Promoting and Protecting Catholic Education

A Community of Faith and Learning

For more than 85 years, the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA) has safeguarded and promoted the interests of Catholic education in Ontario. We are the central source of information about government funding and initiatives affecting Catholic education.

As the sole representative of Ontario’s 29 English Catholic District School Boards, OCSTA represents the needs and perspectives of Catholic school boards to the provincial government and, when necessary, the federal government.

We are the central provider of professional services to 237 trustees elected by Catholic ratepayers every four years. The Association is managed by a board of directors made up of 18 Catholic school trustees, representing regions from across the province.

Approximately 600,000 students in Ontario attend Catholic schools. Catholic school boards manage over 1,300 schools in the province and hire approximately 34,000 teachers.

Services We Provide to Our Members

Our member boards and local Catholic school communities benefit from a number of OCSTA services and resources, including:

  • Review and analysis of provincial bills and legislation
  • Labour-relations support and information-including access to the LabNet website
  • Leadership and information in matters of education finance
  • Resource and communications materials to support the promotion of Catholic education at the local and provincial levels
  • Meetings and information sessions to help school boards understand and address governments initiatives, as they occur
  • School board services discounts: through OCSTA’s membership in the Ontario Education Services Corporation, Catholic school boards haverealized millions of dollars in savings for the following services: Police Record Checks; Energy Distribution Costs; and Behaviour Management Systems.

Government Relations

OCSTA is a powerful lobby for Catholic education. We monitor government activity, contribute to the decision-making process, liaise with all provincial political parties, and respond to issues affecting Catholic education. Our responsibilities include:

  • developing advocacy positions to ensure that government policies and programs meet the needs of boards, schools, students, and taxpayers
  • presenting briefs on proposed legislation to Standing Committees of the Legislature
  • supporting the provincial budget planning process for education by submitting an annual finance brief to the Minister of Education and finance officials
  • working with the government on matters of concern to Catholic school boards and provincial education stakeholders as a whole.

Supporting Distinctive Expectations

An integral part of OCSTA’s mission is the support of activities and initiatives that enhance the Catholic dimension of our school system.
Among them are:

  • faith and professional development opportunities for trustees and student trustees
  • regional meetings that provide opportunities for trustees to address local and provincial issues with peers and OCSTA representatives
  • production of materials to assist boards in highlighting aspects of the Catholic dimension of our system
  • support of pre-service and in-service religious education program for teachers, including the OECTA/OCSTA Religious Education courses
  • development  and coordination of resource and communications material for the annual Catholic Education Week program and promotional campaign
  • participating in system partnerships through the Institute of Catholic Education

Coming Together: Conferences and Seminars

Annual General Meeting & Conference

All Catholic school trustees in Ontario are invited to OCSTA’s  Annual General Meeting. Through the election of the Board of Directors, and presentations at resolutions and business sessions, trustees have the opportunity to express their wishes and help direct the work of OCSTA. Comprehensive faith-development activities and topical discussions with colleagues from across the province are among the key benefits of this event.

OCSTA Seminar for Board Chairs, Vice-Chairs & Directors of Education

There are many responsibilities attached to these leadership positions. The aim of this conference is to provide professional development opportunities and information to enhance school management.

Catholic Trustees’ Professional Development Seminar

Following the municipal elections OCSTA offers newly elected trustees and student trustees a highly effective orientation seminar. The New Trustees’ Seminar provides participants with educational plenary sessions, dialogue with experienced trustees and administrators, and the opportunity to interact with colleagues from across the province

Finance Seminar

This event provides an opportunity for board staff and trustees to jointly review and discuss reports and issues around education finance and current grant regulations. An important feature of the seminar is a presentation from Ministry of Education finance officials.

Labour Relations Seminar

Key speakers at this seminar include experts in human resources and labour relations. This seminar offers participants an opportunity to exchange information and views on current collective-bargaining issues and trends.

Regional Meetings

These meetings are co-hosted by school boards in various locations throughout Ontario. Each meeting provides an opportunity for members to address local issues and participate in faith and professional development activities.

Regional Meetings are also held at every AGM & Conference.

Partners in Catholic Education

  • Association des conseillers des ecoles publiques de l’Ontario
  • Association franco-ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques
  • Catholic Principals’ Council of Ontario
  • Ontario Association of Parents in Catholic Education
  • Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers’ Association
  • Ontario Catholic School Business Officials’ Association
  • Ontario Catholic Student Council Federation
  • Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association
  • Ontario Public School Boards’ Association
  • Ontario Student Trustees’ Association (Catholic section)