Addressing systemic racism and discrimination
Recent events across Canada have again called into sharp relief that systemic racism remains a disturbing reality in Canada. The Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) is deeply troubled by the treatment of Black and Indigenous people, including the tragic deaths in recent months, not to mention decades. These events are a clarion call for action. As Ontarians, Canadians and citizens of the world, we are all diminished when some of us are subjected to systemic racism and discrimination.
Acknowledging this reality is only a first step; sustained action is important to shift beliefs and behaviours. This is important work in which we all must engage. Teachers, educational workers, and the publicly funded education system as a whole have an important role to play. Our schools and classrooms are one place where we can support students in recognizing the historic and contemporary root causes of injustice, in confronting them, and being agents of change.
OTF firmly believes that all Canadians have a right to equal treatment without discrimination because of age; ancestry, colour, race; citizenship; ethnic origin; place of origin; creed; disability; family status; marital status, including single status; sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding); gender identity, gender expression; and sexual orientation – a society in which each person can fully and freely participate and exercise their rights. OTF further believes that we must all vigorously oppose any discrimination against any person.
OTF stands in solidarity with all those who are protesting peacefully to bring BIPOC injustices to the forefront and demand change. An attack on one of us is, indeed, an attack on all of us.
We call on our members to renew their individual and collective responsibility and commitment to being catalysts of change in Ontario.
The Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF), established by the Teaching Profession Act of 1944, is the professional organization for Ontario’s teachers. All teachers are required by law to belong to OTF as a condition of teaching in the publicly funded schools of Ontario. The four teacher federations are the Affiliates of OTF: l’Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF).
OTF’s primary role is advocating for the teaching profession, for its member teachers and for publicly funded education. It is OTF’s statutory duty to work explicitly and implicitly in the interest of the province’s teachers. Unlike the Affiliates, OTF does not engage in collective bargaining. However, OTF does take positions to support teachers’ ability to offer the best professional service and speaks out on issues of general education policy.
OTF is the Partner (or Sponsor) along with the Government of Ontario in the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan; it is charged with representing the interests of all teacher pension plan members—active and retired.
OTF offers a variety of services and supports to members such as numerous professional learning programs. OTF advocacy extends to interaction with other educational stakeholder groups and partners.
Before the creation of the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), OTF served the dual role of regulating teacher discipline and being an advocate for the profession. With the creation of the OCT in 1997, a line was drawn between professional advocacy and professional discipline, with OTF filling the former role and OCT the latter.
The OTF fee is included in the tax deductible dues a teacher pays to his/her federation. For each full time equivalent teacher, the four Affiliates remit an annual fee of $30.40 to OTF. Unemployed teachers do not pay fees. The core work of OTF is supported entirely by these fees, which are approved annually by the Board of Governors.
The OTF Board of Governors includes 40 members—ten from each of the four federations. The OTF Executive, which meets more often than the Board, includes the President, General Secretary and elected Table Officer of each of the four federations (AEFO, ETFO, OECTA and OSSTF) along with the appointed OTF Secretary-Treasurer.
Standing committees, named in the Regulation under the Teaching Profession Act, always include one representative from each affiliate. The Board of Governors and the Executive create other special committees from time to time as the work of the Federation requires.
OTF is an affiliate member of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) and sends representatives to national, international and provincial educational conferences.
To learn more about OTF, watch the video, Ontario’s publicly funded education.
Live and Learn: OTF/FEO is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2019. This video, Live and Learn, focuses on five important aspects of OTF/FEO: Remember your roots, Plan for the future, Fight for your rights, Change for the better, and Play well with others. Watch the video here.
The video has five parts. Just click on the part you wish to watch.