Good Governance for School Boards

Trustee Professional Development Program

Module 14 — School Boards and Human Resources

Last updated in September 2019

Videos developed in 2014

School Boards and Human Resources
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Module 14 is composed of 4 videos (Part A, B, C and D) in which trustees will explore:

  • The employment function of the school board
  • Employment law in the education context
  • Labour relations and collective bargaining
  • The board's role in health and safety

Note: The information provided below is based on a single point in time and may not reflect the current labour relations landscape. For the most up to date central agreement language, please visit the ministry’s Education Labour Updates webpage.

Before reviewing Part A, please note:

  • O. Reg. 274/12 (Hiring Practices) was amended. Sector differences, based on central agreements, are as follows:
    • The French Public and French Catholic (ACEPO) sectors are exempted from the regulation, but its content is captured in their collective agreement
    • English Catholic sector bargained the regulation into the OECTA collective agreement
    • No amendments to O. Reg. 274/12 arose for members belonging to OSSTF
    • For members of ETFO, the amended regulation allows for greater teacher mobility
  • As part of the 2014-17 agreements on central terms, all parties agreed to the transformation and streamlining of health, life and dental benefit plans in Ontario’s education sector through the creation of 6 Employee Life and Health Trusts (ELHTs):
    • Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) ELHT
    • Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) ELHT
    • Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) ELHT
    • Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontarien Fiducie de soins de santé au bénéfice des membres (AEFO FSSBM)
    • Canadian Union of Public Employees Education Workers’ Benefits Trust (CUPE EWBT)
    • Ontario Non-union Education Trust (ONE-T)
  • Between November 2016 to June 1, 2018, 220,000 education-sector employees transitioned from school board benefits plans to the ELHTs and started receiving benefits.
  • The ELHTs are governed by Boards of Trustees composed of employer, Crown, and union representatives. The majority of trustees are union appointees.
  • Benefits that are provided by ELHTs: Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, Dental, Extended Health. Benefits excluded by ELHTs: Long Term Disability and Employee Assistance Program.
  • ELHTs are funded by school boards by flow through funding, provided by the government. School boards no longer hold the responsibility for plan design or implementation, which now rests with the Trusts.
  • Trust Agreements establish the terms and conditions for the EHLTs and administration of benefits.

Before reviewing Part B, please note:

  • The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (“Bill 148”) received Royal Assent on November 27, 2017, and amended the Employment Standards Act, Labour Relations Act, and Occupational Health and Safety Act. A number of the amendments introduced by Bill 148 were subsequently repealed by the Making Ontario Open For Business Act, 2018 (“Bill 47”).
  • Bill 148 increased the general minimum wage from $11.60 to $14 per hour which took effect January 1, 2018. Further increases tied to inflation will begin in 2020.
  • Currently, teachers are exempt from some of the standards set out in the Employment Standards Act, including minimum wage, vacation and personal emergency leave.
  • Some unionized education workers will be affected by amended provisions related to minimum wage, vacation with pay and personal emergency leave if their collective agreements do not provide superior provisions. For those employees without superior provisions, Bill 47 provides:
    • Sick leave: three unpaid days for personal illness, injury, or medical emergency
    • Family responsibility leave: three unpaid days for illness, injury, medical emergency, or urgent matters relating to a parent, grandparent, child, spouse, sibling, or dependent relative of the employee
    • Bereavement leave: two unpaid days for the death of a parent, grandparent, child, spouse, sibling or dependent relative

Before reviewing Part C, please note:

  • In 2017, following consultations with education sector stakeholders, the government passed several notable amendments to the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act. These changes include:
    • Requiring an additional five (5) days’ notice in advance of any change to a strike or lock-out that would result in complete withdrawal of services at a school or close a school
    • Mandatory participation of all education worker unions in central bargaining
    • Clarifying the status of newly established bargaining units during the term of an agreement
    • Clarifying the role of the Crown and employer bargaining agents by allowing them to request information from local units and district school boards, as well as assisting in local negotiations
    • Requiring trustees’ associations to report all labour relations expenditures and the salaries of their labour relations employees whose salary is greater than $100K
    • Permitting extensions to collective agreements by agreement of the central parties and the Crown
    • Granting the Crown, in addition to the trustees’ associations, the school boards, and the unions/federations, the ability to file complaints with the Ontario Labour Relations Board in the event of a dispute with respect to central and local terms
    • Continuing the Education Relations Commission as an entity that can advise the government when a labour disruption jeopardizes the school year
    • Employee bargaining agencies, which represent education workers in central bargaining, have undergone compositional changes since 2014 and are subject to change in the future. A Minister’s Regulation formally establishing bargaining agencies to represent education workers in central bargaining is required to be filed prior to each round of bargaining

Before reviewing Part D, please note:

  • Coming out of the central collective agreement bargaining, committees were established among the Crown, the unions/federations/associations and the employer bargaining agent(s). One of these committees was The Provincial Working Group on Health and Safety (PWGHS). This committee released The Road Map to Reporting Workplace Violence in Ontario School Boards. This document serves as a tool providing school boards with clarity on reporting requirements, legislation, policy, procedures, guidelines, reports, data and other sources of information for incidents of workplace violence within schools.

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