Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2017 ETFO Validation Sticker Distribution and New OTIP Giving Program

You will be able to find your Edvantage validation sticker for 2017 in the December issue of the Voice magazine.  Don't forget to retrieve it prior to recycling your magazine.

For those members who have chosen to receive their copy of the Voice electronically and are also on board approved leave, you will receive your 2017 sticker to the home address ETFO Provincial has on record via Canada Post. Please ensure your personal residential information is up to date by going to : on the right-hand side, click on 'Quick Links' and go to 'Member Update Contact Information' .

Introducing OTIP's Newest Corporate Giving Program

Not all worthy causes are linked to registered charities.  Within the education community, there are many school projects or initiatives that support learning, provide an enriched experience or help those in need. Each project or initiative that meets the criteria below, will be entered into a draw in which four prizes of $5,000 will be awarded each year:


Any member in the Ontario public, Catholic or French system can apply for funding for their project. Projects or initiatives must be shown to positively impact the lives of students or educators. Requests do not have to be linked to a registered charity.

Entries must be made via a short video (no longer than five minutes), and permission must be granted for OTIP to use the videos on social streams and our website.

Examples of projects that would qualify for funding include:

- School nutritional programs;
- Purchase of musical instruments or band equipment;
- New playground equipment;
- Environmental initiatives like gardens or tree planting;
- Art supplies or programs.

Funding is not provided for:
- Capital projects, such as school additions, replacing building or facilities etc.
- Administration or operating costs such as salaries, utilities.

OTIP will be accepting applications online from December 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017.  Between April 1 and 14, OTIP will review video applications to ensure they meet the criteria. The draw will take place on April 17. Winners will be notified the last week of April, with the winning videos posted on and social media on May 1.

Videos should be sent to

Just a reminder that to stay on the elementary OT Roster for next year, now members must teach a total of 10 full days in the elementary panel.  Paid PD days continue to count for all purposes including this requirement, as time taught. You can find out more about what activities are available for paid professional development by checking in the Employee Portal under Conference Registrations where you will see a list of elementary PD opportunities.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Int'l Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, ETFO Intermediate Conference and Health Information Advisory

November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and marks the start of the annual White Ribbon Campaign, an opportunity for men and boys to work together to end violence against women.

ETFO has collected a variety of resources on violence against women here :

ETFO's new video for Women's History Month is a useful reminder of how recently women won the vote and the ongoing struggle for legal and substantive equality:

The YWCA provides rose buttons to commemorate December 6, order them here:

ETFO Intermediate Conference 2017 - Innovate, Integrate, Motivate!

Registration is now open for the ETFO Intermediate Conference 2017 - Innovate, Integrate, Motivate! to be held January 27 - 28/17 in Toronto.

This conference will support your professional learning for teaching in the intermediate grades, whether you teach in a single class, split grade or specialized assignment. Participants will enjoy dynamic presentation and practical workshops so as to learn about new integrating and innovative strategies to use in Grades 6 to 8.

Registration is $75 with a day of release for those selected and shared accommodation costs covered by ETFO Provincial.  The deadline is December 9/16 so for details and registration information, please go to


Health Information Advisory Issued November 16, 2016

Annual Reminder regarding fluoride and sodium levels in drinking water for some communities

Oxford County Public Health is issuing an annual reminder about levels of fluoride and sodium in some of the County's drinking water systems.  The presence of fluoride and sodium may present health considerations for some residents.

In this year's Health Information Advisory, municipal drinking water in Brownsville, Ingersoll, Lakeside and Tillsonburg show fluoride levels above the recommended level of 1.5mg/L. This may put children under six years of age at risk for dental fluorosis (discolouration of the teeth). Households with children under six in these communities should use bottled water for baby formula, and cutback on other sources of fluoride, like using non-fluoride toothpaste.

Sodium levels in drinking water are only a concern for individuals on a sodium-restricted diet. This includes people with kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure or liver disease.  These residents should speak with their physician or health care provider about how sodium in the water may affect their health. Communities with sodium levels that range above the recommended level of 20mg/L include: Bright, Brownsville, Embro, Ingersoll, Norwich, Otterville, Springford, Thamesford, Tillsonburg and Woodstock.

