Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Regulation 274 to be Revoked; Credit for Previous Teaching Experience; Prep pay back assignments; Multiple Classrooms in a Day?

 

Regulation 274 to be Revoked

Rather than focus on the safety of students and staff in schools, the Minister of Education has tried to deflect attention by revoking the law that ensured fair hiring practices by setting out the path to permanent employment - Reg. 274.

It has always been the Union's position that the Board should hire those Occasional Teachers that they know through the work they have done in TVDSB. Teachers should be hired based on their experience and qualifications. Regulation 274 removed any bias based on discrimination and was effective in promoting equity in hiring.

In light of this new announcement, OT Locals will be in discussions with their individual boards to develop new practices and protocols. The Thames Valley OT Collective Agreement has language previously negotiated with regards to posting and hiring - this will be the basis for our upcoming discussions. New hiring protocols are to be established by the end of December/20.

If you want to add your voice to those who are speaking out against this attack on fair hiring practices and why revoking this will not improve equity in hiring, we urge you to see https://www.etfo.ca/DefendingWorkingConditions/ETFOTakesAction/Pages/fairhiring.aspx

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NEW: Credit for Previous Teaching Experience

As of September of this school year, under the terms of our new Collective Agreement an Occasional Teacher who did daily OT work with another Ontario school board, can submit that to TVDSB for credit on the grid when they are in a LTO assignment. Credit will not be granted retroactively, but if you teach for more than one school Board or worked at another before coming to Thames Valley, this new provision may increase your long-term occasional salary.

As well, don't forget that QECO does not submit the ratings directly to school boards, so be sure you send yours to HR once you receive it. Please note that there is a delay in processing documents at QECO since they too are generally working remotely. 

N.B: Members only have until July 31st to submit documentation that will increase their grid rate salary for assignments completed during the school year.

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NEW: Prep periods for Prep Payback Assignments

Under the terms of the new Collective Agreement, an Occasional Teacher who is hired for a full day assignment to provide missed prep time, will have the first 40 minutes of that assignment free to prepare for these lessons.  OTs may wish to check with the Teachers they will be replacing to see what is going on in each class so that this is meaningful time for all.

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Multiple Classrooms in a Day?

As schools experience incidents of Covid-19, it has become apparent that daily Occasional Teachers need to record the rooms that they visit during the course of their assignment. 

That way, should there be an outbreak at a school you have visited, you will know if you have been exposed and need to self-isolate or quarantine.

And unlike this fellow, don't let down your guard. Follow the Covid-19 protocols and wear your mask at all times. If you are in a situation where you cannot maintain safe distancing (such as a kindergarten setting), then wear a face shield, available upon request at the school office. This mask will remain with you and it will be your responsibility to ensure it is clean before you need it at your next site.

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On behalf of your TVOT Local Executive to all those who are joining us tonight at our first virtual Fall General Meeting! 

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

New Covid-19 Federal Benefits; Face Shields for Occasional Teachers; Columbia Outlet Store Invitation; Provincial ETFO Workshops; Local Fall Meeting

New Covid-19 Federal Benefits

Members may not be aware that the federal government now has several new benefit programs for those who are affected by the pandemic: 

1) Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit/CRSB: provides income support to those who are unable to work because they are sick or isolating due to Covid-19 or who are unable to work because they are at greater risk of contracting the disease because of an underlying medical condition. This plan provides up to 2 weeks of coverage that can be used up to September 21, 2021. Here is the link for further information - https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-sickness-benefit.html

2) Canada Recovery Benefit/CRB: provides income support to those directly affected by Covid-19 who are not eligible for Employment Insurance/EI.  For these details go to - https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-benefit.html

3) Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit/CRCB: provides income support to those who are unable to work because they must care for a child under 12 years of age or a family member who needs supervised care. You can find out more at - https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/recovery-caregiving-benefit.html

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Face Shields are Recommended

Whenever safe distancing cannot be maintained, the Health Unit and TVDSB Covid-19 protocols recommend that Teachers/OTs wear face shields as well as their masks.  This is especially important in kindergarten classes where children often encroach on your personal space.

TVDSB has purchased face shields for Occasional Teachers - you can request one when you check into a school and one will be provided. These are not single use - at the end of the assignment, the OT will be responsible for cleaning the face shield so that they can use it at their next site. 

