By virtue of the Education Act, all teachers in publicly funded schools belong to one of the four federations, all of which are OTF Affiliates. All teachers who teach in a francophone school board, Catholic or public, are members of AEFO. Teachers in English Catholic boards are OECTA members. Elementary teachers in English public boards are ETFO members and English public secondary teachers belong to OSSTF. Teachers may be members of more than one Affiliate; for example, if they teach occasionally in different systems or panels. Some Affiliates have only teacher members while others include educational support staff.
While each Affiliate offers a wide and slightly different range of services to its members, they are all recognized as unions and charged with representing members in their employment relationship with school boards—individually and, through negotiations, collectively. Each Affiliate exists to support and protect its members and ensure they are treated fairly, including support for due process in disciplinary matters with employers or with the College of Teachers.
The Affiliates typically offer many supports beyond protective services; for example, they advocate for their members through political engagement, education research, and interaction with Government, partners in education and the broader society. As well, they provide professional services and supports to their members. They are outspoken advocates for quality public education for students and the conditions that help make that goal possible.
The Affiliate collects tax deductible dues from their members. It sets its own fee and budget through its governance structure but the ultimate decision takes place at annual meetings which are democratic, representative assemblies of members. From the fees, each Affiliate funds the services it offers to members and makes remittances to other bodies to which they belong, including OTF. Affiliates direct fees to OTF, based only on their number of full-time equivalent teacher and occasional teacher members.
Members in each Affiliate are eligible to run for Affiliate Provincial Executives, to elect local leaders and, through those local leaders, have a voice in provincial decision making and elections. In addition, Affiliates have additional governance structures such as councils of presidents and local and provincial committees to allow for member input and participation.