September 8, 2021
Dear Minister Lecce:
I am writing on behalf of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association regarding the need for urgent action in support of our collective commitment to the health and safety and the well-being of the students and staff in publicly funded Catholic schools throughout Ontario.
At the outset, I would like to commend you and the staff at the Ministry of Education for all of your efforts throughout these unprecedented times. I would as well like to recognize the strong leadership of Catholic School Trustees and most especially the system and school leaders, teachers and support staff for their selfless service and heroic work.
Further to our advocacy during meetings with you, Ministry of Education staff and others and in support of the ever growing number of public health experts and medical professionals, we strongly recommend that;
- The mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all eligible publicly funded school staff, volunteers, bus drivers, trustees and visitors; and
- The Immunization of Schools Pupil Act be amended to include COVID-19 as one of the mandatory vaccinations for eligible students.
We see both of these as crucially important additional measures in assuring the health and safety and well-being of students and staff and as well supportive of our mutual goal to keep schools open. For many years on behalf of our 29 Catholic School Board members, the OCSTA has called upon successive Provincial Governments to provide increased flexibility and autonomy at the local level. This is not an issue in which we will do so. We firmly believe that a consistent standard/approach among all Catholic school boards is immediately required.
Thank you for your serious consideration of our recommendations and if you would like to discuss this matter, I would be pleased to do so.
Yours very truly,
cc: Christine Elliot, Minister of Health
Nancy Naylor, Deputy Minister of Education
Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health
OCSTA Board of Directors
Chairs and Directors of Education, All Catholic District School Boards in Ontario