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ETFO Provincial Workshops 

Did you know that Occasional Teachers are eligible to register for conferences and workshops offered by ETFO Provincial? For instance, here are some of those upcoming opportunities:

Identity in Time of Crisis - a racialized members' virtual conference with Part 1 being held Saturday, Nov. 7 and Part 2 on Saturday, Nov. 28/20: 

https://www.etfo.ca/AboutETFO/Calendar/Lists/ETFO%20Calendar2/DispForm.aspx?ID=4782&InitialTabID=Ribbon.Read

An Ounce of Prevention - Knowing your rights and responsibilities is a one day conference to be held on Saturday, Nov. 21/20 for members who want to know more about professional boundaries, developing a positive relationship with parents and using social media:

https://www.etfo.ca/AboutETFO/Calendar/Lists/ETFO%20Calendar2/DispForm.aspx?ID=4784&InitialTabID=Ribbon.Read

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It's next week!
TVOT Local Fall General Meeting
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 

Via Zoom 
(desktop, laptop, cellphone, tablet - no microphone or camera necessary)
4:30pm - 7:00pm

Register at www.etfotvot.com - the meeting link will be emailed to registrants in advance

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Roster Applicants for LTOs; Keys for OTs; Nominations Have Closed; ETFO Provincial Covid Update #16

OT Roster Applicants for LTOs -  

Although hiring for LTO positions must follow the process legislated under Regulation 274, the Local encourages those on the OT Roster to apply for any posted position for which they are qualified and interested in teaching as the LTO List is soon depleted allowing Roster candidates an excellent chance of securing a long-term assignment. Please note that the Board does not have to consider seniority when hiring from Roster applicants. 

Long-term positions are posted throughout the course of the school year.  Most postings are up for 5 days, however in certain circumstances, the Local will agree to a 3 day posting so we urge members to get used to checking back throughout the week. 

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Keys for Occasional Teachers -

We remind TVOT members that as a Teacher, you are responsible for the safety of the children in your care. To that end, every Occasional Teacher needs to have access to the classroom keys so that they can lock their door when an emergency code has been called. The Local has heard reports that some schools feel they cannot share these keys because of concerns about sanitation. This is not acceptable. Keys can be sanitized and are essential.  Access to classroom keys was negotiated between ETFO Provincial and the Provincial government in 2015 so please do not hesitate to ask for keys when you check in at the school office and if you are not provided with them, please notify us at the TVOT Office 519-641-3936. We will take the matter to HR for resolution with reference to the name of the school but not to the name of the Occasional Teacher.

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TVOT Executive for 2020 - 2021 -

Nominations for the TVOT Executive have closed and we are pleased to report that the following members will be acclaimed to the Local Executive 2020-2021 at our Fall General Meeting on October 21st:

  • Terry Card, President (two year term to end June 30, 2022)
  • Nancy Springer, First Vice-President
  • Vivek Nath, Second Vice-President
  • Kevin Utley, Treasurer
  • Sharon Pinylo, Secretary
  • David Griffith, Health and Safety Officer
  • Chief Negotiator, Terry Card
  • Collective Bargaining Committee (alphabetically): Farida Makhani, Vivek Nath, Sharon Pinylo, Nancy Springer, Kevin Utley
Elections will be held on October 21st via Zoom, to fill four Executive at large positions. 
Listed inn alphabetical order, the candidates are:
  • Sean Cousins
  • Meera Jain
  • Farida Makhani
  • Krisanne Nunes
  • Vandana Sharma
  • Cindy Webb
It is very unfortunate that we won't be able to meet you in person that day, but we urge you to join your peers for a virtual meeting. Zoom is accessible by computer, cell phone or any device with an internet connection. No camera or microphone will be necessary for participants as we will accept questions from members typing in the "Chat" feature. 
Registration at www.etfotvot.com is necessary at this membership meeting is restricted to TVOT members per our Local Constitution. 

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ETFO Provincial's Covid-19 Update  #16 -
Hopefully members have registered to receive these regular updates from the ETFO Provincial Office. 
This latest e-edition contains timely information on PPE, the requirement to isolate, when to file a WSIB claim because of exposure, remote learning assignments, report cards etc. 
Register at www.etfo.ca if you are not yet on their mailing list - you need to know!



