Front Page article in The Standard!

Today's St. Catharines Standard featured a front page article about occasional teachers, featuring our very own Britiny Gentry!

Education Foundation of Niagara

ETFO Niagara Occasional Teachers' Local is a Lifetime Member of, and annually donates to, the Education Foundation of Niagara's Poverty and Emergency Relief Fund. These funds support things like breakfast programs and other areas where students may have need.

Partners for Life

Partners for Life Logo

ETFO Niagara Occasional Teachers is a member of Canadian Blood Services' Partners for Life program. Family and friends are also welcome to participate.

To participate, simply sign your name under our organization in the Partners for Life log book located at reception when you donate blood. Once you have received your blood donor card, you can also register online so that all your donations are automatically linked to ETFO Niagara OTs. Our Partner ID is ETFO008261.

Blood donations directly help patients being treated for cancer, during surgery, or after serious accidents. Each unit of blood donated can save up to three lives!

Donating blood is easy. It takes about an hour of your time (much of it taken up by the screening process and questionnaires), and you get served refreshments when you're done. The staff is very friendly and overall it's a very pleasant experience. More information can be found at

St. Catharines Blood Donor Clinic
395-397 Ontario Street (Henley Plaza, beside Ontario St. exit from QEW)
Mondays 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Tuesdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Wednesdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Thursdays 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Saturdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

For more information, call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283).


While our contract does not give us benefits, it does include $3.64 per day in lieu of benefits (Article 16.01).  Unfortunately, that doesn't buy a whole lot.  If in a good year you teach 100 days, that will give you a monthly budget of $30.33 for benefits, which quite frankly won't even pay half of the monthly fee for a single person to buy a very restricted guaranteed issue benefit plan.

So what are your options?  If you don't have access to benefits through a significant other, you'll have to purchase your own.  There are a few options here:
  • Purchase full benefits
  • Purchase a "guaranteed issue" benefit plan
  • Trillium Drug Program (Ontario government drug coverage)
Purchasing full benefits: A full benefit plan (medical, dental, drugs) is your best option, but there are two main caveats.  First, a full benefit plan can be expensive.  You can expect to pay anywhere from $80-$400 per month depending on your age and whether you need single, couple, or family coverage.  Second, if you have any pre-existing conditions, you'll have to disclose them on a medical questionnaire and coverage for those conditions may be denied.

Guaranteed issue plans: A guaranteed issue plan does not require a medical questionnaire, and your pre-existing conditions will be covered.  Guaranteed issue plans are also relatively inexpensive, starting at about $63 per month for singles.  Unfortunately, guaranteed issue plans offer very low caps on their coverage, such as $500 per year for prescription drugs.  However, if you're relatively healthy, a guaranteed issue plan can give you some supplementary medical coverage at relatively low cost.

Trillium Drug Program: The Trillium drug plan is offered by the Ontario government to people with low incomes and high prescription drug costs.  Depending upon your income, they establish an annual deductible, and once your prescription costs go over that deductible, Trillium kicks in and your prescriptions will only cost $2.00.  You can sign up for the Trillium drug program even if you have another benefit plan; if your plan doesn't cover 100% of your drug costs, you're eligible for Trillium.  Trillium is a very good option for occasional teachers who have regular prescription expenses.

Often forgotten: Travel Health Insurance

If you choose to rely on OHIP and Trillium alone, then you should still purchase a travel health plan.  If you ever leave Canada, even just to cross the border for shopping, then you'd be crazy not to purchase a travel plan.  Travel health insurance is very inexpensive, and if you ever experience any medical needs while outside Canada, it can easily pay for itself thousands of times over.

Unless you're planning a particular trip of a long duration, your best option may be to purchase an annual multi-trip plan.  A plan offering an unlimited annual number of trips up to 15 days in duration will cost you less than a hundred dollars per year for a single person, and less than two hundred for a family.

Where to buy benefits?

Ontario teachers have a unique option available to them for purchasing insurance.  The Ontario Teachers Insurance Plan (OTIP) is governed by a board of trustees with representatives from each of the teacher federations (ETFO/OSSTF/OECTA/EAFO).  Because of this, OTIP offers products exclusively oriented towards teachers, and operates part of its business on a non-profit basis.
OTIP offers a full line of products from health and dental to home and auto insurance.

Counselling Support

If you're in need of counselling support, you can call COAST Niagara 7/24 for help and information at 1-800-263-4944.  The Niagara Health System and Niagara Region Public Health also offer a wide variety of group sessions that can be very helpful.  There is also a list of Niagara resources here.


Collective Agreement 2014-2017

This is your contract. Read it, know it. Keep it with you, and don't be afraid to assert yourself and insist on the working conditions we've negotiated for occasional teachers.

Niagara OT Collective Agreement 2014-17
2017-19 Extension Agreement

Note that our contract for 2014-17 originated in three documents: Collective Agreement 2008-2012, which is modified by the 2014-17 Local Agreement, and the 2014-17 Central Agreement.  If you have a collective agreement question it's probably most efficient to contact with your question.

