Around OECTA

February 2024

From Your Local Unit

President's Message

Hello Teachers of Hamilton-Wentworth. Happy Leap Day. Normally we’d be digging ourselves out of mounds of snow. 

I hope you all have been enjoying the unseasonably high temperatures and bonus sunshine. It’s hard to believe that next week is the week leading up to the March Break! I never feel bad thinking we deserve it after the dark days of January and February.

On February 28, we had 104 people register for our 3rd General Meeting and it was a nice chance to connect with colleagues and enjoy a meal together. Among many of the items discussed last night, members were given a collective bargaining update. I can say this; we are close.

Your provincial bargaining team had been negotiating for 3 days and were still at the table into the night last night. The bargaining session adjourned with another meeting scheduled for Monday, March 4th.

This is a good sign. 

It is imperative that you continue to regularly check your personal email address for important updates.

Other items discussed at the General meeting were Unit Executive Elections, Unit Equity Executive position, and AGM resolutions. 

The office has also been preparing for the Annual General Meeting next week in Toronto. I want to thank the 21 delegates who will be attending the meeting during the first weekend of their March Break to help conduct the business of the Association.

It’s also the time of year where some teachers start thinking about retirement. There are few dates of note regarding retirement planning. Please consider registering for the OTIP sponsored Retirement Workshop (April 9 - Liuna Station) and/or the OECTA sponsored Pension Workshop (April 16 - St. Naum). Topics covered at OTIP workshop are; group benefits and financial planning and the OECTA workshop; pension.

The office continues to be available for guidance and support. Do not hesitate to contact us should issues arise. 

Continue to get involved in the things that bring you joy.

Be well.


Important Upcoming Dates

STOP - Don't sign that report!
Know what you are signing first

One of the issues we have been trying to push the board to correct is accurate accident/incident reporting when the Parklane reports are completed. These are completed after violent incidents, parental harassment, slip/trips etc. One of the issues we have run into is violent incidents being labelled as "struck by/contact with" instead of "violence." "Alternate Facts" have been used in the report, rather than the teacher's explanation of what occurred. In addition to this, we are seeing an increase in the use of a "blame the worker" tone when completing the report. 

More recently we have heard of teachers being asked to sign a paper copy of the Parklane report, after is has been completed. It is essential that you READ the report first, so you know what you are signing. Yes, you should be able to trust that admin has typed your account of what has occurred and in many cases, you can! However, we have seen this isn't always the case. We aren't sure what is in it for the board, but we have our suspicions. 

Some administrators think it makes them look bad to have these sorts of incidents in their school. Others feel like students with special needs should not be 'labelled.' Or, they think the incident was your fault. Maybe if you feel like it is your fault, you won't ask for a report to be completed. However, this is YOUR report of what happened to you. This has nothing to do with labelling students or placing blame. 

When the board runs their end of year reports, if the incident isn't listed as violence, your report won't show up and won't be counted in their numbers. Violence can be underreported. 

The board uses Parklane to fill out their WSIB Form 7. If it is incorrect, they are providing the wrong details to WSIB which are then used (in conjunction with your Form 8) to approve or deny your claim.  This creates a lot of work for you and the OECTA office to correct these misunderstandings. We have had to launch appeals when WSIB claims were denied. When a WSIB claim is denied, it is the OECTA benefits plan that pays for the treatment, and the teacher that pays for the time off through their sick days. When WSIB is approved, the school board pays, not you and your colleagues!There is a potential cost savings for the board.

The H&S Committee reviews the Parklane reports to identify hazards and make recommendations. If they don't know what happened after reading the description, how can they do their job?  How can they ask why there are so many violent incidents for one student? How can they ask, what is being done about this? 

The question remains, why isn't accurate reporting a priority for the board? Why won't they act when they know there is a problem?

Make sure YOUR words and selections are in the Parklane report. Don't sign if you do not agree with what is stated in the report. You are within your rights to do so. If you feel you must, you can sign it and write "under duress" beside your signature. Make sure you take a copy. 

Call the OECTA office if you have questions or need support.


1st Vice-President

Annual General Meeting 2024

The time has come once more for your Association to assemble 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.

Meeting Materials

Browse through the meeting materials and/or tune in to the live stream of the meeting  to take it all in at AGM 2024. Visit the Members' Area at to access the links to the following:

Changes to OECTA LTD Plan

Effective for the upcoming school year, changes to the OECTA Long Term Disability plan will see contributions continue to be taken from members who are on a statutory leave of absence. This includes maternity, paternity, educational, sabbatical, and other general leaves of absence provided for in the collective agreement.  

In the unforeseen circumstance where  a teacher is unable to return to work from a statutory leave, the LTD plan replaces a percentage of income and protects a member's pension plan. Being sick is tough enough - the LTD plan affords alleviation from some of the financial stress associated with being off work. With 1 in 5 members accessing the LTD plan over the course of their career, this additional coverage will prove invaluable for members in tough times.

EXAMPLE:   Lucia is diagnosed with cancer while on maternity leave. While undergoing cancer treatment, her leave of absence ends, and she is unable to return to work. Since Lucia has LTD coverage, she is eligible to apply for LTD benefits. Lucia will get credit towards the LTD qualifying period from the date of disability and the benefits payable on or after the date her leave is scheduled to end, which will help her replace her income while she is unable to work. 