Full details on the Health Information Advisory are included in the attached PDF and can be found on Oxford County Public Health's website:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Edvantage Programme; OTs and Teachers' Pension; For New Women Teachers

As a member of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, you have the opportunity to participate in the many discounts offered to members by the "Edvantage" programme.
Just ensure you have an updated address on file with > Quick Links (right hand side) > Members - Update Contact Information, and you will receive your 2017 validation sticker for your ETFO ID Card, mailed to your residence in the winter edition of ETFO's Voice Magazine.  Discounts apply to retailers such as Roots, Soft Moc, Scholars, Apple, Bell, Hakim Optical, Goodlife Fitness, CAA, Via Rail and many more.  If you have misplaced your ETFO membership card (the one with the red apple on it), contact 1-888-838-3836 to request a replacement.  For more information on "Edvantage" we encourage you to visit

As soon as an OT begins teaching, they automatically contribute to the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP). These contributions are matched by the provincial government and by every eligible employer.  T4 slips will show your tax deductible contributions from each employer.
OTPP bases your eligibility to retire on your years of recognized teaching in Ontario. Occasional Teachers need to be aware that it takes more than 10 days of teaching in a school year to gain a year of teaching credit so your Local encourages members to take every opportunity to pass this threshold. It would be unfortunate to have additional years tacked on to the end of your career as you consider your retirement factor, because of these missed opportunities at the beginning.  For further information please visit:

If you are a woman Teacher/Occasional Teacher in your first 5 years as an ETFO member, you can apply for ETFO Provincial's "Visions Program". The program will focus on union involvement both at the Local level and in the broader labour community.  Release time (i.e., you will be paid as if you taught these days) will be covered as will course materials, shared accommodations, travel, meals and dependant care. Sessions will take place January 18-19, then February 22-23 and finally March 22-23, 2017.  Registration is at under Upcoming Conferences > "Visions Program 2017". You will need to have your ETFO ID number available. Registration closes December 5/16. For further information call 1-888-838-3836.  

There are a few spots available in Workshops 1 (Equitable and Courageous Conversations) and 2 (Professional Judgement - How do I exercise it in My Workplace Effectively?) being offered to you on November 24, 2016 at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn, 591 Wellington Road South in London from 4:30 - 7:30 PM.  Dinner is included.  Avoid disappointment and come out to these very worthwhile opportunities.  
Register at


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

#GivingTuesday,Web attendance and "Under Construction", ETFO Learn Website and Truth and Reconciliation Webinars for ETFO


Most people know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday GivingTuesday is coming to Canada on November 29, 2016.

It is a new Canadian movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Cyber Monday. The "Opening day of the giving season," it is a day where charities, companies and individuals join together to share commitments, rally for favourite causes and think about others. Learn more about #GivingTuesday here:

Web attendance and "Under Construction"
If you are at a school trying to complete the web attendance only to find the site is "Under Construction", it means that your TVARRIS job has not yet registered  through the IT. Eventually, you will be able to log-in but if this occurs at web attendance time, your only recourse is to ask the office to provide a paper copy.
We hope this information is of assistance.

ETFO Learn Website 
The website, Playing to Learn: Engaging Junior/Intermediate Learners, website was originally launched at the World Festival of Childrens' Theatre in June 2016, and shared with Professional Learning Chairs at their session at Leadership on September 29, 2016. This is a comprehensive website to support educators in bringing play-based learning to Grades 4 to 8.

The website is a resource for junior and intermediate teachers. One section of the website features a playfulness quiz for members to see how playful they are as educators in their programming, and directs members to additional supports for integrating more play and advocating for play-based learning. The other section of the site is filled with curriculum linked lesson plans and supports for engaging junior and intermediate learners.

Truth and Reconciliation Webinars for ETFO Members
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario welcomes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Final Report and Calls to Action. In response to the importance of educating Canadians about residential schools and eliminating educational gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, ETFO will continue to support ETFO members in their journey of learning about and understanding their history of Canada and its relationship with First Nation, Metis and Inuit people, and taking steps towards reconciliation. ETFO held and recorded two webinars for members entitled "The Truth of Canada's Legacy" and "Moving Forward into Reconciliation." Guest speakers included representatives from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, The Aboriginal Healing Foundation, and the Toronto & York Region Metis Council. The two one-hour webinars can be viewed at

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Fall General Meeting; TVARRIS upgrade; ETFO Provincial Website and Survey

Looking forward to hosting the Fall General Meeting at West Haven Golf and Country Club this afternoon from 4:30 - 7:30 PM.  Approximately 100 members have registered for this ever-popular Event and we thank in advance, all those who bring donations for the Merrymount Children's Centre wish list!
See you soon!
Reminder: New TVARRIS Telephone Number:
Effective immediately this is the new number  888-209-3162 and  URL - https//
Make sure to update your personal email contact on the Provincial ETFO website
Starting November 7th, you will have an opportunity to participate in an online survey about Central Table bargaining goals. Our Collective Agreements expire this August and ETFO needs to hear from you as the bargaining process begins once again.

While you are at be sure to register for the new Employee Health e-newsletter. Those in LTO assignments longer than 90 calendar days will soon be eligible for coverage under this new provincial benefit plan.

As well, take some time to review all the professional events provided by Provincial ETFO.  In most cases there is a modest registration fee with ETFO assuming all other costs such as transportation, accommodations etc.  Lots of opportunities available to all Occasional Teachers.