Around OECTA

October 2022

Local Unit Issues

Negotiation Updates

We are living in interesting times indeed. As of writing this, we are in the midst of CUPE’s announcement that they intend to go through with a full withdrawal of services on Friday, November 4 if a collective agreement is not reached. The conservative government has also announced that back-to-work legislation has been tabled in advance of CUPE's legal job action.

This government is making a mockery of the collective bargaining process, a decision that has been seen to backfire given the decision more recently regarding Bill 115. However, it doesn’t seem to faze them as they look to bully and impose their political will on working class Ontarians. 

How this potential legislation will affect our negotiations is yet to be seen.  But anytime the collective bargaining process is tossed aside in favour of strong armed and abusive tactics, it’s not a good sign for any labour group. Once CUPE, the government, and the boards make their decisions, we will have a clearer picture of our path forward.

Be assured that our position is that the fallout of these negotiations should not fall on the shoulders of teachers. Especially at a time when teachers are shouldering too much already. The health and safety of our members is our top concern and providing you with the time and tools to adjust is our expectation.

Please read the OECTA Provincial memo that would have been emailed to your personal address on the morning of October 31st for important information updates.  More details will follow any official action taken by either side as we navigate this ever changing situation. Continue to do what you do best, serve the students in our communities and maintain the high standards of professionalism that you display each and every day.

Be well.


Important Upcoming Dates

Aspen Training

Aspen training continues. There have been ½ day release opportunities for up to 2 people per school to be trained as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). These are continuing this week. We are expecting that principals be creative in carving out time for these teachers to support their staff. The expectation is NOT that these SMEs spend their planning time or after school to support colleagues. Leaving plans and having the principal teach the SME’s class for a morning while they are free to support in the learning commons or a planning area is an example of principal creativity. Repeating this model for an afternoon would allow all staff the opportunity to be supported. We are also suggesting these SMEs be released again before first term reports to be better able to support and troubleshoot. For the time being, the deadline for progress reports have been postponed until November 10.

Writing Your Report Cards

While drafting their progress reports, members are reminded that it would be inappropriate to assess or comment on the progress of a student in the absence of supporting data.  Growing Success offers this guidance on the formulation of a report card assessment;

"The teacher will consider all evidence collected through observations, conversations,  and student

products (tests/exams, assignments for evaluation)...that the student has completed or

submitted...and will use their professional judgement to determine the student’s report card grade."

In the absence of evidence, Growing Success suggests that extenuating circumstances may result in the use of the code "I" on the report card if a teacher determines it to be appropriate in the circumstances. Our members are reminded that they are to use their professional judgement in consideration of all the available evidence when authoring reports.  If you have further questions to this, please contact the unit office.

The Right to Disconnect

Since the advent of the Internet age, the reliance upon email and other digital means of communication has exponentially infiltrated our lives, and has placed upon us the unrealistic expectation that we are 'always-on' and available to others, including our places of employment. Over the years, the line between home and work became blurrier, resulting in an intrusion into time spent with family and recharging oneself, and typically without commensurate adjustments to compensation.

"Disconnecting from work means not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls,

video calls or the sending or reviewing of other messages, so as to be free from the performance of work."

Effective December 2, 2021, Bill 27 amended the Employment Standards Act, requiring employers to institute  a policy respecting workers' right to disconnect from communications related to the performance of work. Recently, the HWCDSB released its policy and procedure respecting your right to disconnect.  Please be certain to review these documents by clicking on the links below.

Electronic Monitoring Policy

Effective October 11, 2022, the HWCDSB was required to have in place a written policy respecting how, if at all, the Board is monitoring its employees through electronic means. This policy must be provided to workers by November 10. The policy must clearly state whether or not the employer electronically monitors employees. If they are monitoring employees electronically, the policy must include: 

The policy is required to capture all electronic monitoring, and not just monitoring of employer-provided equipment and devices. This might include, for instance, monitoring of an employee when they work from home using their personal computer. This might also include monitoring after work hours. 

As of writing, the Board has not communicated to the OECTA office the contents of the policy. More information will be circulated to members once it is available. 

Source: Worker Health and Safety Centre e-Bulletin, October 5, 2022. 

Know Your Contract

Earned Leave Plan 

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.

Attendance Check-Up

When registering an absence on Smartfind Express, members are encouraged to perform a quick audit of their attendance allocations prior to confirming their absence with the system.  The use of an absence code for which one's allocations are exhausted may result in a loss of wages for the day. As a reminder, members have access to several "banks" of leave provisions,  the two most commonly utilized being the Personal Illness  bank of 11 + 120 days, and the "bank of five" (5) days reserved for unique circumstances. These circumstance can include urgent personal reasons (up to 2 days per year out of the 5 days), medical/dental, inclement weather, and compassionate leave. Note that credits drawn in any given year from the "bank of five" must not exceed five for all of the above-mentioned circumstances, with a maximum of 2 days for urgent personal reasons. Please be certain to reference your contract for the finer details respecting your leave provisions. Contact the office for even greater clarification.