LTO Pay Grid 
Add 1% on September 1, 2017.
Add 1% on September 1, 2018.
Add 1% on February 1, 2019.
Add 0.5% on August 31, 2019.
Note that if you do not have a QECO rating on file with HR at the beginning of an LTO, then you will be paid at category A1.

Regulation 274/12: Hiring Practices

Regulation 274 Fact-Finders' Report

Provincial OT Evaluation Framework and Template
This is the document, used as is, which governs 4-month or longer LTO evaluations.

Local Constitution
Last amended at the 5/27/14 Local AGM.

Local Policies and Procedures
Last amended at the December 2015 Local Executive meeting.

Local Executive Nomination Form
In an election year, or between elections if there has been a call to fill vacancies, this is the form you use to express interest and to nominate yourself to serve on the Local Executive.

Professional Development Fund Reimbursement Form
You can claim $350 per school year (July 1st to June 30th) towards AQ courses or other PD expenses you incur.

Career Milestones Recognition Program
Complete this form to be honoured at our Annual Meeting when you reach a career milestone.

Pay Schedule

DSBN Memo to Principals re: OT Prep Time

Cool School Award nomination form

Local Committee Application Form

PRS Matters Bulletins - Advice for Members

ETFO Reference Book

Welcome to ETFO book

The Heart and Art of Teaching book

Foundations of Professional Practice
This document sets out the ethical standards and standards of practice for the teaching profession in Ontario.

Hidden Dangers of Electronic Communications
This is a must-read, prepared by ETFO legal counsel.

ETFO Human Rights Statement

Copyright Matters!  A guide to Canadian copyright for teachers.

Working Conditions: Experiences of Elementary and Secondary Teachers in Ontario's Schools

OCT Transition to Teaching study

Daily Occasional Teacher Evaluation Forms

OT Daily Work Record
OT Daily Work Record with sample entries

DSBN MWJHSC Terms of Reference

Poster advertising this web site - please post in staff rooms.
Occasional Teacher wallpaper for your computer.


More to follow... what would you like to see here?

Events and Professional Learning

Receive up to $350 per school year towards Professional Learning!
Download the PL Reimbursement Form
(You can use Foxit PDF Reader to fill in the form.  Please note that cheques are not issued until after the course has been completed.)
$450 Math and Technology Subsidies Available
The Ministry of Education, through the Ontario Teachers Federation, is offering up to $450 in subsidies for teachers taking additional qualification courses in Math and Technology.  Click here for subsidy details.
2015-16 Win an iPad Mini!
When you attend PD workshops as well as our Fall General and Spring Annual meetings in 2015-16, you'll have the opportunity to enter a ballot to win an iPad Mini at our Annual meeting.  The more you attend, the better your chances!

New Office Open House
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Location: ETFO-OT office, 1809 Merrittville Highway Unit B (Petro-Can plaza)
Time: 2pm-6pm

Drop in between 2-6pm and get a tour of our new office!  Refreshments provided, and feel free to socialize with others who are attending.

Deconstructing Aboriginal Stereotypes
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Location: ETFO-OT office, 1809 Merrittville Highway Unit B (Petro-Can plaza)
Time: 4pm-7pm
Please RSVP to

Come join us to learn about deconstructing negative stereotypes and mistaken beliefs about aboriginal people, and how you can use this to challenge racism in your classrooms.

LTO Evaluation Workshop
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Location: ETFO-OT office, 1809 Merrittville Highway Unit B (Petro-Can plaza)
Time: 4pm-7pm (may not go that late)
Please RSVP to

Are you in an LTO of 4 months or longer?   Are you aware that you're supposed to be evaluated?  Come out to the workshop to learn about the LTO Evaluation Provincial Framework (which is not the same as Teacher Performance Appraisal) so that you can be prepared to successfully meet the expectations!

Scrabble for Literacy
Friday, April 29, 2016
Location: Club Roma, 125 Vansickle Road
Time: Doors open 5pm, Dinner 6PM, Games begin 7:30PM
Maximum table size is six (6).  RSVP to

Once again we will be participating in the Scrabble for Literacy event which raises funds for the Niagara Regional Literacy Council.  The Local covers the cost of one table so RSVP quickly to reserve your spot!   

Concussion Workshop
Tuesday, February 2
Location: ETFO-OT office, 1809 Merrittville Highway Unit B (Petro-Can plaza)
Time: 4:30-6:30
Please RSVP to
The focus of this workshop is on recognizing and understanding signs and symptoms of concussion, and exploring evidence-based research to facilitate healing.  Whether you've experienced a concussion yourself or encountered students who are struggling with their effects, this workshop will offer you valuable insights for dealing effectively with this common condition.

ETFO Pop Culture Trivia Night
Proceeds are donated to the Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre
Friday, February 5
Location: Amici's, 2740 Merrittville Highway, Thorold
Time: Doors open at 6pm, Trivia begins at 7pm sharp.
Maximum 10 people at the table.
Please RSVP to

Creating Caring Classrooms
Tuesday, February 23
Location: ETFO-OT office, 1809 Merrittville Highway Unit B (Petro-Can plaza)
Time: 4:00-7:00
Please RSVP to

We will be hosting Creating Caring Classrooms presented by Larry Schwartz through ETFO Provincial.  This workshop will focus on using the Arts to combat bullying in our classrooms.

