Elections for a new provincial executive and the unveiling of the next step in ETFO’s Closingthe Gap campaign were highlights of the 2007 Annual Meeting.
Closing the Gap began in February with billboards and ads featuring the work members do. Delegates to the Annual Meeting saw new billboards and print ads that highlighted the fact that the provincial government provides $711 less funding annually for an elementary pupil than is provided for a secondary student.
David Clegg, ETFO’s new president, outlined what “closing the gap” will mean for elementary schools: “My vision for public education in Ontario is one that has proper class sizes throughout all of the elementary years, not just at primary… a dedicated librarian and a guidance counsellor in every elementary school [and] returns music, art, technology and family studies programs. But most of all it’s a school where elementary teachers are given the time and the resources to do the job right.”
Promises to reduce the gap “just won’t do,” Clegg said, noting that the foundation to academic success is laid in the elementary years and is the underpinning for strategies to reduce the high school dropout rate and improve student literacy and numeracy.
In her goodbye speech, outgoing president Emily Noble challenged delegates to work with members and the public and “get it done.” This $711 gap “deﬁes explanation and devalues the work you and I do and ignores the needs of our students,” Noble said. The funding gap will also be ETFO’s focus during the next round of bargaining.
Noble highlighted ETFO’s many accomplishments during the past nine years. Since the federation was founded it has successfully fought the teacher qualifying test and “tamed” the teacher performance appraisal process. She called ETFO’s last campaign, Campaign 200, a “truly deﬁning moment for our union.” That campaign resulted in every teacher collective agreement providing increased preparation time — to 200 minutes a week in 2008 — and limits on teachers’ supervisory duties.
Equally successful, she noted, was the occasional teacher campaign There Is No Substitute… which improved the working conditions of occasional teachers.
Noble received a warm and prolonged standing ovation from delegates in recognition of her years of service to the organization.
Looking ahead to the October 10 election, Kathleen Wynne, the minister of education, summarized the changes the Liberal government has made since it took power in 2003. “I am proud of the progress we have made in education,” Wynne told the delegates. She acknowledged that the funding gap is a critical issue for ETFO and noted that the gap has shrunk by some $400 per pupil in the past four years. “We will keep doing that important work of investing in elementary schools and reducing the gap,” she said. The minister also noted that “we have heard your concerns around class size and combined classes in grades 4 to 8,” and she promised to address that issue if re-elected.
In his address to the delegates, NDP Leader Howard Hampton stressed that “the funding formula has not been ﬁxed.” He noted that there is an “explosion of fundraising” in Ontario schools. In 2005–06 school fundraising in 65 of Ontario’s 105 boards totalled at least $567 million. Schools are raising funds for essentials, Hampton said, pointing out that one school organized a skip-a-thon to pay for salaries of occasional teachers. The need to rely on fundraising increases the disparities between schools, with the top 10 percent of schools raising more money than the bottom 80 percent, Hampton said. Maintenance staﬀ, education assistants, continuing education and English as a second language supports are not frills, yet all are in short supply as a result of the ﬂawed funding formula.
Toronto Mayor David Miller showed his support for public education and public services. He noted that the public school system has a signiﬁcant role to play in a multicultural society in promoting understanding and equality of opportunity.
“Your Close the Gap campaign is … part of a broader issue. For 25 years neo-conservatives told us public services should not be valued, public servants should not be valued, and that we can have good-quality services for free. You and I know that’s not true. We have to make investments so that we can ensure excellent outcomes. Your campaign brings that message back to the forefront.”
Act to Stop War, Members Urged
Buying a cellphone or investing in an RRSP are among the ordinary things Canadians do that may be supporting wars around the world. According to Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder and executive director of War Child Canada, “We are connected to war by the very things we do every day.” She urged ETFO members to take action.
In her address to the Annual Meeting, Dr. Nutt outlined her experiences in countries ravaged by war, and the impact of war on women and children worldwide. War Child Canada is a charity that helps children aﬀected by war.
Few people are aware that one of the causes of war in the Congo is the struggle for control over the mineral coltan used in the manufacture of cellphones, Dr. Nutt stated. However, more than 3 million people have been killed there since 1997, half of them under 16 years old.
In addition, she said, “Even as we support eﬀorts to rid the world of land mines and cluster bombs, we continue to invest in companies that manufacture weapons.” She pointed out that the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has $50 million invested in companies that manufacture arms.
