2014 Fall General Meeting

Local Fall General Meeting
Monday, December 1st, 2014
Time: 4:30-7:30 (dinner provided)
Location: Club Capri, 36 Cleveland St, Thorold
Please RSVP to kim@niagaraot.org    

ETFO 2014 Collective Bargaining Website


ETFO's 2014 CB website has officially launched at http://www.etfocb.ca  Be sure to visit for updates and answers to your collective bargaining questions.

Interview Prep Workshops

Interview Prep Workshops
October 21st, 2014
November 4th, 2014
November 7th, 2014
Time: 4:30-6:30pm
Location: ETFO Office, Fonthill (Map)

New date added:
October 28th, 2014
Time: 4:30-6:30pm
Location: Education Centre, St. Catharines room

Please RSVP to tracy@niagaraot.org

2014 Municipal Elections

The 2014 municipal elections will be held on October 27th.  With over 180 candidates across Niagara, the Local decided that making our own endorsements wasn't something we had the time or resources to do.  However, the Niagara Regional Labour Council sent out surveys to all candidates and has made endorsements based on the responses received.

NRLC Municipal election endorsements

Interview/Resume and Portfolio Workshops

Interview and Resume Workshop
Monday October 6th 2014
Time: 4:30-6:30pm
Location: DSBN Education Centre, St. Catharines Room (3rd floor)

To attend, please RSVP to arlie@niagaraot.org.

Interested in getting on the LTO List when it opens again?  This is the workshop for you!  Presented by two recently retired DSBN Principals, this is a hands-on workshop to help you tweak your resume and fine-tune your interview skills.

Portfolio Show and Share Workshop
Wednesday October 8th 2014
Time: 4:30-6:30pm
Location: ETFO Office, Fonthill
No RSVP needed.
Bring what you've got and your questions to share and learn with your colleagues. 
This will be a facilitated session to help us succeed together.

Annual Queenston BBQ

3rd Annual Niagara OT Family BBQ
Friday, September 26, 2014
Time: 4:30pm-Dusk
Location: Queenston Heights Pavilion 2 (by splashpad) (Map)
Free food, bouncy castle, and magician!
Please RSVP to Lianne@NiagaraOT.org

2014 Collective Bargaining Survey

In order to negotiate the best agreement for our members your Collective Bargaining Committee needs your help!  Your union is a democratic member-driven organization, and your opinions matter.

It is important that all our members complete the survey so we can utilize your input in developing preliminary submission language for our next round of negotiations. All questions are optional. However, to best serve you we would appreciate if you could answer all the questions to the best of your knowledge or choose the options that are the closest to your personal situation. All answers and information you provide are strictly confidential.  You can access our current Collective Agreement at contract.niagaraot.org if you'd like to refer to it as you complete the survey.

This round of bargaining is a bit different than previous years. We've had two rounds of bargaining now where local bargaining was severely curtailed by events at the provincial level (such as Bill 115 last year). However, we now have Bill 122, the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act (SBCBA). SBCBA promises two tiers of independent bargaining... provincial and local. So theoretically we'll have a better opportunity to focus on items identified by the members in this round. It also means that a number of key issues such as compensation and hiring related to Regulation 274 will be dealt with at the provincial table.  While this CB survey tries to focus on bargaining at the Local level, rest assured that we will be working hard within ETFO to ensure that your interests are well-represented when it comes to central bargaining items as well.

All that being said, we have two past preliminary submissions to draw upon, and we don't know yet what the central bargaining issues will be. So our CB survey this time around is shorter and more focused on drawing on your experiences in the classroom and more generally as an employee of DSBN.

2014 Local Annual General Meeting

The 2014 Local AGM will be held on May 27th at Club Capri.  Our guest speaker will be ETFO Vice-President James McCormack, who will be speaking about Reg 274 and Bill 122.  We also have a number of constitutional amendments proposed, and they are published for your review here: Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Time: 4:30-7:30pm
Location: Club Capri, 36 Cleveland St, Thorold
Free meal, updates from the President, budget year-to-date status, guest speakers.
And of course, door prizes!  (Including a year-end Grand Prize!)
Please RSVP to president@niagaraot.org (also indicate dietary restrictions and if you've reached a career milestone [5, 10, 15, 20 years or have begun collecting OTPP])
Local AGM Flyer

Why should you attend?
  • To make sure the people who speak for you get to hear your concerns.
  • To get correct answers to questions, rather than the dubious answers provided by the grapevine.
  • To understand the issues so we can work together to make a difference.
  • To become involved, a little or a lot.  Changes are happening that will affect you and your career.  It's in your best interest, personally and professionally, to know what's going on.
  • It's your union.  We're a democratic, member-driven organization.  Your opinion matters.

Fruit Tree Trail Project

Our Local has joined with Greening Niagara and other community partners in a project called the Fruit Tree Trail--Niagara's first urban food forest project. It will take a few years to complete, and will span the entire Green Belt of the Niagara region where fruit trees will be planted and their fruit harvested to be donated to local food banks.

We participated in tree-planting on April 26th, and planted native fruit-bearing species such as gooseberry, raspberry, blackbery, currant, hickory, pawpaw, and others.

