Friends and Advocates for Catholic Education made their collective presence known May 29 at Queen's Park during the group's annual lobby day appearance.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - Catholic school teachers, trustees and the provincial government have come to a tentative contract agreement just days before the start of the new school year.

Published in Canada

Ontario's Catholic teachers have signalled that they are ready to strike just before school is set to resume in September.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

Ontario's English Catholic teachers could be on the picket lines before students receive their final report card this school year.

After two days of voting, more than 94 per cent of Ontario’s English Catholic teachers told their union they would walk a picket line if negotiators can’t get a better deal in continuing talks with the province and school board trustees.

Published in Canada

Over the next two years Ann Hawkins hopes to use her position as the new Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association’s (OECTA) president to build relationships and protect the Catholic classroom.

Published in Catholic Education

TORONTO - Some Ontario Catholic teachers who think the World Pride Parade is no place for their union to have representation have expressed their thoughts but feel their voice has gone unheard. 

Published in Canada
June 18, 2014

OECTA is wrong

The outcry continues but the decision remains unchanged: the union that represents 45,000 Ontario Catholic teachers is determined to march June 29 in Toronto’s gay pride parade. As Cardinal Thomas Collins recently put it, “Really? What are you thinking?” 

Published in Editorial

A Waterloo Catholic school trustee believes Catholic teachers marching in the 2014 World Pride Parade with the support of their union sends a confusing message to students. 

Published in Education

The York Catholic District School Board is formally opposing the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association’s decision to participate in the World Pride Parade this June.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - At least 1,000 Ontarians are calling on the province's Catholic school trustees to demand the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association abandon its decision to have representation at the World Pride Parade.  

Published in Catholic Education

TORONTO - The union representing Ontario’s Catholic teachers is wrong to join in the World Pride Parade and its decision demonstrates an “inadequate and mistaken understanding of their faith,” said Cardinal Thomas Collins.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

TORONTO - The devil is in the details as far as Catholic school boards are concerned when it comes to side-stepping strikes and lockouts.

The Putting Students First Act, the Liberal government’s legislation to freeze teacher salaries, will require Catholic schools to operate by a different, more restrictive, set of rules than the province’s public boards. And that has the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA) up in arms.

Catholic boards will continue to be bound by the deal struck in July between the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and the Ministry of Education, even though the government legislation has backtracked on some key provisions contained in that agreement.

To get the Conservatives on side with Putting Students First, Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals had to remove controversial clauses that would have stripped school boards of some rights related to the hiring of permanent teachers and managerial oversight of diagnostic testing. Public boards will now be able to negotiate locally with teachers on those contentious issues, while the trustees from Ontario’s 29 Catholic boards are stuck with the deal the government negotiated with OECTA.

“The effect of these changes are in fact no change at all,” said Bob Murray, the OCSTA’s director of legislative and political affairs. “It’s subverting the role of trustees.”

The OECTA deal leaves virtually no room for local collective bargaining because all the substantive issues were settled without input from the province’s trustees.

“Under the proposed legislation no local collective bargaining will happen,” Murray said. “It’s an agreement that local trustees never agreed to.”

On July 4, following six months of unsuccessful bargaining, the Catholic trustees walked away from the table. That left the government and OECTA to strike a deal that imposed a two-year wage freeze, a reduction in sick days from 20 to 10, and elimination of the right to bank sick days until retirement. But the deal also gave the union greater input in hiring permanent teachers and some control over diagnostic testing.

“We said from the beginning that Ontario has a problem fiscally and something had to be done and we were willing to help out,” said Marino Gazzola, president of OCSTA.

“I think our concerns are the same now as they were before any proposed changes.”

He said that in negotiations with the government, OCSTA has consistently opposed ceding rights to the union on the issues of hiring and diagnostic testing. He said it’s not for him to say if the Liberals finally changed their position due to pressure from the Conservatives.

“If I had the answer to that I would probably be a millionaire,” he said. “We’ve been voicing these concerns all along and we’ve been firm in our position and we’ve been strong and consistent in our position.”

Those concerns were that provisions surrounding the hiring practices and diagnostic testing removed managerial rights and significant checks and balances from the boards. Under the changes, the trustees believe hiring now gives seniority greater weight than overall qualification, while granting teachers control of diagnostic testing gives them the ability to hide under-performing students.

“All students in Ontario should be able to receive an education from the most qualified teachers and benefit from the insight gained from the use of system-wide diagnostic tests that include parents,” said Gazzola. “School boards in this province have serious concerns about the proposed legislation.”

OCSTA was surprised to learn that the amendments to Putting Students First would not apply to the Catholic boards. They are now calling for additional revisions to essentially veto the controversial areas of the OECTA agreement so that Catholic boards have the same ability as public boards to negotiate locally with teacher unions.

“This legislation will create inequity in our system,” said Gazzola. “We urgently call on your government to amend the legislation to honestly reflect the changes proposed by the opposition.”

Published in Catholic Education

TORONTO - In an effort to be facilitate local bargaining procedures, avoid potential strikes and remain responsible to younger teachers, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) signed a tentative two-year deal with the province earlier this month, a deal that has angered their public school counterparts.

"This framework will now constitute each and every collective agreement within the province. They'll go through the local bargaining process to go ahead and address that," said Kevin O'Dwyer, OECTA's provincial executive. "It tries to be pretty responsible to the younger teachers."

Published in Education

The Ontario government’s so-called anti-bullying legislation, Bill-13, is a failure of lawmaking.

It mocks religious freedom and disrespects parental rights. It undermines the authority of elected trustees and school principals by giving veto power to children and teens with respect to some after-school clubs. It awards special status to certain types of bullying rather than uniformly attacking bullying in all its forms.

Published in Editorial

TORONTO - Despite concerns expressed by Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) says it supports students’ rights to form gay-straight alliances (GSA) in Catholic schools.

In a May 29 news release, OECTA president Kevin O’Dwyer said, “Providing safe, inclusive environments and eliminating bullying wherever we can is paramount. If the students feel that a club should be called a GSA — that it makes a difference to them — then, we respect and accept that choice.”

Published in Education
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