President's message Week 31

In this weeks update: 1. Staffing 2. Equity Advisory Work Group 3. Black Persons and Persons of Colour Advisory Work Group

Staffing

As vaccinations begin to ramp up this month, it feels like we are beginning to see a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel; however, there continues to be a large amount of uncertainty regarding how the end of the year will unfold and what the fall will look like. Planning for next year will be impacted by the release of the GSNs (Grants for Student Needs). The GSNs contains the funding for staffing, specifically, the number of Educational Assistants Boards will be able to maintain. Certain staffing is based directly on student enrollment; EA staffing is not. Despite the government’s claim of putting $2 billion into the education system, the reality is that education funding has basically flat-lined and will not be able to keep up with inflation and projected enrollment growth. The increase in the GSN this year is only 0.15%, without taking into account inflation and enrollment growth. Inflation alone will create a deficit situation. This means that Education Worker bargaining units will see pressure on staffing levels. This decline in funding is set to continue for the next three years according to the projections released in the spring budget. The Ford Government has decided to starve public education. Over the next few years, should the Ford Government remain in power, Education Worker units should expect to see declines in staffing; possibly even with an enrollment increase. It will important that we maintain our staffing level based on the job security in the Central Agreement. While the government has stated that they will maintain the Covid funding from this school year into next year, in reality, they have told school boards to only plan on spending the first half. There will be a determination in the future on whether or not this funding will be in place for the second semester for 2021-2022 based on the state of the pandemic. UGDSB has indicated it will not be using a hybrid model. The Board will continue with a separate virtual school in the fall, asking elementary families to register by June 3, 2021. The Ministry has already directed Boards to ensure that they continue to have some kind of online option for students; however, they have also made it clear that there will be no increased funding to support this option. We begin the staffing process with the board early in June for in-school staffing. At this time there has been no discussion with the Board regarding staffing remote school. This will depend entirely on enrolment. It is important to note, that because you may be in remote school now that doesn't imply that you will be assigned to remote school in the fall. Please be patient as we work through this process.

Equity Advisory Work Group Call for Members 2021


The Equity Advisory Work Group is a permanent advisory body to the Provincial Executive as well as the Equity Officer on reducing barriers to member participation and fostering equity and inclusion within OSSTF/FEESO.


The Provincial Executive is seeking five Members-at-Large to serve on this workgroup on a three-year term.


The workgroup expects to meet approximately four to five times per year. While time release and travel costs for all meetings are paid for by the Provincial Office, applicants should verify that they will be able to secure time-release through their bargaining unit by contacting their local president. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all meetings will take place in a virtual setting until further notice.


Interested applicants are asked to visit https://wp.me/pbo1Y4-1by to complete the application form indicating their suitability and outlining specifically their demonstrated experience working with equity issues, either personally or with members of equity-seeking groups. OSSTF/FEESO values the participation of members with different voices from lived experiences. We recognize that the selection of candidates for Federation positions from members of equity-seeking groups is an asset. While self-identification of membership in equity-seeking group(s) is voluntary, applicants are encouraged to identify the equity-seeking group(s) they are members of. If you choose to self-identify, please let us know any that apply to you:


• First Nations, Métis, Inuit (FNMI)

• woman

• person belonging to Black communities

• racialized person

• LGBTQ2SI

• person with a disability

• francophone

Application forms should be submitted no later than 4:00 p.m. on June 4, 2021.

Black Persons and Persons of Colour Advisory Work Group

The Black Persons and Persons of Colour Advisory Work Group is an advisory body to the Provincial Executive to assist the Federation in its work on reducing barriers to member participation and fostering equity and inclusion within OSSTF/FEESO. The Provincial Executive is seeking three Members-at-Large to serve on this workgroup on a three-year term. The workgroup expects to meet approximately four to five times per year. Provincial Office covers all costs associated with attending meetings, including time-release from work and other expenses. Applicants will need to verify that they can secure time-release through their bargaining unit by contacting their local president. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic safety precautions, all meetings will take place in a virtual setting until further notice. Interested applicants are asked to visit https://wp.me/pbo1Y4-1cg to submit their letter of interest as part of their application form. OSSTF/FEESO values the participation of members with different voices from lived experiences. Application forms should be submitted no later than 4:00 p.m. on Monday, June 7, 2021

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 | www.workhealthlife.com

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