September 12, 2018 — As many of you know, Premier Doug Ford announced on Monday that he intends to invoke the constitution’s “notwithstanding clause” to override a court ruling that struck down Bill 5, the Better Local Government Act. A Superior Court Justice ruled earlier in the day that the Act infringes on the freedom of expression provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Ford said that he will reintroduce the legislation this week, and will invoke the notwithstanding clause so that the constitutionality of the legislation cannot be challenged in court.
Ford’s decision to invoke the notwithstanding clause is unprecedented in Ontario, and is disturbing in the extreme. Even more disturbing was Ford’s statement to reporters that he would not hesitate to use the notwithstanding clause whenever he felt it necessary in the future. This is an astounding proclamation by the Premier of Ontario that his own legislative agenda takes priority over the constitutional rights of Ontarians.
The implications of this are serious for everyone in the province, including members of OSSTF/FEESO and all unions, whose rights to meaningful collective bargaining are guaranteed by the constitution.
I urge all OSSTF/FEESO members, especially those who live in ridings represented by government MPPs, to contact their local representatives by phone or by email and insist that they vote against this Bill when it is reintroduced in the legislature. Doug Ford is attempting to establish a very dangerous precedent, and we must make every effort to let him and his government know that this is simply not acceptable.
Harvey Bischof, President
June 8, 2018 — Yesterday the people of Ontario elected a majority Progressive Conservative government. While this is not the result that many of us were hoping for, our Federation respects the democratic process. On that basis, on behalf of our members, I extend congratulations to Premier-Designate Doug Ford.
OSSTF/FEESO will be reaching out to the new government in an effort to establish a meaningful dialogue. To the extent they are willing to support the work our members do on behalf of students from junior kindergarten to university, we can have a productive relationship.
We will also, of course, tenaciously oppose any policies or measures that seek to undermine publicly funded education, be it through underfunding or any other means.
With this government, as with any other, our objective will always be to protect and enhance publicly funded education in Ontario.
April 26, 2018 — Every year beginning the first Monday in May, Ontario celebrates Education Week. This year, Education Week is from May 7 to May 11.
The theme of Education Week 2018, Public Education – It’s for Everyone, recognizes a publicly-funded education system is perhaps the province’s most important asset, and that we must continue to ensure that we meet the needs of all who rely on it in a rapidly growing and changing Ontario.
The celebration of Education Week was established by OSSTF/FEESO in 1930 to recognize and celebrate the essential role public education plays in the lives of communities all over the province. Within a few years Education Week was being celebrated across Canada, and today, thanks to OSSTF/FEESO’s initiative 88 years ago, it is officially recognized in Ontario and observed by education stakeholders throughout the province.
As part of Education Week, we celebrate Support Staff Appreciation Day on Wednesday, May 9. This is a day to recognize and celebrate the many and varied contributions that the team of secretaries, technicians, educational assistants, instructors, psychologists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, attendance counsellors, early childhood educators and the many others in education, make to Ontario’s publicly funded schools and universities as well as to Ontario’s students of all ages