The incoming changes to the LTD plan are effective September 1, 2024.  There are bound to be many questions associated with this change. Please follow the link below to learn more about the changes and to view the Frequently Asked Questions resource.

OECTA-HW Retirement Celebration 2024

OECTA Joint Unit Pension Workshop

For those contemplating retirement, or looking to better understand the process, the OECTA Joint Unit Pension Workshop is scheduled for Tuesday April 16 from 4-7pm at  St. Naum's Macedonian Hall at 1150 Stone Church Rd E. The workshop is open to Elementary and Secondary OECTA members and their partners. A light dinner will be provided. Click on the link below to register for this workshop. Shortly after you have registered you will receive an automatically generated confirmation email. Be be sure to locate this email as it is required for entry to the workshop. If there are any issues, please email for assistance.

Professional Development Fund 

Funds from the OECTA Hamilton-Wentworth 2023-2024 budget have been set aside to assist members with costs associated with professional development opportunities such as AQ courses, conferences, and workshops. To take advantage of this opportunity, please complete the application form linked below.  

Please Note:

PD funds for 2023-2024 are available until June 30th. After that time, any applications for funds will come from the following year's budget line.

Cheques From the Unit Office 

The OECTA-HW unit office is in the final stages of its transition away from Tandia Financial Credit Union to a new financial services provider. Because of this, members are asked to be mindful of any outstanding cheques issued by OECTA-HW which bear the name Tandia, and to cash them before April 30.  Cheques cashed after the transition has been finalized may not be honoured. If you have any questions, please reach out to the office.


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Health and Safety Corner

Highlights of the Provincial Health and Safety Committee Report

While attendance at the Annual General Meeting  may not be a possibility for all, members are able to remain up to date on the issues impacting education by reviewing the   Among the various reports shared during the meeting, the insights given in the Health and Safety Committee report hold particular significance for teachers and students alike.  Without delving extensively into the contents of the report, here are some key topics and brief insights: 

Awareness of the above issues, and to those others which are outlined in the report of the Provincial Health and Safety Committee,  will help build the strength of the Internal Responsibility System at each school, thereby leading to greater health and safety outcomes for all. For greater depth of understanding, please navigate to to view the committee's report in its entirety, and to access all the materials from the Annual General Meeting.

Updates to School Year Calendar - April 8 Solar Eclipse

On April 8, 2024, Hamilton residents will experience the awe-inspiring spectacle of a total solar eclipse from within the path of totality, the first time Hamilton will be treated to the celestial occurrence in 99 years. At around 3:19 pm (Eastern Time), the moon will completely obscure the sun, plunging the city into twilight for several unforgettable minutes. This once-in-a-lifetime event promises an unforgettable display that will leave a mark upon students and staff alike.

Members are reminded that the Professional Activity Day previously scheduled for all elementary and secondary schools on Friday, April 19th has been moved to Monday, April 8. Members are also reminded that there are risks associated with viewing the eclipse. To help the residents of Hamilton to take the greatest advantage of this event, McMaster University has purchased Solar Eclipse Viewing Glasses which can be picked up from a local Public Library Branch. Get your pair today!

Glasses will be available after the following dates:

Member Opportunities

Local Association Opportunities

FREE OECTA Strong Rally Shirt

Weren't able to make it to the strike rally in October?  Want the swag?  Get your FREE OECTA Strong Rally Shirt!

For $0, yes FREE, you can proudly declare to everyone around you that TEACHERS are at the heart of education. What's more? They'll know that you are OECTA STRONG. Worn together throughout our great communities of Hamilton-Wentworth, they'll know that WE are OECTA, and we stand united as one.

Members can order their shirt through the OECTA-HW Swag Store, while supplies last. Delivery is offered through the HWCDSB mailbag, or you can choose to pick it up from our office. For delivery to your school, select "Ship to my Address" during checkout. We will send your shirt to the school you indicate in the options. We do not offer shipping to other addresses.

Supplies are limited in size SMALL & MEDIUM. First come, first served. If your size is missing, we are out of stock. Pick another size, or we're sorry that you missed out on this opportunity. When selecting your size, please note that these shirts fit a little on the larger side.

**Offer limited to members who did not already get a shirt at the strike rally or through other means. If you paid for a shirt, please contact the office to discuss reimbursement.**

Provincial Association Opportunities

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

*Early Bird Special. Add $50 after June 17

From the Ontario Teachers' Federation

Teachers' Gateway to Special Education

Developed by OTF, with funding from the Ministry of Education, the Teachers’ Gateway to Special Education has become the source for strategies and resources to help teachers address the unique needs of students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Well organized and extremely user friendly, the website includes links to:

The site also includes definitions of key special education terms and can be used as a practical guide for teachers building Individual Education Plans.

Check it out today!

Survive and Thrive

Survive and Thrive is an online tool from the Ontario Teachers' Federation for beginning teachers, occasional teachers, mentors and teacher candidates which gives hands-on information that will be of value in the classroom, in dealing with colleagues, parents and others, and in managing your work-life balance. 

Check it out today!

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