Collective Bargaining Survey

We are conducting a survey of our members regarding collective bargaining needs and priorities.  It's essential that we have your participation in this (which is completely confidential) so that we can effectively represent you in bargaining your next contract.

Your existing collective agreement expires on August 31, 2012.  In order to be prepared for the upcoming round of bargaining, we need as many ETFO Niagara Occasional Teachers as possible to respond to our collective bargaining survey.

Participation is easy, just click here!  It's all online, and should only take 10 minutes.

Collective Bargaining Planning Sessions

On November 24 and December 12th, we're holding collective bargaining information and planning sessions. These will be working sessions where we'll be going through the collective agreement and our previous preliminary submission, and determining what positions we'll be taking in bargaining (what we'll be asking for).

All occasional teachers welcome... bring paper, a copy of your collective agreement, and be prepared to offer up some opinions! Full details in our Professional Learning section.

It's October, and Ve Vant Your Blood!

It's October, which marks the start of our annual Halloween Blood Drive!
ETFO Niagara Occasional Teachers are a member of Canadian Blood Services' Partners for Life program. When you donate blood, simply tell the person at reception that you're a member of ETFO Niagara Occasional Teachers, and your donation will be added to our total; subsequent donations should automatically be attributed to us.

Once you've received your donor card (or if you already have one), you can register online to make sure future donations will be credited to ETFO Niagara OTs. Our partner ID is ETFO008261.

Donating blood is easy, the clinics have convenient hours, and each donation can save up to three lives.

ETFO Niagara OTs have specified a goal of 50 blood donations this year. With nearly 600 of us, we should be able to reach this goal easily! So go donate some blood, and encourage other OTs to do the same! Bring your friends and family!

While you're at it, why not register for the bone marrow and stem cell donor registry?

Provincial Election on October 6, 2011!

Ontario's provincial election is on October 6th, 2011.  You can visit ETFO's provincial election home page to find ETFO's election documents, and read ETFO's Building Better Schools education platform.  ETFO also has a document available comparing the Track Record of each of the parties on education issues when they were in government.

As far as who to vote for, it's as easy as ABC - Anyone But Conservative (also, visit  The last Conservative governments we had in Ontario were not teacher-friendly at all.  Teachers ended up walking picket lines for two weeks in 1997, the government introduced the Ontario Teacher Qualifying Test (since replaced by NTIP), and introduced teacher re-certification that required teachers to complete a number of professional learning courses every five years to maintain their teaching certification.  Education funding was also cut resulting in fewer specialist teachers in schools and larger class sizes.  Slashed budgets combined with tax cuts (decreasing government revenue) left little room for education.  Meanwhile, the Conservatives took money out of the classroom by funneling it into the EQAO (Education Quality and Accountability Office) and LNS (Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat) standardized testing regimes.  Private school tax credits were also introduced, taking more money out of public schools.

Tim Hudak (the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives) was a Cabinet Minister during those previous Conservative governments under Premier Mike Harris.  Ideas for things such as merit pay for teachers (likely based on standardized testing scores as is done in the U.S.) have already been floated, and you should not expect a Hudak government to be good for teachers or students.

Refuse to Vote Against Kids

Ontario NDP election platform

Federal Election May 2nd

NDP Breakthrough!  103 elected MPs, and second place in over 100 other ridings!  The NDP is now the Official Opposition!

On May 2nd, we have a federal election.  Just as with the upcoming provincial election, the ABC (Anyone But Conservative) recommendation applies.  Below are some election resources:

Niagara Regional Labour Council's election web site:

Canadian Labour Congress's election page:

Canadian Health Coalition:

NDP platform:


New Study on OTs and Professional Learning

As many of you no doubt remember, Dr. Katina Pollock was a presenter at our 2010 Local AGM.  At the time you were all encouraged to participate in her survey studying occasional teachers' access to professional learning, and many of you did.

Dr. Pollock's final report has now been released, and can be found here (PDF).

The report examines access to professional learning, motivations for professional learning, challenges to access, and so forth.  Respondents are taken as a whole (general population of OTs) as well as split into categories: Retirees, New Entrants, Career OTs, Internationally Educated Teachers (Western and non-Western education), and teachers of the North.

Many of the report's findings may seem obvious to us as occasional teachers (after all, it's our experiences the report draws on), but the facts are that most people in education, whose experiences have been entirely based on full-time contract employment (or very short stints as OTs prior to getting a contract), have a very poor understanding of occasional teaching.  My personal hope is that this report will add to a growing body of work showing that occasional teachers have unique and different needs from their full-time counterparts, as well as a different set of skills and knowledge which define occasional teaching as a specialized niche within the teaching profession.