Health and Safety Corner

The Safe Schools Incident Report and You

“Behaviour that is not addressed becomes accepted behaviour.”

Program and Policy Memorandum 145

What is a Safe Schools Incident Report?

In 2009, Bill 157 was passed into law by the Ontario government, ushering in new requirements for employees of school boards in Ontario with a mind for improving school safety. Among the requirements is a duty for school board employees to report incidents of behaviour which meet the threshold as defined in the Education Act 306(1) and 310(1). As a general rule, employees of the Board – including administrators, teachers, and other school staff – must respond to any student behaviour that is likely to have a negative impact on the school climate.

"Building and sustaining a positive school climate is a complex 

challenge requiring evidence-informed solutions."  

Program and Policy Memorandum 145

Meeting one's duty to report must be observed as part of a process designed to identify and manage unacceptable behaviours early not only to minimize the potential impact to the moral tone of the school, but also to protect the physical and mental well-being of all members of the school community. Unfortunately, violence, and other inappropriate behaviours meeting the threshold, are often going unreported or under-reported. To help in securing the support teachers need, proper reporting procedures must be followed. Through accurate reporting, appropriate measured steps can be taken to address inappropriate behaviour, leading to a safer workplace and learning environment for staff and students alike.

Reporting to the Principal

Any employee of the HWCDSB who becomes aware of a student who has engaged in an activity for which suspension and/or expulsion might be considered shall, as soon as reasonably possible, report to the principal of the school about the matter. A principal shall investigate any matter reported, and after investigating, communicate the results of the investigation to the employee who initially reported the matter. 

Threshold for Reporting

Some Infractions Meeting the Threshold

*Sources: Education Act 306(1), 310(1), HWCDSB Code of Conduct

SSIR Completion by School

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Member Opportunities

Local Unit Opportunities

Upcoming Social Committee Events

After a  protracted COVID hiatus, the OECTA Hamilton-Wentworth Social Committee is thrilled to announce the return of Breakfast With Santa and other exciting events for members and their families throughout the year. More details will come soon, but we are able to share with you the following at this time.

Breakfast With Santa

Recreational Skating Drop-In

Come on out and get some exercise while enjoying a great Canadian pastime. No skill necessary. Tentatively scheduled to occur in January, we will be renting a sheet of ice exclusively for OECTA-HW members and their families to enjoy some time together.


Channel your Mee-maw this March for your chance to win-big at the OECTA-HW BINGO night.   

Paint Night

Let your inner-artist out with this event tentatively scheduled to occur in February. OECTA-HW members will have an opportunity to work with a local artist while sharing time reconnecting with their colleagues.

Bowling at Splitsville

This crowd-pleasing event is planned to occur in May. Get your team organized and be sure to register early. This one fills up quickly!

Provincial Association Opportunities

Call for Writers

OECTA’s AQ Program is looking for writers for:

Interested applicants may submit their resume/CV with a cover letter, video or audio recording that speaks about a vision for the project. Application(s) to include:

All applications may be submitted to by the end of the day on June 17, 2022 noting which course you are applying for.

Projects will launch during the week of July 11, 2022Follow this link for more details.

Call for AGM 2020 Tellers

Experience the Annual General Meetings in an entirely different way.  

Apply to be a teller at

AGM 2023

Friday, November 11, 2022

Religious AQ Course - Go to Italy

The Association is pleased to announce a trip to Italy to complement the OECTA Religious Education AQ courses, Parts 1, 2, and 3!

Your Provincial Association Working For You

Collective Bargaining Updates

On October 24, 2022, the Provincial Bargaining team announced that agreement had been reached on a majority of the items to be captured within the “scope” of negotiations to occur at the central table. Some items remain in question and then will be decided upon by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Once the entirety of the scope of central and local terms has been determined, then the collective bargaining process will proceed. Meetings between the Provincial Bargaining team, the Government of Ontario (Crown) and the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA) have been scheduled in the near future.  Stay tuned to your email for updates from these meetings. If you, or your colleagues, have not yet registered their personal email with the Association, please follow the link below and start receiving the updates in your inbox. 

OECTA AQ Courses

Your Association offers a wide range of Additional Qualification courses to help you progress in your career. Taking an AQ course is a great way to add to your professional portfolio so that you can better meet the needs of your students.  Consider registering for an OECTA AQ course today!

Key Information

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