By Editor

Dec 6, 2017

Advent Reflection

“We are not Alone…Lord strengthen the places I find community in my life, espcially my family, my parish and my friendships.” Ronald Rolheiser

Legislative Update

Bill 148 – Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017:  This legislation received Royal Asent on November 27.  The Act raises the minimum wage, and expands personal emergency leave.  The minimum wage will increase to $14 an hour on January 1, 2018, and to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019.

View OCSTA’s July 2017 submission.

Bill 142 Construction Lien Act: This bill updates and regulates the way payments are made in the construction industry.  This includes new rules for payment timelines for construction projects and new dispute resolution processes.  The concerns for school boards relate to the compressed timelines, associated prompt payment requirements, and rules in respect of surety bonding on public sector projects above certain amounts.  For more detailed information see the government backgrounder on “Proposed Updates to the Construction Lien Act“.

Recent OCSTA submissions:

2017 Finance Brief – Partners in Excellence, Equity and Well-Being

Bill 174, Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017

OCSTA Pupil Accommodation Review Guidelines Submission

2017 Annual Report of the Auditor General

The 2017 Annual Report of the Auditor General of Ontario was made public on December 6, after it was tabled in the Ontario Legislature.

To view the section that pertains to education click here.

To view the entire report click here.

To view the Minister of Education’s statement in response to the report click here.

January 2018 Seminar: 

The annual OCSTA Catholic Trustees Seminar happens January 19-20 at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale Hotel (6750 Mississauga Rd., Mississauga). The theme of this year’s Seminar is “Advancing the Catholic Education Agenda” and the program includes topics and presentations designed to support Catholic trustees in their efforts to advance at the local level the priorities and goals of publicly funded Catholic education today. Sessions include:

  • Political Panel Discussion – “Ontario’s Education Priorities”  featuring: Minister of Education, The Hon. Mitzie Hunter; PC Education Critic, MPP Lorne Coe, and; NDP Education Critic, MPP Peggy Sattler.  Panel faciliated by OCSTA President, Patrick Daly.
  • “Examining Ontario’s Political Landscape” – presentation by Greg Lyle, Principal Innovative Research Group
  • Student Trustee Workshop – “Renewing the Promise – the Role of Catholic Education in Ontario Today” – presentation by Michael Way Skinner, Coordinator, Religion, Family Life and Equity, York Catholic District School Board
  • Trustee Panel – “Walking the Fine Line: Defining and Managing Catholic School Board and Constituency Responsibilities” featuring: Niagara CDSB Trustee, Kathy Burtnik; Sudbury CDSB Trustee, Michael Bellmore, and Toronto CDSB Trustee, Ann Andrachuk. Panel facilitated by OCSTA Vice President and Chair of the Bruce-Grey CDSB,  Beverley Eckensweiler.
  • Trustee Panel – “How the Home-School-Parish Triad contributes to Student Achievement in Catholic Schools” featuring: Peterborough VNC CDSB Chair, Michelle Griepsma; Halton CDSB Trustee, Arlene Iantomasi, and York CDSB Chair, Carol Cotton.  Panel facilitated by OCSTA Director and Chair of the Wellington CDSB, Marino Gazzola.
  • Mental Health Discussion Panel facilitated by Dr. Patrick Carney, Psychologist & Mental Health Lead, Simcoe Muskoka CDSB and featuring the following panelists:
    • Diane Mullane, Mental Health Lead, Durham CDSB
    • Stefani Burosch, Mental Health Lead, Peterborough Victoria Northumberland & Clarington CDSB
    • Patricia Marra-Stapleton, Mental Health Lead, Toronto CDSB

To register and view full program, please click here.

Upon Whose Shoulders We Stand

The production of a new video about the role and experience of the religious orders who worked so diligently and sacrificed so much for the sake of the survival and growth of publicly funded Catholic education in Ontario was introduced at the recent ICE Symposium. We are pleased to share that video with our members now (click on video under title above).

Catholic Education Week: Advance Kit

The OCSTA Catholic Education Week Advance Kit was issued early in December.  This kit is designed to help all Catholic educational partners engage in prayer and dialogue in preparation for Catholic Education Week 2018.

Unlike the Resource Kit that is designed for students, the Advance Kit is designed to help adult groups (trustees, school board staff, school staff groups, parent groups, parish groups, associations, etc.) reflect on the theme of Catholic Education Week with prayer services and reflection activities beginning in Advent and concluding in the month before Catholic Education Week.

Please visit to access this kit online.

In the News

2017 ICE Symposium coverage in the November 26th edition of The Catholic Register

OCSTA Communications Seminar

Trustee Panel: OCSTA President and Hamilton-Wentworth CDSB Chair, Patrick Daly with OCSTA Director and PVNC CDSB Chair, Michelle Griepsma.

On November 24, OCSTA hosted the annual Communications Seminar for CDSB communications staff.  This year’s program included an informative Catholic trustee panel that provided trustee perspectives on the role of school board communications staff in advancing current CDSB goals. Included on the panel were OCSTA President and Chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth CDSB, Patrick Daly and OCSTA Director and Chair of the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland & Clarington CDSB, Michelle Griepsma.

In addition to roundtable discussions and sharing of initiatives and programs, the seminar also included a final presentation entitled “Innovative Strategies for Connecting with External Audiences”.  In this session Manager of Communications & Community Relations for the Brant Haldimand Norfolk CDSB, Tracey Austin discussed an award winning communications initiative, developed in partnership ith the Brant Haldmand Norfolk’s coterminous board to address school board transportation communications to parents and the community.  The other presenter on this panel was Director of Marketing & Communications for the Region of Peel, Lisa Duarte who discussed the Region’s rebranding efforts and creative initiatives around recycling that has successfully engaged residents in Peel Region.

We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to all our exceptional presenters at this year’s Communications Seminar and to the Dufferin-Peel CDSB for kindly agreeing to host this year’s event.

Catholic Register Student Contest

The Catholic Register is conducting its seventh annual children’s Christmas drawing contest. The
top entry in each of 3 categories will receive a $50 gift certificate for a day at the movies. The winning
drawings will appear in The Register’s Christmas edition, Dec. 24.

• The contest is open to children enrolled in Grades 1-8.
• One prize will be awarded to the top entry in each of these categories: Grades 7-8, Grades 4-6 and
Grades 1-3.
• Entries must be original, in colour, drawn or painted on a page 8.5” x 11” or larger, and illustrate
some aspect of the birth of Jesus at the first Christmas in Bethlehem.
• For electronic submissions: minimum resolution 300dpi, in jpeg or PDF format.
• A completed entry form is required for every entry. All entries must include the signature/authorization
of a parent or guardian. Entries become the property of The Catholic Register.
• Electronic submissions can be sent to (Email entries must include:
Child’s Name, Address, Phone number, Grade, Age, and parent/guardian authorization.)
• Judges’ decisions are final and entries may be published in The Catholic Register at the editor’s sole
• Submission deadline is noon December 15, 2017.

Download submission form.

CCSTA Toonies for Tuition

To help promote the CCSTA Toonies for Tuition initiative, CCSTA is reaching out to young artists from across the country who  interested in creating and designing a Toonies for Tuition logo and poster that speaks to the cause.

The contest is open to all students enrolled in a Catholic school in Canada.

The contest will run from Dec. 1, 2017-Feb. 28, 2018 and the winner will be announced in the New Year. The winner will receive a Best Buy gift card for $200. And if a class collaborates on the logo and poster design and wins, CCSTA will provide a $400 Best Buy gift card.

For more information, please refer to the article on the CCSTA website.



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