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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Cancellation of LTO Assignments / Leaving by Mutual Consent; Orange Shirt Day; Fall General Meeting; Project Overseas; ofid-19 Protocols

 Cancellation of LTO Assignments  

Our job as Occasional Teachers is to replace absent permanent Teachers. When that absence extends to 10 days, the Occasional Teacher filling the job is eligible to be paid according to their qualifications and previous post-certification teaching as negotiated in the TVOT Collective Agreement. Article L7.01 (b)

Under certain circumstances however, a long-term assignment with a posted end date can end prematurely. In those situations, the Agreement stipulates that the LTO will be notified 10 days before the end date, or will receive payment in lieu of this notice. If the assignment does not have a posted end date, then the LTO is entitled to 2 days notice or money in lieu of that notice. Article L5.07

Leaving a LTO Assignment by Mutual Consent

Should an LTO finds it necessary to relinquish their long-term assignment (for personal reasons, a need to hone certain skills etc.), the Agreement enables a member to provide two-weeks notice of their need to leave the assignment. The member would notify both their Principal and HR per Article L5.07.  In subsequent interviews for LTO positions, the member would address why they left and how these issues have been addressed in the interim.

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Orange Shirt Day -

Since 2013, September 30th has been a day when we are asked to honour all those Indigenous children who were taken from their families and sent to Residential Schools across Canada. One place students and Teachers can learn more about this history is - https://www.cbc.ca/kidscbc2/the-feed/what-is-orange-shirt-day#:~:text=Orange%20Shirt%20Day%20(September%2030th,the%20history%20of%20those%20schools.

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Fall General Meeting
Just a reminder to register on our website www.etfotvot.com for the Local's first "Virtual" Fall General Meeting to be held via Zoom on October 21, 2020 at 4:30 PM - 7 PM. 
Though we will not have the luxury of those lovely meals we've come to expect from the Lamplighter Inn, the business of the Local will carry on with the addition this Fall of the elections for the Local Executive, as this was postponed from May because of the pandemic.
Nominations for candidates close October 1, 2020 at 5 PM. The names of those seeking office will be posted on our Local website by the Elections Officer, shortly afterwards.
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Project Overseas 2021
Applications are now being accepted by ETFO Provincial at https://www.etfo.ca/BuildingAJustSociety/WorldIssues/Pages/ProjectOverseas.aspx .
Sixteen ETFO members will be selected to lead professional development for Teachers in countries such as Burkina Faso, Dominica, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Montserrat, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sierra Leone, Togo and Uganda. Placements are generally from 3 - 5 weeks in length so if you are a Canadian citizen with at least five years of teaching experience, you might be interested in volunteering. Find out more from the link above.
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Changes to TVDSB Covid-19 Protocols
Please be sure to revisit the TVDSB Covid-19 Protocols posted by the Board as these are frequently being revised. As of today, Protocols 2,3,4,6,7,9,11,12,16,18 and 19 have been amended. The revisions appear at the end of each protocol document so make it a practice to check these regularly via the Staff Hub (accessible in the Employee Portal at the top right).
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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

LTO pay; How to select remote daily assignments; Brightspace resources and training; Reflection Forms;

Some LTOs Were Paid at Daily Rate 

Given the complications of staffing this month, many LTOs have noted that their assignments have not yet been recognized as LTOs and so their September 25th pay is at the daily rate of $234.40 rather than at the appropriate grid rate. To assist HR in ensuring this is corrected for the next pay date, please make sure:

  • that you have a QECO rating on file with TVDSB (QECO sends the ratings to Teachers, not to Boards)
  • that you have submitted proof of any previous post-certification teaching experience to HR. (Please note that under our new Collective Agreement, daily occasional teaching from another Ontario school board is now recognized - previously only LTO experience counted so some members should have their experience recalculated on a go forward basis.)
  • that your school has submitted a LTO form for your assignment since that triggers grid pay
  • that your LTO assignment appears in TVARRIS

These same recommendations apply to any assignment where an Occasional Teacher replaces the same absent Teacher in the same assignment continuously because on the tenth day, that job evolves into a LTO assignment so pay will be dependent submitting the information above.
In both circumstances, grid pay will be applied retroactively to the first day of the assignment so long as all relevant documentation is submitted to HR by July 31st. 
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Remote Learning Assignments 

TVARRIS: Did you know that you can ensure that TVARRIS calls you for   assignments at Virtual Schools?  

In the "Employee Portal", click on "HRS Applications" in the left border and then "Occasional Teachers School Selections". When that opens, look at the "All Elementary London" listings where you will find Elem Virtual schools 1-6. Select these if you feel confident enough to use Brightspace for a remote learning daily assignment.

BRIGHTSPACE: Staff Development recognizes that our members need assistance learning how to use Brightspace and so they have provided a half-day paid PD training module available under "Conference/Session Registrations" > "Elementary Occasional Teacher PD 2020-2021" in the "Employee Portal". 

