Report of the Secretary-Treasurer to the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, August 24, 2021
Welcome to the 2021 Annual Meeting Governors!
When we met virtually a year ago for the 2020 Annual Meeting, I suspect that few thought that we would have to meet virtually once again for the second Annual Meeting in a row . . . and yet, here we are !
It goes without saying that this past year has been one for the record books in many different ways. At OTF we are proud of what Ontario’s educators have been able to accomplish in the face of adversity, and despite the lack of proper support from the Ontario government, in an effort to keep students engaged, learning and progressing on their educational journeys. And we are proud of our Affiliates – AEFO, ETFO, OECTA, OSSTF – for regularly calling out the government for its ongoing failings to the educators and students of this province: inadequate funding for our schools, health and safety protocols that ignored the advice of health experts, inconsistent and self-serving messaging, and a continuing fixation on online learning that does not work for most students.
During this past year, OTF advocated against the unnecessary imposition of EQAO testing at the secondary level – a pilot test of an online platform, no less – a further unwanted burden on students and teachers during a school year otherwise fraught with unprecedented challenges. And we continued to demand that the Minister cease plans to proceed with the meaningless Math Proficiency Test for teacher candidates.
The following reports reflect the many activities that have kept OTF busy over the past year, and I wish to thank my OTF and Affiliate colleagues for their collective efforts in this regard. We are hoping to reopen the OTF office this fall, and we have already rescheduled our 2020 and 2021 Annual Meeting festivities (President’s Banquet, celebration of OTF Fellows and OTF Special Recognition Award recipients, and Retiring Governors’ Dinner) to the 2022 Winter and Spring Board of Governors’ meetings.
During this Annual Meeting, Governors will hear from Steve McGirr (OTPP Chair) and Gene Lewis (OTPP Director) on how the Plan is currently faring, including the 2021 mid-year financials that were just released. Governors will also consider some OTPP Director re-appointments.
As Governors are aware, the Plan Partners agreed to file the 2021 preliminary valuation for the Plan, and to classify the surplus as a contingency reserve once again. This was a very prudent decision, and the next valuation will not be due now until 2024.
And, although OTF agreed with our Government Partner to relax the 50-day re-employment rule for pensioners for the 2020-2021 school year (within strict parameters), we knew this would not solve the problems that the government had created. There are now thousands of new teacher graduates who are eligible for a Permanent Teaching Certificate, and available to assist in the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, but for the continued imposition (by the Minister) of the ill-conceived Math Proficiency Test.
As the next school year quickly approaches, we certainly hope for a return to in-person learning in a safe and healthy environment, where students and educators alike can focus on educational success.
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