Dr. Nutt urged delegates to “demand that ﬁnancial returns do not triumph ethics,” adding that “not knowing where your money goes and who proﬁts is not acceptable.”
Dr. Nutt outlined four concrete measures ETFO members can take:
- Stay informed and connected by accessing and using the teach- ing resources on the War Child Canada websites, warchild.ca and getloud.ca.
- Donate to development and assistance eﬀorts overseas and lobby the federal government to keep its commitment to contribute .7 percent of gross national income to overseas aid. Currently the government spends only .27 percent.
- Change purchasing and investing practices. “Find out if the coltan in your cellphone has been mined ethically.”
- Stop believing that life and loss in our country are more important than life and loss elsewhere.
ETFO EXECUTIVE 2007-2009
David Clegg comes to the president’s job with a long history of serving on the ETFO provincial executive: he served two terms as ﬁrst vice-president, was a vice-president from 2002–04, and was an executive member from 1999–2002. Clegg began teaching in 1992 and became involved with ETFO early in his career because he understood the intensely political nature of public education. From 2000–02 he was president of the York Region Teacher Local, ETFO’s third largest local with 3,500 members. Before that he served as chief negotiator, political action chair, and local vice-president. As chief negotiator, Clegg held a key position during the turbulent 1998 lockout – the ﬁrst in Ontario for public elementary teachers – and subsequent strike in York Region.
Vice-President & OTF Table Oﬃcer
A former president of the Greater Essex County Teacher Local, Hilda Watkins served as OTF president last year. Prior to that she was a member of the governing council of the Ontario College of Teachers. She has been a member of the ETFO executive since 2005 and a teacher for more than 30 years.
Sam Hammond was ﬁrst elected to the ETFO executive in 2003 and has served two terms as vice-president.
From 1998–2003 he was the chief negotiator and grievance oﬃcer for the Hamilton-Wentworth Teacher Local. He was chief negotiator when the local’s 2,300 teacher members went through a 17-day strike/lockout in 2000.
Hammond has worked on numerous municipal, provincial, and federal political campaigns and has been a member of the Hamilton-Wentworth Labour Council for seven years.
He taught physical education and health, from junior kindergarten through grade 8 for 18 years, and has also taught additional qualiﬁcation courses in physical education and health and in risk management at the Brock University faculty of education.
Barbara Burkett has been an ETFO vice-president since 2004. She was president of the Ontario North East Teacher Local for three years and an ETFO executive member for six years, during which time she has served on numerous ETFO committees. She has been a teacher for 25 years.
DOUG COOK, Upper Grand Teacher Local
DIANE DEWING, Upper Canada Occasional , Teacher Local
RACHEL GENCEY, Durham, Teacher Local
MARTIN LONG, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local
MIKE LUMB, Limestone, Teacher Local
RIAN MCLAUGHLIN, Hamilton-Wentworth Occasional, Teacher Local
SHARRON RAYMOND, Peel, Teacher Local
DEB ST. AMANT, Kawartha Pine Ridge, Teacher Local
SUSAN SWACKHAMMER, Grand Erie, Teacher Local
MAUREEN WEINBERGER, Halton, Teacher Local
ETFO PRIORITIES FOR 2007-2008
- To protect the collective bargaining rights of all members.
- To defend publicly funded public education.
- To serve the needs of the membership.
- To provide for the professional development of members.
- To promote social justice in the areas of anti-poverty, nonviolence, and equity.
- To support international assistance and co-operation.
- To promote the care and protection of the environment.
- To actively engage members in the Federation.
- To promote and protect the health and safety of members.
Delegates approved two new priorities for the organization:
- To actively engage members in the federation.
This adds to ETFO’s priorities a commitment that has been understood but not explicitly stated: namely, to involve and engage members in all aspects of the federation’s work.
- To promote the health and safety of members.
ETFO Awards 2007
CHILDREN’S LITERATURE AWARD
ITAH SADU’s book A Touch of Zebras introduces children to Chelsea, a mixed-race child unsure of which world– white or black – she belongs to. She is suﬀering from a “touch of the zebras.” Illustrated by Stephen Taylor, the book has received the second ETFO Children’s Literature Award. The award recognizes writing for children in keeping with ETFO’s positions on social justice and equity. Born in Canada and raised in Barbados, Sadu has been a writer and storyteller for more than 20 years. She ﬁrst wove this story as she travelled to elementary schools around Ontario telling stories about Black history and women’s issues. She was encouraged by teachers to turn it into a print book. A Touch ofZebras, her ﬁfth book, has been recognized by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Itah Sadu is co-owner of the Toronto bookstore, A Diﬀerent Booklist.
