What's New?

Thanks For A Wonderful Year!

The end of an eventful 2017- 2018 school year is quickly closing in on us, but before we go we would like to thank all of our members for the continued support you have given us throughout the year. You have witnessed and worked through many changes to educational practices as well as remained unified in an interesting year,to say the least. Just a reminder that the ETFO Local office will be closed from June 30 until August 27. The released officers will be in Toronto for the Annual Meeting from Mon., August 13 until Thurs., August 16, 2018, and will be able to periodically check email and/or voicemail.

In the event of an emergency, such as an allegation of assault, teachers should:

  • NOT participate in or consent to an interview
  • Make NO statement to anyone regarding the allegations or charges
  • Say “I'm willing to cooperate but am unable to comment until I contact my Federation and legal counsel.”

Call Professional Relations Services (PRS) at 1-888-838-3836. State that your call is urgent and you will need to speak to the duty officer.

If you get voice mail, leave your name, phone numbers and times you are available. State that your call is an emergency. Your call will be answered, but you will be put on hold while a lawyer (on call), is contacted.

If you have any questions about benefits, they should be directed to OTIP by calling 1-866-783-6847. You need your plan information located on your Benefit Card.

With only a couple weeks remaining in the school year calendar, Jada, Brian, Gail and Tena would like to wish you a safe and relaxing summer vacation. Thank you for continuing to make a difference in the lives of Niagara's children! 

ETFO Niagara Retirement Dinner

With a beach theme for the 2018 ETFO Retirement Dinner, elementary teachers were celebrated for their wonderful and sometimes challenging careers as they respectfully “surfed” off into the “sunset” of retirement. ETFO retirees got into the spirit of the evening by joining together in tropical pop songs that parodied many of the different challenges they faced over the course of their careers. A great time was had by all and we thank everyone who came out to help us celebrate the careers of our remarkable retiring members. A special thank you to the ETFO Niagara Social Committee including Denise Blaney, Liz Bonisteel, Rikki DaCosta, Chelsea DiFranco and Rich Roach. Your singing talents could easily lead to a second career. The list of retiress from this year can be found by clicking here.  To all of our retirees, we wish you the best as you enter into this new phase of your life. 

ETFO Niagara Labour Day Parade - Monday, September 3, 2018

Every year, ETFO Niagara participates in the Annual Merritton Labour Day parade. This year's parade takes place on September 3rd, 2018. We are looking for members to come out and join in the fun. To get local children ready for school the following day, ETFO Niagara will once again be handing out pencils along the parade route. After the parade, there will be an opportunity for colleagues to connect and enjoy the last day prior to returning to work. Look for a poster with greater by clicking here. If you are interested in walking in the parade, please contact Gail Dunn (vp2@etfoniagara.ca). 

PD In The Summer - ETFO Summer Academy

This year our program includes 40 practical courses being delivered across the province by experienced and dynamic presenters. All courses have been planned to meet your professional needs. The course fee includes three full days of learning, collaborating and networking with colleagues. It also provides members with lunch on site each day, as well as, a variety of useful handouts to support their planning for the fall. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Courses will fill up very quickly! We look forward to another engaging and inspiring summer of professional learning with our members this July and August.

There is an opportunity that is being put on at the ETFO Niagara office. “How To Get Kids Excited About Math” will take place from July 17-19, 2018. This hands-on course will explore how to build a math community in your classroom where students are eager to learn through games and puzzles. Participants will explore ways to authenticate the curriculum, that will in turn, build your student’s stamina for problem solving. By examining a balanced, comprehensive math program, the course will prepare you for Septemeber and the year ahead!

Please check out the wide variety of course descriptions and locations on the ETFO Summer Academy website (https://events.etfo.org/courses/summer-academy/summer-academy-2018). Take a look through the extensive course listing and then complete the easy online registration process. If you have any questions, please contact Ruth Dawson (rdawson@etfo.org) at ETFO Provincial. 

ETFO Charter Challenge Update

On, Friday, April 13, 2018, ETFO filed an unfair labour practice complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board against the Government of Ontario. In its complaint, ETFO details how the government discriminated against ETFO members when it:

  • made  payouts worth tens of millions of dollars to unions and employee bargaining agencies that did not challenge and, in fact, cooperated in the Liberals' agenda to strip education sector workers' collective agreements during the 2012 round of education sector bargaining under Bill 115;
  • engaged in coercion and reprisals, and discriminated against ETFO members because their union successfully challenged the violation of its members' constitutionally protected rights under Bill 115; and  
  • bargained in bad faith during 2014 education sector negotiations by consistently representing that all four of Ontario's teacher unions would be receiving substantially identical financial settlements for their 2014-2017 collective agreements.

