Legislative Update – September 20, 2021

2021 9/20 | Connects Page, Education Policy, Elections, Federal Issues, Ontario Newsroom, Provincial Updates

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario will resume October 4, 2021.

COVID-19 Update / Return to School Fall 2021

As of the morning of September 17, 632 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in publicly funded schools in the past 14 days. Of those cases, 526 are students, 82 are staff, and 24 are not identified. One of the 4,844 schools in the province is currently closed.

On September 13,  Deputy Minister Nancy Naylor issued a memo providing further instructions to school boards regarding rapid antigen testing requirements and information for school boards to support local verification processes for testing. The Ministry of Education requires individuals subject to testing requirements under the COVID-19 immunization disclosure policy to provide verification of negative test results two times per week. The ministry also sent a second memo to boards providing links to a suggested educational video for those employees choosing to not get vaccinated against COVID-19.

On September 14, the government released guidance to support the new vaccine passport (proof of vaccination) system.

Trustee Code of Conduct Consultations 2021

School board and trustee associations have been invited to an October stakeholder consultation regarding Trustee Code of Conduct. This consultation was first announced in June via a Ministry of Education news release, Ontario Supporting 2SLGBTQI+ Students. OPSBA has been corresponding with ADM Didem Proulx and the Leadership, Collaboration and Governance Branch to share and remind ministry staff of our Association’s previous work on a Code of Conduct template and Enforcement Procedure for our member boards, which was last updated in 2019. As part of the Ministry consultation, an online public survey has been posted with a feedback deadline of November 1, 2021. OPSBA’s President, Executive Director and senior staff will be attending the October stakeholder meeting and the Policy Development Work Team will take the lead on a response to the online survey.

Federal Election – Monday, September 20, 2021

The Federal Election is September 20 and OPSBA encourages all members to engage in the democratic process. Information about local polling stations and what you need to vote, can be found at Elections Canada. Voters are to wear masks and bring their own pen or pencil. Party platforms and other election related information is available on our website.

Disability Inclusion Action Plan – Consultation Deadline September 30, 2021

The Government of Canada is consulting Canadians on how to improve the lives of Canadians with disabilities. To provide feedback to support the development of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan, complete the online survey available on the Disability Inclusion Action Plan webpage.  The Disability Inclusion Action Plan will focus on:

  • reducing poverty among Canadians with disabilities
  • getting more persons with disabilities into good quality jobs
  • helping meet the Accessible Canada Act goal of a barrier-free Canada by 2040
  • making it easier for persons with disabilities to access federal programs and services
  • fostering a culture of inclusion

 New – National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: Thursday, September 30, 2021

This day of recognition was created by the federal government through the enactment of Bill C-5 in June to fulfill the 80th call to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which urges the creation of a statutory holiday to “ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” It honours First Nations, Inuit and Métis residential school survivors, their families, and communities, as a vital part in the process of reconciliation. Traditionally, this date has been known as Orange Shirt Day. OPSBA is planning to highlight the work of school boards in commemorating and honouring this day, and will also be making a public statement in the days ahead through the Association’s Indigenous Trustees’ Council.

For information about educator resources, see DM Nancy Naylor’s memo.

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