CHRISTINE THRASHER, who is a member of the Avon Maitland Teacher Local, received the 2006 Humanitarian Award for an ETFO Member, in recognition of her service to education and the community. Trasher is known within the board and the community for her many projects, among them her hand-drumming program. Based on the philosophy of African hand drumming, the program emphasizes cooperation, respect, and community. Thrasher is also active in the community, where her focus is on helping others. She is chair of the board for the Emily Murphy Centre, a second-stage housing facility for women and children in crisis where she has been a volunteer for nine years. As a backup singer to an Elvis tribute artist, she has performed at fundraisers for a support centre for developmentally delayed adults.
Windsor resident and lawyer MARION OVERHOLT has a long history of assisting women and advocating for those who live in poverty. ETFO has recognized her work by presenting her with the award for Women Working in Social Activism on behalf of Women and Children.
Although she is not a member of a union, Overholt has been social justice representative of the Windsor and District Labour Council Executive since 2001. She was elected to bring her legal expertise to address community social justice issues in partnership with the Labour Council. Overholt graduated from the University of Windsor law school in 1981 and was appointed a staﬀ lawyer at Legal Assistance of Windsor in 1988 where, among other things, she mentors and counsels students. Her community service work began with one of her earliest placements as a lawyer with the Hiatus House Complainant Support Program. She has been a board member for the Downtown Mission, the Unemployed Help Centre, and the Well-Come Centre, and chairwoman of the Homeless Coalition of Windsor-Essex.
HONORARY LIFE MEMBERSHIP AWARD
CHRIS LOFTS was president of the Lakehead Teacher Local for seven years. Since beginning her teaching career in1977, she held a variety of union positions including ETFO provincial executive member and OTF governor.
FRED MAYOR was a negotiator in the York Region Teacher Local for many years. He is now an occasional teacher in Thames Valley. During his 45 years of service to his union he has always been involved in collective bargaining. He also helped organize occasional teachers.
ARTIE COOPER, a teacher for 36 years, served as president of the Superior- Greenstone Teacher Local for 18 years. He served on every local negotiating team since 1976 and held every position on the local executive.
KATHY SMITH was active in the Federation of Women Teachers’ Associations as a negotiator and as a director for eight years. She served on many provincial committees and task forces.
PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT – ETFO locals made donations to oﬀset the impact on the environment of their attendance at the Annual Meeting. The Kawartha Pine Ridge Teacher and Occasional Teacher Locals, the York Region Teacher and Occasional Teacher Locals, and the Ontario North East Teacher Local each made donations to environmental organizations of about 25 cents per member.
ETFO ACTIVISTS HONOURED
ETFO honours local activists for their contribution in a variety of categories.
SHELLY JAN, Peel Occasional Teacher Local (left), Local Leadership Award. DIANE PERSALL, Grand Erie Occasional Teacher Local, Occasional Teacher of the Year.
GREG WEILER, Waterloo Region Teacher Local, ETFO Local Website of the Year Award;
DIANE DEWING, Upper Canada Occasional Teacher Local, Newsletter Editor’s Award (multi-sheet category); GARY OSLEY and ADELINA CHECCHIN Greater Essex Teacher Local, NewsletterEditor’s Award (single-sheet category).
Other activists who received federation awards are:
RUTH ANN MORLEY, Thames Valley Teacher Local, Health and Safety Activist Award
ANDREA KURTZ, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local, New Teacher of the Year Award.
ETFO VP HILDA WATKINS, staﬀ member JIM MCMAHON, and former Voice editor, CHARLOTTE MORGAN received OTF fellowship awards.
ALICE PAIGE, president of the Renfrew County Teacher Local, received the 2007 President’s Award. The award, chosen by the president, goes to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the federation during the past year.
Alice Paige is one of the local presidents who has worked to bring to the attention of ETFO members the hardships Canada’s participation in the war in Afghanistan has created for members, their families, and students. She helped to bring about the tour of CFB Petawawa that highlighted the need for services to help those aﬀected cope with stress.
