Welcome to the Niagara OT Local Web Site!

Welcome to the ETFO Niagara Occasional Teachers' Local web site. Occasional teachers have their own bargaining units within ETFO, which means that DSBN has two ETFO Locals: one for occasional teachers (daily and LTO), and one for full-time contract teachers.

Your ETFO Local negotiates your contract, offers support and assistance in any disciplinary or grievance matters, offers professional learning, represents you on committees, provides social events, regularly sends out member updates via e-mail and our e-newsletter, and a myriad of other functions.

Use the Menu on the right-hand side of this page to navigate our web site.

Bill 115 Charter Challenge Remedy

In 2012, the Liberal government of the time had concluded negotiations with OECTA, and then proceeded to pass Bill 115, which required all outstanding teacher bargaining to result in deals that were "substantively identical" to the OECTA deal. This obviously violated a number of Charter rights, which the courts affirmed in 2016. At that time, a decision on the remedy was deferred to allow the parties time to try to negotiate a settlement and go through a mediation process. Ultimately, the decision on remedy was referred back to the trial judge, Justice Lederer. We finally received a remedy decision on February 1, 2022.

The remedy totaled $103.1 million dollars awarded to ETFO, with those funds to be divvied up amongst members according to processes laid out in the remedy document. While $103.1 million is much less than what the government saved by imposing the contracts, Justice Lederer took into account various mitigating factors such as what kind of bargaining results we could have reasonably expected, and what we've achieved in the meantime.  This remedy is essentially to make reparations to us for having our Charter rights trampled.

All remedy information will be coming from ETFO Provincial, and you can find an FAQ and further details here: https://www.etfo.ca/etfo-action/bills/etfo-s-unfair-labour-practice-complaint-against-the-government-of-ontario

Work to Rule Protocol

Work to Rule protocols can be found at https://etfocb.ca
You can also download a PDF with all current WTR protocols here.

(All phases of WTR are cumulative, so for example Phase 2 added additional struck work while Phase 1 remained in effect.)

Please remember that the point of work to rule is to inconvenience management without us having to go out picketing. This is not the time to be giving up prep periods and accepting additional supervision time. Stick to your contract: you are to have the same timetable as the teacher you're replacing.

The point of any withdrawal of services is to increase pressure on the other side by causing inconvenience. Please adhere to our collective agreement and politely decline if asked to give up your prep period or take on additional supervision duties. When you agree to those things you're usually helping to solve a problem for an administrator, which is counterproductive during a work to rule. Just say "I'm sorry, our union is on work to rule and that would also violate my collective agreement." If there's any pushback, tell them to contact President@NiagaraOT.org and then let me know what was said to you.

You can also learn more about bargaining by visiting ETFOCB.ca.
Reporting Contract Violations

We have a number of issues which are perennial contract violations, such as having your prep period taken away or being assigned extra duty.  I've created an online form that lets you easily report these violations to contribute to a data set that will allow us to press for the Board to stop Principals and other staff from violating our contract every single day.

The tool is simple, and can be easily used with a mobile browser.  Simply go to:

  • Select the school from a drop-down list.
  • Check one or more checkboxes to indicate the problem you encountered.
  • Select the date from a pop-up calendar.
  • Optionally enter your e-mail address.  While you're welcome to be anonymous, non-anonymous data has more credibility and allows me to contact you if I need further details.

Don't worry, your e-mail is confidential and for the union's use.  By no means will we be going into meetings saying "Mr. Chalk reported to us that you took away his prep."  What I'll be doing is periodically providing the Board with a list of schools and what's happening at those schools, and seeing if the Board is effective at addressing the issues I bring to them.  If they're not, then I'll have a good amount of data with which to try to assess the impact of things like lost preps (how many days of work are reassigned preps costing us, for instance?) with which I can put together policy grievances.

All that being said, we already have the tool we need to stop our contract from being violated: all you have to do is say No.

If all of us are consistent in saying "I'm sorry, but that would violate my collective agreement." when asked to do things like give up our preps, then the problem will disappear.  If anyone presses you on the issue, tell them to contact your Union President.  Then report to me that you were brave enough to say No, as well as what if anything was said in response.

This tool allows for easier aggregation of data for me; of course, always feel free to call or send an e-mail to president@niagaraot.org

Benefits Switch February 1st, 2017

Benefits switch to ETFO Employee Life and Health Trust (ELHT)

On February 1st, 2017 our Local will be part of the second wave of locals which will be switching from Board-provided benefits (currently Sun Life) into ETFO's provincial Employee Life and Health Trust (ELHT) benefits plan.

This affects anyone currently receiving benefits on an LTO, and it also affects eligibility for LTOs to receive benefits.  Provincially OT Presidents will continue to lobby ETFO to negotiate funding to include daily occasional teachers in the ELHT as well.

The transition timeline for us is as follows:

January 3-13:  OTIP will be mailing welcome packages to eligible members via Canada Post.
January 17-31:  OTIP will send eligible members their enrolment email to their Board email account.
January 17-31:  Benefits cards will be mailed to eligible members.
February 1:  Benefits Plan coverage goes live for eligible Wave Two members
March 3:  Deadline for eligible Wave Two members to complete initial enrolment (31 days from February 1, 2017 transition date).

You can find additional information, FAQs and so on at etfo.ca

How is eligibility different from our current plan?

  • If you are currently covered under another group insurance plan (eg. through a spouse) you will no longer be denied benefits.
  • Eligibility will be based on being in an LTO of 90 consecutive calendar days or longer (currently our eligibility is only if an LTO is known in advance to be at least 40 school days). 
  • If you are in an LTO less than 90 calendar days that extends past the 90 day mark, you will be eligible for benefits retroactive to the first day of your LTO.  So keep your receipts for things like prescription drugs when starting an LTO that's not known up front to last that long, as you may be able to claim them if it's extended.
If you're currently in an LTO, watch for the welcome package to arrive in the mail, and especially watch for the enrolment e-mail to come to your DSBN e-mail accounts.  You have 31 days to complete your benefits enrolment online.  In future, as you qualify for benefits (school boards have to provide employment information to ELHT weekly) you will be notified by ELHT and be sent the appropriate information.

Important Change in SmartFind/SEMS

As per our recent tentative agreement, a change has occurred in how you declare your availability in SmartFind/SEMS.  Previously, you had 12 municipalities in Niagara for which you could specify your availability.  Now, that list of twelve has been reduced to the four "Areas" that the DSBN splits itself into administratively.  What this effectively means is that in order to help prevent unfilled jobs, there's an expectation that everyone be available to at least a moderate geographic area rather than for instance only one municipality.

These four areas are:
Area 1: Fort Erie, Niagara Falls
Area 2: Pelham, Port Colborne, Thorold, Wainfleet, Welland
Area 3: Beamsville, Grimsby, Lincoln, West Lincoln, St. Catharines
Area 4: Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. Catharines

Note: You may also see "1000 - Elementary" instead of the four separate areas.  This is equivalent to having yourself available for all areas.

When you log into SEMS, in the menu bar you'll see Schedule, and in that is Locations.  You can check your current availability settings in there.

If your availability is incorrect or needs adjusting, you can email or call Lisa.Clark@dsbn.org to make changes.  Lisa's extension is 54264, and the SEMS Help Desk extension is 54230.  For a complete list of schools by municipality, click here.