salvatore, and Sherrie Savelli.

Ideas for 2023-2024

The Social Committee wants to hear from you!  We're always looking for new and exciting ideas for social events to draw members together and build the spirit of camaraderie within our unit. Think your idea is too outlandish? Toss it in, anyway. You never know where the committee might take things.

Provincial Association Opportunities

OECTA Summer Institutes 

Looking for something productive to do with your time this summer?  You're in luck!  Register today for these FREE learning opportunities and engage in meaningful dialogue with your colleagues from across the province. OECTA Summer Institutes are interactive and delivered virtually in one- or two-day seminars. Come away with practical resources and classroom ready supports for implementation in the coming school year. 

French as a Second Language (Grades 4-12)

August 9, 2023 (9:30am - 3:30pm)

Register for French as a Second Language Now

Relax About Reading (Kindergarten - Grade 2)

July 12-13, 2023  (9:30am - 3:30pm)

July 18-19, 2023 (9:30am - 3:30pm)

Register for Relax About Reading Now

Diving into Mathematics (Kindergarten to Grade 8)

August 1-2, 2023 (9:30am - 3:30pm)

August 22-23, 2023 (9:30am - 3:30pm)

Register for Diving into Mathematics Now

Beginning Teachers Conference

If you are a member in the first 10 years of your teaching career, then you are invited to attend OECTA’s Beginning Teachers Conference!  This two-day, in-person conference boasts workshops and features speakers designed specifically to support teachers who are early in their teaching careers, and who are looking to get energized before the start of the school year.

Get to know your Association, meet Provincial Office staff, and get a close-up view of what OECTA does to support, protect, and empower its members. Get to know other teachers who are at the same stage of their teaching journey and share your hopes, experiences, and ideas.

Conference workshops are tailored to engage beginning teachers on everything from the inner workings of the Association, to modern Catholic pedagogy, to tools and advice to stay on top of an ever-changing education landscape.

Join us at the Westin Harbour Castle hotel in Toronto on August 24 to 25. Find out why OECTA’s Beginning Teachers Conference is so exciting!

Applications will be received until Thursday, June 15. Space is limited.


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

Take me out to the Ballgame

In recognition of the amazing work of educators, the Toronto Blue Jays are once again offering Catholic teachers a 30% discount off select tickets for games through to June 30, 2023.

Offer Details:

From the Provincial Association

Links to Featured Articles

First Steps Toward and Inclusive Classroom

by Allison Parsons, with contributions from Rolland Chidiac

How to be an Ally

by Caroline Chikoore

OECTA Takes the Ford Conservative Government to Court and Wins...Again!

by Peter MacDonald

Count Me In:  Association Launches First Ever Member Census

by Barb Dobrowolski

Teaching Duties Include Human Rights

by Darcel Bullen


For the first time ever, the Association is launching a full-scale census of our membership. Simply put, we are seeking some simple and important – and confidential! – information from you and as many of our 45,000 Catholic teachers as possible, to provide a clearer picture of who our members are, so we can better reach and advocate for all Catholic teachers more effectively.

Your privacy throughout the census process is paramount, which is why we have engaged our long-standing partners at Pollara Strategic Insights, one of Canada’s leading research firms, to help conduct this census. Your information will be held in the strictest of confidence. No one associated with OECTA will be able to connect an individual’s responses with their identity – not the Provincial Executive, not Provincial Office staff, not unit presidents, and not members who complete the survey.

The ultimate success of any census depends on participation. Over the coming weeks and months, you are going to see a LOT of communications about this project. We will attempt to reach Catholic teachers to inform them of this opportunity in a variety of ways – from emails, to traditional “snail mail,” to peer-to-peer texting, and more. You will see advertisements posted in your schools, and we will attempt to encourage participation through a series of draws for exciting prizes – while always ensuring confidentiality.

The more Catholic teachers we can bring into this project, the better positioned our Association will be to further transform and improve what we do. So please, watch your email and for future updates, so you can do your part to make your voice heard, and be counted.

6 ways to make better use of your tax refund

Another tax season is in the books, and for many of you, it may mean getting a refund on money paid in taxes. In fact, just over half of the 31 million tax returns filed in 2022 received a refund, at an average amount of $2,176. But, before you rush out to spend it, consider how you can put it to work to enhance your financial future.

Here are 6 ways to make much better use of your tax refund: Brought to you by Educators Financial Group.