Aboriginal Women in Education Award– Women’s Program
CANDICE JOBE, non-ETFO member
AMANDA JAN BLAKELY, non-ETFO member
CARE ANGEL RUSSELL, non-ETFO member
DENEEN MONTOUR, Grand Erie Teacher Local
Anti-Bias Curriculum Development Award
GRACE MATHIESON, Hamilton-Wentworth Teacher Local
Arts and Culture Award
RALPH SAVAGE, Grand Erie Occasional Teacher Local
Bev Saskoley Anti-Racist Scholarship Award
DIANA ANDREWS, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local
Curriculum Development Award
THOMAS MARTIN, Halton Teacher Local
Curriculum Development Award–Women’s Program
SANDEE CARSON ELLIOT, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local
JIM CARLETON, Simcoe Teacher Local
Multimedia Award–Women’s Program
DANA AVERY, Ottawa-Carleton Teacher Local
Women Who Develop Special Projects in Science and Technology Award–Women’s Program
STEPHANIE REABURN-GIBSON, Limestone Teacher Local
Writer’s Award–Published Work
CHRISTOPHER DINSDALE, York Region Teacher Local
Writer’s Award–Unpublished Work
DAN FISHER, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local
Writer’s Award, Women’s Program– Published Work
KIMBERLY PETERS, Durham Teacher Local
DETAILS ABOUT DEADLINES FOR APPLICATIONS FOR ETFO AWARDS are available from MarkFallis at provincial ofﬁce firstname.lastname@example.org
Information is also posted on our website: etfo.ca/BeingaMember/ MemberServices/AwardsandScholarships. Or watch for the Awards ﬂyer in the stewardmailings.
ETFO SCHOLARSHIP AND BURSARY RECIPIENTS
HILARY BROWN, Halton Teacher Local
Doctoral Scholarship–Women’s Program
KAREN BRAUN, Waterloo Region Teacher Local
SONIA KADELA, York Region Teacher Local
ERIK SORENSEN, Durham Region Teacher Local
ROSALINA GALLIPPI, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local
JENNIFER MARLAND, Simcoe County Teacher Local
CHRISTY THOMPSON, Kawartha Pine Ridge Teacher Local
SARA NEALL, Keewatin-Patricia Teacher Local
ROBERT DUROCHER, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local
Master’s Scholarship–Women’s Program
DIANE BROWN, Hamilton-Wentworth Teacher Local
KELLY GODDARD, Limestone Teacher Local
LYNN WILKINS, Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local
DEBORA VERLINDE, York Region Teacher Local
JENNIFER BRIDGETT, Ottawa-Carleton Teacher Local
SUSAN GARDNER, Ottawa-Carleton Teacher Local
MARLA VANDENBERG, Simcoe County Teacher Local
Educational Support/Professional Support Person Bursary
TRACEY MACKENZIE, Renfrew County ESP Local
Bursary–Persons with a Disability/Visible Minorities/Aboriginal Persons
RHONDA RATTRAY-PINSENT, Renfrew County ESP Local; JAMIE CATON; JAMIESON DYER.
Bursary–Persons with a Disability/Visible Minorities/Aboriginal Persons Award,Women’s Program
LYDIA WONG, NATALIE GONPUTH, ELISA TRAFICANTE, GENITA CAMPBELL
Bursaries for Sons And Daughters of ETFO Members
ALLISON DICKIE, daughter of Donna Dickie, Bluewater Occasional Teacher Local
HEATHER LEE, daughter of Patricia Lee, Algoma Occasional Teacher Local
DAVID SIMPSON, son of Anita Simpson, York Region Teacher Local
SASHA CHARNLEY, daughter of Suzanne Charnley, Ottawa-Carleton Teacher Local
AMY BAGSHAW, daughter of Don Bagshaw, York Region Occasional Teacher Local
NICOLE RONALD, daughter of Cynthia Ronald, Waterloo Region Teacher Local
KERI KAUFMANN, daughter of Mary Kaufmann, Greater Essex County Teacher Local
JANINE DAVIES, daughter of Audrey Davies, Kawartha Pine Ridge Teacher Local
DEANNE CLARA, daughter of Annamarie Clara, Lakehead Teacher Local
FREYA ROACH, daughter of R. Yvonne Koves, Waterloo Region Teacher Local
OTIP BURSARY WINNERS
Five children of ETFO members have each received $1,000 bursaries through the OTIP Bursary Program. They are:
- JOSHUA BACH, Collingwood
- DAVIAN HART, Guelph
- ANNE RUNCIMAN, Orangeville
- MADELINE MAYO, Toronto
- JACQUELINE TURNBULL, Hamilton