The Government’s conduct only recently came to light when it confirmed that two of four teacher unions, as well as other employee bargaining agencies, will be receiving financial settlements from the province totalling tens of millions of dollars, essentially for their non-participation in the Bill 115 charter challenge.

For additional information, visit http://www.etfo.ca/DefendingWorkingConditions/BargainingAndAgreements/Pages/OLRBapplication.aspx.  

To view Sam Hammond’s take, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG8rx2DeEQI&feature=youtu.be

ETFO Niagara Elections Update

The results of the ETFO Niagara Elections are in for the 2018-2020 ETFO Niagara Executive:

Thanks to the Elections Committee (Wendy Bateman, Kristen Friesen and Rikki DaCosta) for their hard work for overseeing this election process, and to all the candidates that put their name forward for consideration.  To see the election results, as reported as % of votes, please click here.

Changes to OTIP LTD Plan - March 1, 2018

Over the last couple of weeks, ETFO members should have received an email from ETFO Provincial regarding changes to the LTD plan, effective March 1, 2018.

What is the ETFO Long Term Disability (LTD) Plan?

The ETFO LTD Plan is a valuable group benefit for full-time and part-time teachers administered by the Ontario Teachers’ Insurance Plan (OTIP). It replaces a percentage of your salary and provides protection for your pension plan should you be unable to work for a prolonged period of time because of illness or injury.

Why is the ETFO LTD Plan being changed?

Since 2014, the ETFO LTD Plan has experienced an accelerating increase in the number of disability claims made by ETFO members. The overall length of time that members are remaining on disability has also increased significantly. As a result, the ETFO LTD Plan has been under considerable financial pressure for some time.

ETFO needs to ensure that appropriate income replacement continues to be available for members who may experience an illness or injury that prevents them from working. That means changes need to be made to maintain the ETFO LTD Plan’s long-term financial stability.

This situation is not unique to ETFO.

What changes are being made to the ETFO LTD Plan?

As of March 1, 2018 two changes will be made to the ETFO LTD Plan:

Income replacement level: Currently, members on an LTD claim receive 55% of gross salary (tax free). Members who apply for LTD coverage as of March 1, 2018 will receive 50% of gross salary (tax free).

Termination of LTD Coverage: Currently, LTD coverage ends at age 70 or when a member is able to receive a 62% unreduced pension from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP). As of March 1, 2018, LTD coverage will end at age 65 or when a member is able to receive a 60% unreduced pension from OTPP.

What does the March 1, 2018 LTD premium rate look like?

Currently, the premium rate that each member contributes to maintain the ETFO LTD Plan is 1.39% of salary. As of March 1, 2018, the premium rate will be 1.58% of salary.

This table shows the additional contribution required under the 1.58% premium rate:

Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 11.24.14 AM

Is ETFO the only teacher union implementing changes to its LTD plan?

No. The LTD plans of other teacher unions (e.g., OSSTF, OECTA) are also experiencing more disability claims and lengthier claim periods. Those LTD plans are introducing similar changes to income replacement level, termination of coverage and premium rate as of March 1, 2018.

If I reach 65 or am eligible for a 60% unreduced pension and am still teaching, can I remain in the ETFO LTD Plan?

No. As of March 1, 2018, once you reach age 65 or are eligible for a 60% unreduced pension your ETFO LTD Plan coverage is terminated and you can no longer make a disability claim. If you find yourself in this situation, you can stop paying for LTD.

If you have any questions about this, don't hesitate to contact the Local, or email ETFO Provincial (LTD@etfo.org)

ETFO Niagara Exclusively Endorse OTIP

At the Winter 2015 AGM, ETFO Niagara passed a motion to end their exclusive agreement to enter into a new exclusive arrangement with the Ontario Teachers’ Insurance Plan.  To find out more information about the great things that OTIP offers teachers, click here to view the endorsement letter.  For more information, please feel free to visit www.otip.com/ETFO_Niagara

© ETFO Niagara 2013