Ontario Releases COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidance for Schools

On August 3, 2021, the Ministry of Education (MOE) released its COVID-19: Health, Safety and Operational Guidance for Schools (2021-2022) (Direction), which is its plan for return to school in September. The Direction was approved by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health for the purpose of regulations made under the Reopening Ontario…

Arbitrator Rules That Virtual Class Prep Time Arrangement Violates Collective Agreement

On March 5, 2021, Arbitrator Susan Stewart released an award (Award) between the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (Board) and ETFO dealing with preparation time (prep time) for remote learning elementary teachers in its virtual classes during the current 2020-21 school year. The grievance alleged that the Board had failed to provide prep time in…

Ministry of Education Releases New “School Board Teacher Hiring Practices” PPM

On February 22, 2021, the Ontario Ministry of Education (Ministry) released the much anticipated Policy/Program Memorandum No. 165 (PPM 165) regarding “School Board Teacher Hiring Practices.” PPM 165 comes in response to the revocation of Ontario Regulation 274/12 “Hiring Practices” and will replace the Interim policy for school board hiring practices. The PPM is effective…

Debate Regarding Regulatory Obligations for Kindergarten Class Size Caps Now Resolved in Favour of School Boards

For 20 years, beginning in 1997, school boards and teachers’ federations agreed that class size limits pertaining to elementary school students needed to be met only by and on a “determination date” identified in the first half of the fall term. Following the negotiation of its 2017 Extension Agreement and an associated Letter of Commitment from the Crown, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) challenged this mutual understanding in two related arbitrations. Two arbitration awards and one judicial review later, the issue has now been definitively resolved – in favour of the school boards’ interpretation and the continuation of the historical compliance system.

OLRB: No Jurisdiction to Hear Union Appeals Under OHSA Regarding COVID-19 School Safety Guidelines

On October 1, 2020, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) dismissed four appeals which alleged that Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspectors had refused to inspect and / or issue orders to the Ministry of Education (MOE) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to correct alleged deficiencies in the province-wide, MOE-issued, school safety guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic. The appeals were filed by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, and L’Association des enseignantes en enseignants franco-ontariens (collectively, the Unions).

The Latest Updates for School Boards Before the Summer

As the 2019 – 2020 school year draws to a close, it would be an understatement to say that the year did not go as expected. From the hurried transition to online learning to the ongoing adjustment to the “new normal” of synchronous learning, we know that our clients have successfully navigated unprecedented and difficult challenges – and that there will be more to come.

Ontario Enables School Board Employees to Be Redeployed to Congregate Care Settings

On May 8, 2020, the Ontario government filed Ontario Regulation (O. Reg.) 205/20 – Education Sector (Order) made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act which applies to all school boards within the meaning of the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014 in Ontario.

Ontario Legislation Extends Time Limit for Student Expulsions

Bill 189, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Support and Protection Act, 2020 received Royal Assent on April 14, 2020 (Bill 189). Among other things, Bill 189 amends the Education Act (Act) to extend the time limit to expel a student where such an extension is recommended to, and granted by, the Director of Education.

Kindergarten Class Size Caps, Right to Remain Silent During a Board’s Investigation and More…

In our first School Board Update of 2020, we discuss recent decisions of interest which look at kindergarten class size caps, whether a grievor had the right to remain silent during a school board’s investigation and whether a grievor was entitled to accommodation in respect of her commute to work. We also provide links to…