Duty to Report Workshop
Thursday, December 3rd
Location: OSSTF office, Fonthill
Time: 4:30-6pm
Please RSVP to

Provincial Tentative Agreement Information Session
Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Location: ETFO office, Fonthill
Time: 4:30-6pm
Please RSVP to
Come out to learn the details and have your questions answered!

DSBN Beat the Brainiacs Trivia Night (Event website)
Thursday, November 12th, 2015
Location: Hernder Estate Wines, 1607 Eight Avenue Louth
Time: 6pm Registration, 7pm Start.
Cost of the team table covered by the Local.
Proceeds benefit the Education Foundation of Niagara.
Participation limited to a team of 8.
E-mail to reserve your spot.
Interview Prep Cram Sessions
November 2nd and 3rd, 2015
Time: 4:30-6:00pm
Location: OSSTF Office, Fonthill
Please RSVP to

Local Fall General Meeting
Tuesday, October 27th, 2015
Time: 4:30-7:30 (dinner provided)
Location: Club Capri, 36 Cleveland St, Thorold
Please RSVP to    
Interview Prep Workshops
October 15th, 20th, and 28th, 2015
Time: First session: 4:30-6:00pm
 Second Session: 7:00-8:30pm
Location: OSSTF Office, Fonthill
Please RSVP to
  Interview Prep Overview
October 5th and 6th, 2015
Time: 4:30-6:00pm
Location: OSSTF Office, Fonthill
Please RSVP to
4th Annual Niagara OT Family BBQ
Friday, September 25, 2015
Time: 4:30pm-Dusk
Location: Queenston Heights Pavilion 2 (by splashpad) (Map)
Free food, cotton candy, bouncy castle, and magician!
Please RSVP to

Stay tuned for more PL opportunities and social events!

ETFO also offers several provincial conferences throughout the year.
DSBN workshops (posted in staff rooms) are open to occasional teachers. You can register for them by visiting PD Place.

ETFO Summer Academy OTF PD

Survive and Thrive

ETFO Credit Courses

Download the PL Reimbursement Form
(You can use Foxit PDF Reader to fill in the form.)

PL Inquiries:
Lianne Wyatt


District School Board of Niagara
SmartFindExpress Mobile for iPhone/iPod
DSBN School Calendar
DSBN School List
PD Place
First Class

Niagara Regional Labour Council
Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario
Welcome to ETFO Resource Book (PDF)
ETFO Reference Book (PDF)
ETFO Voice Magazine
Ontario Teachers' Federation
Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan
Ontario Teachers' Insurance Plan

Ontario College of Teachers
QECO (Qualifications Evaluation Council of Ontario)
QECO Program 5 (PDF)

Ministry of Education publications for Teachers

Canadian Human Rights Toolkit
Ontario Educational Resource Bank
Ministry of Education
Ministry Licensed Software
Education Foundation of Niagara - How to use one, and more information
Community Legal Education Ontario
Human Rights Legal Support Centre
Workers' Action Centre
UCS Online Labour Books Catalog
CLC Ontario This Week

St. Catharines Public Library
St. Catharines Museum
Hinterland Who's Who Animal Information Database
Virtual Museum of Canada
National Library of Canada
National Gallery of Canada
Wikipedia Online Encyclopedia - Vocabulary game that feeds the poor
The Earth Charter
Bruce Trail Conservancy
Tree Canada
Pembina Institute
Bullfrog Power
Zero Footprint - micro-lending to third-world countries's Teacher Page
Family Literacy Day Website
Canadian Blood Services - Free office suite (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, etc.)
Mozilla Firefox - Web browser
Tor Anonymous Browsing Software
Truecrypt On-the-fly Hard Drive Encryption
Pidgin Instant Messenger (Google Talk, Yahoo, AIM, MSN, etc.)
Tweetdeck for Twitter
VLC Media Player
7-Zip Archiver for .Zip files
Ubuntu Linux - Free operating system (replaces Windows, can boot from CD)
Edubuntu - Ubuntu Linux customized for educational uses.
Free as in Freedom: Philosophy of the Free Software movement - explains what free, open-source software is all about.

E-mail Groups

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Mark's One-Page Guide to Using Yahoo Groups (PDF)

Subscribing to each of our discussion lists is a simple process:

1. Click on the link to go to each group you want to join.
2. Click on the "Join Group" button at that group's home page.

NOTE: Non-DSBN e-mails only! DSBN e-mail addresses will be removed, as our employer monitors e-mail.

NiagaraOT-Announce: This group is where important notices and information for all occasional teachers is posted.  We ask that everyone please join this list.  To sign up, click here, then click on the "Join Group" button.

NiagaraOT-Postings: This group is where LTO and permanent job posting and placement notices will be posted.  To sign up, click here, then click on the "Join Group" button.

If you have difficulties signing up for the Yahoo groups with the instructions above, send an e-mail to and I'll send you an invite to the groups that should simply require you to click to confirm joining.


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