There's more work to do, though!  There will be another planting session on May 3rd at the same location (bring a shovel if you have one), and Greening Niagara plants trees frequently enough that you can plant trees pretty much any time you want.

When: Saturday, May 3rd, 10am-12:15pm
Where:  The project is along Dick’s Creek, a tributary of the 12 Mile Creek system.
Take Oakdale Ave ST CATHARINES to Disher St.  Turn right on Disher, then turn right onto Moffat and park at end of the street. Dick's Creek info (Search "Disher St" on Google Maps and it's clear where it is).

April 28th Day of Mourning

April 28th is the National Day of Mourning for workers who have been killed, injured, or made ill on the job.

There are a variety of ceremonies in Niagara to mark the day listed on this poster.  For further information, contact Bruce Allen at 905-934-6233.

Health and Safety

When in doubt, contact the Local President.  Remember, if you don't report, it didn't happen! 

All the appropriate forms are linked on this page under "How to Report".  Call your union if you need help with the paperwork, the Local President is always available to help you out.

There are three main categories of health and safety items you'd report:


An Incident is an injury to an employee that does not require medical attention beyond First Aid, and that does not result in time lost from work.

An Accident is an injury to an employee that requires medical attention and may have resulted in time lost from work.


Workplace Violence is defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) as the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker.  This can include physical force, as well as threats to exercise physical force.  Violence and harassment under the OHSA includes all sources in the workplace (students, parents, members of the public, and colleagues).


Workplace Harassment is defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.

In any case where you've been injured or are reporting something related to health and safety, please notify the Local President as otherwise we probably won't know about it.  We can also provide advice and guidance on many situations.

The forms below should be available in the office of any school, and any reports should be submitted to the Principal as soon as possible.  Always keep copies for yourself.

Incidents and Accidents are covered under Administrative Procedure 5-02 and reported using the forms from Appendix A1 and A2.

Violent Incidents are covered under Administrative Procedure 5-27 and reported using the forms from Appendix D.

If a student is involved in a violent incident, then the Safe Schools Incident Reporting Form (AP3-26 App M Part 1) must also be completed.

Workplace Harassment is covered under Administrative Procedure 5-26 and reported using the forms from Appendix A and B.  In cases of workplace harassment, please contact the Local President for guidance.

WSIB Forms

If you have been injured at work and either lost time from work or sought medical attention, you will also need to fill out a WSIB Form 6.  If this form is not provided to you by the school or DSBN, you can download it here and mail it in to WSIB.

Even if you don't feel you were badly injured, please submit all the requisite paperwork!  If an injury turns out to be worse than you thought it was (which may not be apparent for months, or even years) you want to have created a record so that you're eligible for any coverage you may need.  Creating records of injuries also helps us track what injuries are occurring in our workplace so that we can work towards preventing similar injuries in the future.  Workplace insurance is no-fault.

There are three main forms for WSIB:
Form 6 - Filled out by the worker.
Form 7 - Filled out by the employer.
Form 8 - Filled out by a doctor/medical practitioner.
Note that only page 2 of Form 8 is submitted to the employer.

You are required to give a copy of Form 6 to the employer, and likewise the employer is required to give you a copy of the Form 7 that they submitted.  Your health professional should give you a copy of Form 8.

Note that Form 6 inquires if you're a member of a union, and has a checkbox to authorize the union to represent you regarding any WSIB claim arising from the injury, as well as to disclose verbal claim status information to the union.  Please check these boxes, as it will simplify things for us if you need representation with WSIB.  Your union name and local is "ETFO Niagara Occasional Teachers".

Additional Health and Safety Resources

ETFO Provincial H&S Site

WHSC Resources for Workers

OHCOW Helpful Resources

DSBN H&S Training

In the Staff Portal, go to Resources, then under the Training column choose Health and Safety Training

Sam Hammond on the Passage of Bill 122

Here's a link to the final version of the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act that received Royal Assent today: PDF

ETFO is pleased with the bill, as the vast majority of amendments which ETFO proposed were incorporated into the final version.  It's expected that this will be a big step forward for bargaining, as the informal central bargaining that began in 2004 and continued in 2008 and 2012 has not been in the best interests of members.  Now that we won't be operating in a landscape of unwritten rules, bargaining should be much more effective.  That being said, a new operating framework is undiscovered country... there'll probably be hiccups along the way, but hopefully none of the surprises of the past two bargaining rounds.

Niagara OT Local endorses NDP candidate in Niagara Falls byelection

The ETFO Niagara Occasional Teachers' Local has endorsed the NDP candidate, Wayne Gates, in the byelection for the Niagara Falls riding which will take place on February 13th.

Update: Wayne Gates has been elected as the Niagara Falls MPP!

The Niagara Falls riding includes Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, and Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Wayne's web site is at http://waynegates.com/

Campaign office contact information:

Niagara Falls:
3770 Montrose Road, Unit 1A

Fort Erie:
401-B Garrison Road

358 Mary St., Unit 4

Twitter: @Wayne_Gates
Facebook: Wayne_Gates

If you can take a lawn sign, contribute financially, or volunteer for the campaign it would be much appreciated.  Remember, though, the most important thing to do is make sure you and every like-minded person you know gets out to vote on February 13th!