Legislative Update – November 19, 2018

2018 11/19 | Connects Page, Education Finance, Education Policy, Elections, Provincial Updates

The House is back following a constituency week break and MPPs are scheduled to meet for four more consecutive weeks before breaking for the end-of-year holidays.

2019-2020 Education Funding Engagement Guide

The Ministry of Education has just released details regarding the 2019-2020 Education Funding Engagement Guide. The four areas identified by the ministry for efficiencies are: Efficient Price Setting, Outcomes-Based Funding, Accountability and Value-for-Money, and Other Education Funding Efficiencies. OPSBA will be connecting with member boards for their input and feedback and will work with the Education Program and Policy Development Work Teams on a submission for the Association. The deadline for responses is December 14, 2018.

Ministry invitation for input on 2019-20 education funding

2019-20 Education Funding Guide

Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act

OPSBA sent a brief submission to the government’s labour legislation, Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018. Bill 47 was time allocated earlier in the week and the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs held public hearings in Toronto on November 15. Our submission focuses on the changes to the apprenticeship ratio and our advocacy for skilled trades. The Committee will conduct a clause-by-clause consideration of the bill on November 19, and is to report the bill to the House no later than November 20.

OPSBA submission on Bill 47

Bill 48, Safe and Supportive Classrooms Act

On October 25, Minister of Education Lisa Thompson introduced Bill 48, Safe and Supportive Classrooms Act. The legislation, if passed, would require teachers to pass a math test before getting licensed and would revoke teaching certificates from teachers disciplined by the profession’s regulatory body for committing sexual abuse against a student or child. The Ministry also issued a separate news release Ontario Supporting Students with Special Needs about the section in the proposed legislation concerning service animals. It indicates there will be an opportunity for stakeholders to “provide input on the policy directive that would be issued to boards.” OPSBA will be sending in a submission regarding this legislation and our support for a consistent policy approach across the province. We have surveyed our boards and many have either a policy or procedure in place while others review on a case-by-case basis. The bill is currently at Second Reading Debate and should move to Committee next week.

Bill 56, Keeping Students Safe on School Buses Act

This bill was introduced on November 14 by Liberal education critic Kathleen Wynne. If passed, the legislation would make seat belts mandatory on forward-facing school bus seats by 2020.

Bill 36, Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018 – Regulations

On November 15, the PC government released information about outstanding recreational cannabis regulations that includes banning retail shops within a minimum of 150 metres of schools, which the government says will help protect children. Hours of operation will be from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. The government has set a market concentration limit of 75 stores per operator “to prevent a high degree of market consolidation, promote opportunities for small businesses and promote investment in the cannabis retail sector.” Employees will undergo special training and all private cannabis retail storefronts must be “stand-alone stores only.” In order to get a licence, would-be operators will have to show their taxes are in good standing, and people will be prohibited from participating in the legal market if they have “an association with organized crime.” Retailers can start applying for licences at the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, which oversees and enforces the rules, on December 17, with bricks-and-mortar shops opening for business in April 2019. School boards will be receiving information from the Ministry of Education that includes a mapping of the schools in their jurisdiction. Boards will be asked to confirm school sites and a final map of school locations in Ontario will be shared with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario for their consideration when approving retail licenses. OPSBA continues to recommend school boards contact and communicate with their local municipalities about future retail locations and ultimate recommendations. Potential sites will be marked with a notification and members of the public will have 15 days to provide comment.

Bill 36 received Royal Assent on October 17. OPSBA did participate in a stakeholder consultation meeting regarding the “school buffer” regulation last month.

Here is the government news release regarding this regulation, which has yet to be formally filed. This should occur sometime this week.

OPSBA submission re: Bill 36

Bill 57, Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018

On November 15,  Finance Minister Vic Fedeli delivered the provincial government’s Fall Economic Statement, which outlines the government’s plans for spending and fiscal restraint and is the Tories’ first major financial update. The supporting legislation, Bill 57, was also introduced and includes 45 Schedules – changes or amendments to various Acts. OPSBA will be reviewing the contents of this omnibus legislation. Part of the announcement included the repealing of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007 and transferring the oversight to the Office of the Ombudsman.

A Plan for the People, government news release

OPSBA overview of Bill 57

Don’t Forget: Provincial Education Reform Consultation – OPSBA Consultation Resource and Additional Telephone Town Halls

OPSBA has shared with its members a resource document intended to help individuals and school boards when completing the online submission and/or the online survey and participating in the telephone town hall meetings. The points of information under each topic include evidence-based information and past position statements. The deadline for the consultation process is December 15, 2018.

OPSBA resource document

Additional consultation details can be found at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/for-the-parents.

Other Information

  • Updated overview of OPSBA School Board Election results
  • The PCs will raise the number of seats required for official party status with the new threshold being 10 per cent of the House, or 12 seats out of 124. Current Party Status:
    • Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario – 75
    • New Democratic Party of Ontario – 40
    • Ontario Liberal Party – 7
    • Green Party of Ontario – 1
    • Independent – 1​