As well, TVOT members can log into the Staff Hub in Sharepoint and from the main page there, type "Brightspace" in the search bar at the top, and you will find additional video resources on using this tool. (The Staff Hub is accessible from the same place you log into the Employee Portal or from "Outlook" where you can click on the 9 dots at the top left beside the TVDSB logo.)

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Reflection Forms for Violence Awareness Training and Paid PD

The Reflection Form is a google documents so to access reflection forms, you need to first log into your gotvdsb account - eg.  tv####@gototvdsb.ca (with #### being your TVDSB ID number). The password is the same password you use for the Portal. You can fill in the form online and submit it electronically so be sure to include a date you did not work so that you can be paid. Reflection forms trigger payment for participation in paid PD.
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Payment for Covid-19 Training
The Board is still processing the names of those who completed the mandatory online Covid-19 training and so payment for this will not appear on this week's pay, nor will payment for completion of the paid half-day Violence Awareness training appear this week. 
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ETFO Provincial releases Covid-19 Update #15
Those who have registered for ETFO Provincial's e-newsletter (at www.etfo.ca) will be interested to see the FAQ section in this newest edition which includes: changes in assignments, concerns about physical distancing, school ventilation etc. 
Your TVOT Local highly recommends that members register to receive these updates to keep abreast as information evolves during the pandemic.
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Provincial Petition 

Provincial ETFO President, Sam Hammond is asking members to sign a petition asking the Upper Canada School Board to put an end to its requirement that Teachers teach both in person and remote students as a cost-saving measure. This does not put students first.

For more information please check out: http://chng.it/qNxdpHjnzf

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Stress; Daily Assignments; Violence Training and Paid PD; Fall General Membership Meeting and Elections; New Website; ETFO Conference

These are Stressful Times! 

It has taken years, but your Local is pleased to report that TVOT members now have access to the TVDSB Employee Assistance Plan/EAP. To access these supports, log into the Employee Portal and go to "Personal Information" and "View my Employee Assistance Program".

Asking for help shows courage - be assured that use of EAP services is confidential!

As well, the Canadian Addiction and Mental Health/CAMH website from one of the world's leading mental health research hospitals provides helpful links for those trying to cope with stress and anxiety during Covid-19: https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19/coing-with-stress-and-anxiety

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Notes for a Daily OT -

Complete self-screening each day before teaching. Enter wearing your own mask - you will sanitize when you enter the building then change into the medical mask provided. At the office, you will be given a sanitized key. Instructions on sanitizing equipment such as the photocopier, will be posted so look for these directions and make sure you sanitize each time you leave a room and again, when you re-enter the class.

Be sure to bring your own personal items such as pens and water bottles, maintain 2M physical distancing when possible and observe posted capacity limits in common areas such as the staff room.   

We can do this!

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Correction* Paid Violence Awareness Training has moved 

This opportunity can now be found in the TVDSB Employee Portal in "Conference Registration" under "Elementary Occasional Teacher PD 2020-2021". As with other paid PD sessions, payment for completion of this will be triggered by submitting a "Reflection Form" as directed. For all purposes including E.I., Teachers' Pension, requisite number of days to remain on the OTE Roster, this module counts as a half-day of teaching. N.B. This day is NOT in addition to the Paid PD days negotiated in our TVOT Collective Agreement.

Other Paid PD Opportunities -

What is paid PD?  The Local has negotiated that every OT (including LTOs in assignments of .5FTE or less) is eligible for 4 half-days of PD to be treated for all purposes and paid as teaching time. One half-day of this must be reserved for mandatory online training that will be posted this Spring, however the 3 remaining half-days are yours to select from the options listed. The Board plans to post several of these additional paid PD online sessions in the Employee Portal sometime next week. Staff Development is aware that many of our members are asking for Brightspace training and they will advise us when sessions are available to address this need.

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Fall General Membership Meeting and Elections - 

Registration has opened at www.etfotvot.com for the Local Fall General Membership Meeting and Elections being held virtually on October 21st at 4:30 PM

These elections were postponed from May when the Covid-19 lockdown prohibited the membership from meeting in person. Such restrictions remain in place and so we will look forward to meeting everyone virtually, using the Zoom platform.

Become involved - we are truly looking forward to meeting you!

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New TVOT Website -

TVOT is almost ready to transition to our revised website - a badly needed project tabled because of the demands of last year's strikes and the pandemic closure of school.

There may be a few glitches along the way so we ask in advance for your patience. We are certain however, that TVOT members will find the new site more appealing and easier to navigate.

Same address www.etfotvot.com but improved features - coming soon!

