President's message week 29

In this weeks update: 1. World Education Support Personnel Day May 16th (We did not forget!!) 2. Worker Income Protection Benefit

World Education Support Personnel Day May 16th Formally Support Staff Appreciation Day

In 1999, OSSTF/FEESO created Support Staff Appreciation Day to celebrate the valuable contributions of education workers and acknowledge their important roles within publicly funded education in Ontario at all levels. Through a motion from the Provincial Executive to Provincial Council, OSSTF/FEESO made the decision in 2020 to immediately end our recognition of the OSSTF/FEESO Support Staff Appreciation Day and begin celebrating World Education Support Personnel (ESP) Day on May 16. Similar to World Teacher’s Day, World Education Support Personnel (ESP) Day was launched in connection with Education International’s (EI) first-ever ESP Conference in 2018. This is a day to recognize the extraordinary contribution education workers make to our schools and our union. In addition, OSSTF/FEESO celebrates the work of education workers across the globe, emphasizing their role to ensure the delivery of high quality education, and to shine a light on the challenges that education workers face in their workplaces. For more information on World Education Support Personnel Day, please visit:

Worker Income Protection Benefit

On April 29, 2021, the Ontario Government amended the Employment Standards Act, 2000 to require employers to provide employees with up to three (3) days of paid leave for reasons related to COVID-19. Paid leave is available for certain reasons related to COVID-19, including:

  • going for a COVID-19 test;

  • staying home awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test;

  • being sick with COVID-19;

  • going to get vaccinated for COVID-19;

  • experiencing a side effect from a COVID-19 vaccination;

  • having been advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19 by an employer, medical practitioner, or other authority;

  • taking care of a dependent who is:

  • sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19;

  • self-isolating due to COVID-19.

The legislation states employers are required to pay employees up to a maximum of $200 a day (or your daily rate, whichever is less) for up to three (3) days. The three (3) days do not need to be taken consecutively. The days taken are to be considered full days, as identified in the legislation. The three (3) days of paid leave are only available to employees who:

  • are covered by the Employment Standards Act (ESA) (independent contractors or federally regulated employees would not qualify for these days);

  • do not already receive paid sick time through their employer;

  • between April 19, 2021, and April 29, 2021, took an unpaid leave, the employee may elect to be paid for that leave, only if the employee advises the employer in writing by May 13, 2021, that the employee has elected to take the leave as paid leave.

Employers cannot require an employee to provide a certificate from a doctor or nurse as evidence. Here are some of the scenarios that we believe members will be eligible for this particular paid leave:

  • any member that does not have access to a sick leave plan,

  • temporary/occasional members who have been scheduled to work in advance (and do not have access to sick days).

Upper Grand Employee Assistance Program

If you are finding yourself or a family member or a colleague is needing additional support or resources please refer to the board's employee and family assistance program. This service is free and confidential. The board is not given the names of members who are using the service. It has been a challenging year with COVID and many of us are dealing with other challenges unrelated to COVID. This resource may be of help to members who need it.

Access the Upper Grand District School Board’s Employee & Family Assistance Program 24/7 by phone, web or mobile app 1-800-387-4765 |

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