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).


If you're on an LTO of 90 calendar days or longer, you can find information on the ETFO Employee Life and Health Trust benefits plan at this site.

While our contract does not give us benefits for daily OTs (if you're in an LTO, look here), it does include $4.55 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 $37.92 for benefits, which quite frankly won't even pay 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.

OTs also have access to the DSBN's Employee and Family Assistance Plan (EFAP).  The EFAP is operated by a third party and your interactions with them are entirely confidential.  The provider for EFAP is Shepell.
Some of the things offered by EFAP:
- Short-term professional counselling through a variety options to best suit your comfort level and lifestyle: in-person, telephone, e-counselling; video counselling, or online.
- Range of professional consultation support services such as Legal, Financial, Child/Elder Care supports.
- - Access to 700+ health and wellness expert articles and EFAP program information on services.
- My EAP mobile application provides on-the-go support with a timely selection of articles, videos and direct access to e-counselling. Download today at

Access to the EFAP is available 24/7/365 - by telephone or online:
Call the Shepell Care Access Centre toll free at 1 800 387-4765
Via for: ‘Online Access’ to request services; Access ‘First Chat’ to type/text a real-time conversation with a counsellor; or request ‘E-Counselling’ to exchange written messages online with a counsellor.


Collective Agreement 2019-2022

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 2019-22

If you have a collective agreement question it's probably most efficient to contact with your question. The collective agreement is split into two parts: Part A is the Central agreement that is common across the province. Part B, which starts on page 46, is our Local agreement which is DSBN specific.

LTO Pay Grid 
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. As soon as you begin work with DSBN you should apply for a QECO rating and submit it to HR.

DSBN Interim Hiring Guidelines 2021

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.  An evaluation is only required in the first LTO of 4 months or longer.  PRS Matters re: LTO Evaluations
Note that now that Reg 274 is no longer in effect, neither is the LTO Evaluation (which was part of Reg 274).

Professional Development Fund Reimbursement Form
You can claim $300 per school year (July 1st to June 30th) towards AQ courses or other PD expenses you incur.

Local Constitution
Last amended at the 5/29/18 Local AGM.

Local Policies and Procedures
Last amended at the December 2019 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.

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

Pay Schedule

Letter stating definition of Professional Reference
This is a letter you can give to any teacher who is uncertain whether they're allowed to provide you with a reference letter.  It provides the definition of Professional Reference agreed to by both DSBN and the Local.

DSBN Memo to Principals re: OT Prep Time

Shortchanging Ontario Students: An overview and assessment of education funding in Ontario

It's Elementary: A History of ETFO

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 $300 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.)
Win an Android Tablet!
When you attend PD workshops as well as our Fall General and Spring Annual meetings, you'll have the opportunity to enter a ballot to win an Android tablet at our Annual meeting.  The more you attend, the better your chances!

Win a Free AQ Course!
Attendees at our Local Annual General Meeting will have the opportunity to win a fully subsidized AQ course.  You have to be present at the meeting to win!

Watch your e-mail and the eNewsletter for 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
DSBN School Calendar
DSBN School List
PD Place

Niagara Regional Labour Council
Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario
Welcome to ETFO Resource Book (PDF)
ETFO PRS Matters Bulletins
ETFO ELHT (Benefits)
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
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
VLC Media Player
7-Zip Archiver for .Zip files
Linux Mint - Free operating system (replaces Windows)
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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The above form signs you up for our MailChimp mailing list, which lets us make nicely formatted newsletters.

Please ALSO sign up for our mailing list we use for announcements:

Subscribe to our E-mail Announcements

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.

If you have difficulties signing up 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.

ETFO Provincial Newsletter Signups

Facebook Presence

We've created a private Facebook group for members to share ideas, discuss teaching, and so forth.  Although it's a private group please assume it's not and consider it a professional forum.

While the contents of this group will be up to all of you, I'll be keeping tabs on it in case anyone asks questions that I can answer.

The Niagara Occasional Teachers Facebook group is here:

We also have a public Facebook Page here:


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If you are not ALSO subscribed to our NiagaraOT-Announce e-mail announcement list, please do so via the sign-up box on our e-mail groups page.

October 2023 e-Newsletter
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October 2020 e-Newsletter
September 2020 e-Newsletter
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December 2019 e-Newsletter
September 2019 e-Newsletter
June 2019 e-Newsletter
Important Information Re: Regulation 274
March 2019 e-Newsletter
January 2019 e-Newsletter
December 2018 e-Newsletter
October 2018 e-Newsletter
September 2018 e-Newsletter
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December 2017 e-Newsletter
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September 2016 e-Newsletter
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December 2015 e-Newsletter
November 2015 e-Newsletter - Bargaining Special Edition
September 2015 e-Newsletter
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May 2015 e-Newsletter - Plain English Strike Edition
April 2015 e-Newsletter
March 2015 e-Newsletter
Fall 2013 Newsletter (colour) (printer-friendly greyscale)
April 2013 Newsletter
March 2012 Newsletter
September 2011 Newsletter - CENSORED
May 2011 Newsletter
March 2011 Newsletter
December 2010 Newsletter
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Spring (April) 2009 Newsletter
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Fall (September) 2008 Newsletter
April 2008
January 2008
November 2007
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Winter 2007
Fall 2007
Spring 2006
Winter 2006
Fall 2005
Spring 2005

Contact Info

Executive Members

President: Mark Carter (
Vice-President: Lianne Wyatt (
Treasurer: Tracy DiCostanzo
Secretary: Lori Synes-Taraba (
Natalie Vieno (
Lisa Scachtschneider (
Kate Hunter (

Additional Contact Information

Office address:
1809 Merrittville Highway, Unit B
Fonthill, Ontario L0S 1E6

The ETFO-OT office is located in the Petro-Canada plaza at the corner of Highway 20 and Merrittville Highway.  If you're coming from the 406, turn left at Merrittville Highway, then enter the plaza and follow the laneway around the gas station to the other side of the plaza.  There's lots of parking on either side of the plaza.

Google Maps

Emergency legal assistance: 1-888-838-3836
Office: (905) 892-0270
Fax: (905) 892-3309
DSBN Courier: ETFO Occasionals

Legal Assistance for Members

The Federation provides legal assistance to defend members against allegations that are related to the member's teaching duties or employment responsibilities.

If you are contacted by the police, Ontario College of Teachers, or Children's Aid Society (CAS) regarding an allegation against you:

- Do not participate in or consent to an interview.
- Make no statement to anyone regarding the allegation/charges.
- Say "I am willing to cooperate but I am unable to comment until I contact the Federation and legal counsel."
- Call ETFO professional relations staff at 1-888-838-3836 or 416-962-3836 and state that your call is urgent.

Counselling Support

If you are in need of immediate support or help finding resources, you can call the COAST Niagara 7/24 crisis line 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.  You can also call Access Line Niagara at 1-866-550-5205 for referral to community mental health and addictions resources/services.