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Upcoming ETFO Provincial Conference: Building and Strengthening Partnerships in the Kindergarten Program

Registration is now open for this virtual conference to be held 7 PM Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24th. For more information visit -https://www.etfo.ca/AboutETFO/Calendar/Lists/ETFO%20Calendar2/DispForm.aspx?ID=4778&InitialTabID=Ribbon.Read

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

More LTOs to Come; Deadline for Payment; Health and Safety Paid Training is Online; Calendar and Newsletter are in the Works; Time to Elect Your Local Executive;

More LTOs to Come -

To say that staffing classes this Fall has been a challenge for TVDSB staff, is definitely an understatement. New announcements and additional dollars from the government have caused the Board to re-organize permanent Teacher assignments several times these past few weeks and from that shuffle, has come the displacement and re-organization of many elementary long-term assignments. 

As these pieces start to fall into place, we remind members that there will be additional LTO postings - possibly as early as this week so be sure to check LTO postings with TVDSB each day as the Union has agreed to allow some of these to close after 3 days so that classes get off to the best start possible.

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Deadline for Payment -  

TVDSB Occasional Teachers have until September 13, 2020 to complete the paid mandatory online "Covid-19 Re-opening Attestation and Training", now available in the Employee Portal. TVOT members must complete this training in order to be eligible to teach in with the Board -  completion will still be necessary if you miss this deadline, however you will not be paid after that date.

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Paid Training for Health and Safety now Posted -

TVOT members can log into the Employee Portal and in the "Employee Training" folder you will find "H&S Half Day PA Day Violence Awareness Training, September 03, 2020" . Completion of this module qualifies for a half-day of pay for members not in LTO assignments greater than .5 FTE.  

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Your TVOT Pocket Calendar and Newsletter - 

No need to panic - your 2020 -2021 pocket calendar and newsletter are in the works with contact information for every school site, your pay dates, and what to do in an Emergency situation as an ETFO Teacher. 

Please make sure that the address you have listed with the Board is accurate as this is what the Local uses for mailouts. TVOT members can check this information and make changes in the Employee Portal under "View/Change My Personal Information". Remember that maintaining accurate contact information is a condition of your employment with TVDSB - the onus is on you to keep this data up to date.

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Election Time is Coming -

Have you ever considered running for a position on the ETFO Thames Valley Occasional Teachers’ Local Executive?  

Why not join your Executive team and find out what is going on – you can make a difference! Meetings are held once a month after school. In usual times, these are dinner meetings at our TVOT Office in London. 

These positions are typically elected in the Spring, however due to the pandemic, our elections were deferred until the fall in hopes that an in-person meeting could take place. Unfortunately that will not be possible. Therefore elections will be held for these following positions at our Fall General Meeting (date to be announced):

President – two year term, full-time position; legal spokesperson and representative of Local; Grievance Officer; liaison/ member of all committees; signing officer; attends all Provincial Rep. Councils, ETFO Annual Meeting, other ETFO meetings in Toronto Local Constitution 7.2.1 Candidates for President must have a minimum of one year of Local Executive experience (Local Constitution 9.1.2) 

First Vice-President – assists the President, coordinates preparation of the newsletter, attends committees (Local Constitution 7.2.2) 

Second Vice-President - assists the President and First Vice-President and acts as liaison to the P.D. Committee (Local Constitution 7.2.3) 

Secretary – records, prepares and circulates accurate minutes of past and present Executive and General Membership Meetings (Local Constitution 7.2.4) 

Treasurer - maintains financial records, pays expenses of the Local as signing officer, drafts budget and reports to Executive and membership (Local Constitution 7.2.5) 

Health and Safety Officer - acts as liaison with the Board’s Joint Health and Safety Committee, the Local Executive and general membership; conducts annual audits of schools and participates in all applicable training (Local Constitution 7.2.7) 

Executive Members at Large (4) – great learning position with duties as determined by the Executive (Local Constitution 7.1.1 – 7.1.14) 

Chief Negotiator - negotiates the collective agreement; maintains agreement and reports to membership (Local Constitution 7.2.6) 

Collective Bargaining Committee (President, Chief Negotiator and 4-5 others) - collects information from membership and prepares Local preliminary submission (Local Constitution 7.3.4) 

ETFO Provincial Annual Meeting Alternates (5) – pool from which delegate vacancies will be filled; Toronto mid-August with all costs paid (Local Constitution 10.1 – 10.3)

Candidate Forms will be posted on the Local website Friday, Sept 11/20: www.etfotvot.com 

The date for this Fall General Meeting will be announced in next Wednesday's Blog.