What is Spaces?

In the 2022-2023 school year, the OECTA-HW office will be transitioning some of its communication services to a platform called Spaces. Slack, which has served us well over these past few years by facilitating speedier responses to member concerns and questions, will be deprecated. Communication through Slack will cease following the completion of the transition to Spaces.

Why Move Away From Slack?

Our OECTA-HW workflow is built on the Google Cloud platform and utilizes the Google Workspace applications which are seamlessly integrated with one another. One of the advantages of this framework is that is greatly enhances our ability to draw connections among the data accessible to us in order to find the best ways to advocate on your behalf. Slack was a key component of our communication piece over the past couple of years, but its integration with the rest of our workflow solutions was limited. Google Chat will make available to us insights drawn from conversations with the staff reps, as conversations are indexed and incorporated into our data cloud so that it is searchable and easily referenced. In the end, your OECTA-HW office is able to be more responsive to the needs of the members.

Do I Need an Account?

Similar to Slack, you will need an account; more specifically, a Google account. For the vast majority, this is not an issue since you likely already have one. Do you have a YouTube account or use Gmail? You already have a Google account.

Don't want another email address? No worries. You can create a Google account with your already existing personal email address. For clarity, when you do this, your personal email account is not controlled or even connected to Google in any way. You are merely making a Google account that happens to have the same string of characters as your personal email. Directions on how to do that are below.

How do I Access Spaces?

Spaces can be accessed on pretty much any device - laptop, desktop, Chromebook, iPad, MacBook, Android, or iPhone. Download Google Chat from the App Store or Google Play and/or navigate to chat.google.com and/or navigate to gmail.com and you'll soon be up and running. Spaces can be accessed pretty much anywhere.

Technical Issues?

As with anything new and unfamiliar, there are bound to be hiccoughs along the way. We'll get through them together, though. To assist in alleviating technical issues, we offer the following guide to getting started. Please follow the steps in order and you should be up and running in no time. If the following steps have been followed and you are still encountering difficulty, please do not hesitate to reach out to Paul at helpdesk@oectahw.com or at 289-440-4648.

Step 1: Ensure you have an account with Google.

Before anything can be done about accessing OECTA-HW Spaces, you need to make sure that you have a Google account. If you already have a GMail address then you're set. If you don't want a new email address, no problem. You can create a Google account using your non-GMail address. See the video for how to do this.


  • The quickest and easiest solution here is to use a Gmail address. Many of you already have one.


  • To create a Google account with your currently existing email address, please follow the steps in the video.

This process does not make any connection between your personal email address and the newly created Google account. All that will have occurred is that Google will have a login name which happens to be the same as your personal email. For clarity, your email is not taken over by Google.

Step 2: Download Google Chat

Google Chat works on pretty much all devices. In fact, you may already have it on your device without realizing it. If not, here are your options for download.

Got an Android Phone or Tablet? - Download the App

Got an iPhone or iPad? Download the App

Using a Desktop or Laptop? - Navigate to chat.google.com or you can access Spaces through the gmail.com interface

Before you can use Google Chat, you will need to ensure that you have added your Google account to your device. This process varies by device.

  • iOS users can add their Google account through the settings found within the app. Please see additional help here.

  • Android users can add their Google account through the main settings page for the device, or through the settings found within the Google Chat application.

Step 3: Accept Invitations to Join a Space

Step 1

Inside of the Google Chat app, you will see a letter in a circle at the top right. Click on that to check which account Chat is currently using.

Step 2

Verify that Chat is using the account provided to the OECTA-HW office. In this case, I am looking for paulkiely941@yahoo.com

Step 3

Click on the Spaces tab at the bottom of the screen, and then click on New Space. On the following screen, click on Browse Spaces.

Step 4

If an invitation to a Space is recognized, you will see the Space listed on this screen. To join a Space, click on the plus button.

Step 5

Once you have joined a Space, you will be able to see the conversation threads and participate. Please be sure to review the community code of conduct.

OECTA-HW Spaces Code of Conduct

OECTA-HW welcomes your comments!

We invite you to contribute to the discussion, with your own experiences.

Please refrain from using rumours unless it’s to ask a question of the group or clarify an issue.

Please be civil and respectful to others.

Users on this chat are reminded of OECTA’s policy for a Safe Workplace and Member Conduct (Sections 3.161-3.245 in the Handbook).

The Association is committed to:

  • Providing a safe, secure and respectful environment that is free from harassment

  • The Association will not tolerate any violence, threats, harassment, or intimidation at Association premises

  • Harassment includes but is not limited to:

  • Unwelcome remarks, taunts, derogatory comments

  • Bullying

  • Intimidation

  • Humiliating a person in front of their co-workers or peers

  • A departure from reasonable conduct

It should be noted that the information shared and revealed in this space is for informational purposes and should not be used as a directive from the office unless presented by the release officers as they are authorised to speak on Association issues.

This chat is open to all Association reps.