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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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 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.



Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Welcome Back to a Different School Year

So, here we go....  Welcome back to another school year, but one that is different from all those that have preceded it.  During these unprecedented times we must try to stay informed and keep matters in perspective. We will need to be adaptable so let's make a point of supporting one another, staying in contact and being kind to our colleagues and of course, to our students and their families.  And if at times you feel overwhelmed, anxious and need support, TVOT Occasional Teachers now have access to the Board's confidential Employee Assistance Plan. No need to suffer in silence for together, we will get through this! 

Displaced LTOs - With the influx of additional Federal funding, the Board has had to make last minute staffing changes throughout the system. In fact, TVDSB staff worked over this past weekend re-organizing permanent Teacher assignments and school allocations. As a result, many of our LTOs assigned to long-term assignments through central staffing, have been displaced. The Board assures us they are in the process of offering new positions to those who have been affected so we advise patience as the process may take several days yet. 


Work for Daily OTs - At this time, TVDSB intends to use daily Occasional Teachers in the usual manner with no limitations on the number of schools OTs can visit. PPE for daily use will be available at each school but no OT will be eligible to teach in TVDSB until they complete the mandatory Covid-19 Procedures training now available in the Employee Portal. The deadline for completion is September 13th and for this, you will be paid a full day salary.

Unlike during the emergency instruction that took place in the spring, OTs will be called on to replace absent Teachers/LTOs who are teaching remotely. Familiarity with "Brightspace" will be a pre-requisite for taking such assignments and OTs will be expected to conform to the timetable of the absent Teacher. The Board assures us it will be clear when an assignment is to replace a remote learning Teacher.

Website in Transition - Your TVOT Local is excited to announce that our new website is almost ready. We are hoping the transition will have little impact in our service to the membership and that you will find the new format, much more convenient. Also, don't forget to open an account there (using a personal email address) so that you have access to our Lending Library, the $50 Annual Book Rebate and the Professional Learning Development Fund. It's also how we contact members to keep you abreast of emerging news.

Did you know that TVOT members have access to Provincial ETFO conferences - 







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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Vote on the new Tentative Local Collective Agreement; ETFO Summer Academy;Take Action to Protect Long-Term Care homes;

Today is Your Chance to Vote on the Tentative Local Collective Agreement!

Your TVOT Local is hosting a telephone Town Hall today, June 17th at 4:30 pm.
To participate, call in at:
Toll Free: 1-888-396-8063
From Toronto: 1-416-764-8652
The Tentative Agreement is posted in the "Member" section of www.etfotvot.com for those who have set up accounts.
Voting will open immediately following the Town Hall today and closes 24 hours later on Thursday, June 18th at 5:00 pm.
To vote, log in with your TVDSB Employee ID #  as your Username. Your Password will be the last 4 digits of your phone number.
Voting link: https://unionvote.live/
For technical support about the vote, call 647-776-0950 from 9 - 5 PM
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ETFO Summer Academy
This year, ETFO's popular Summer Academy courses will be offered virtually so members can participate from anywhere they have internet access.
Make your selection from 28 courses, including some designed specifically for Occasional Teachers.
Registration for these July and August courses is open now.
Go to  ETFO Summer Academy  for more details.
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Ontario Nurses' Association's Day of Action to Protect Long Term Care is today.
Take action and send a message to Premier Ford to protect residents, nurses and health care workers in long term care.
The Ontario Nurses Association has three demands:
1) More full time Registered Nurse positions
2) A COVID fund for self-isolation and lost wages
3) The phasing out of private, for-profit long-term care
To provide safe care, nurses and health care professionals need safe working conditions, so spread the word and take action today.
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TWO WEEKS LEFT
Remember that all Occasional Teachers (daily and LTOs) must complete the mandatory online training modules by the end of the June 26th school day. You must also complete your annual WHMIS Review and Offence Declaration etc., all of which can be found in the Employee Portal.
Please email the office at etfotvot@gmail.com or check past blogs if you require further details.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Having Courageous Conversations

HAVING COURAGEOUS CONVERSATIONS
This material has been taken directly (with some minor grammatical modifications) from: Speak Up at School, How to Respond to Everyday Prejudice, Bias and Stereotypes by Teaching Tolerance
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” – Martin Luther King Jr.
PREPARE YOURSELF 
1. Mindset: Avoid being stymied by a discriminatory remark by preparing your mindset in advance. Start internally identifying yourself as a person who speaks up against bigotry and discrimination. Say the following to yourself:
 I am a person who will speak up against bigotry.
 I will not let hate have the last word. To help you feel prepared, come up with some ready responses that will work in a variety of moments, such as:
 That offends me.
 I don’t find that funny.
 I’m surprised to hear you say that.
 Can you clarify what you meant by that?
2. Tone and temperament: When speaking up, consider your tone and temperament. Remain calm and thoughtful in your approach. Do not react with shock or attack. Be yourself. Be firm. Be confident. Know that you are doing the right thing and that there is no need to shame the other person. Also avoid resorting to humour as it can send mixed messages to the other person around the appropriateness of their discriminatory comment or approach.
3. Assess the risk of speaking up: Try not to let unwarranted fear of speaking up silence you, but consider the consequences of speaking up and weigh them against the consequences of not speaking up.
4. Understand the dynamics of change: Change happens slowly and sometimes not at all. Remember though, that if you speak up, others may follow and others after them. You may inspire people to find the courage to speak up themselves.
5. Don’t underestimate your efforts: If changed behaviour is what you are after, keep that goal in mind and let it shape your response. Be a model for others to follow, As the saying goes, be the change you wish to see in the world.
IN THE MOMENT – BASIC STRATEGIES
1. Interrupt: You must speak up against every biased remark, every time it happens. Letting one go, them speaking up against the next one, send an inconsistent message: that sometimes bias is OK; other times it isn’t. Letting the first instance go without comment also sends the message to anyone within earshot that it’s OK to say bigoted things (or allow exclusion to continue occurring).
2. Question: Ask simple questions in response to discriminatory comments or exclusionary situations. This can create a helpful dialogue without being aggressive or accusatory.
Some examples include:
 Why do you say that?
 What do you mean?
 Tell me more.
 Did you mean to say something hurtful when you said that?
 Using that word as a putdown offends me.
 Using that word (or making that decision) doesn’t help others feel safe or accepted here.
3. Educate: Sometimes ignorance is at wok when people haven’t had as much exposure to diverse populations. Other times, people simply don’t know the negative power behind certain words or phrases. A good first step in addressing a moment of bias is to explain why the term, phrase or situation is offensive. It is not your “job” to educate everyone else about bias. People do need to take responsibility for their own ignorance. That said, you are in a school and education happens in schools. So it’s a natural fit to wrap education around moments of bias or stereotyping.
4. Echo: It’s powerful to be the first voice that interrupts bias. It’s also powerful on another level to be the second, third, fourth voice to join the interruption. In group settings, if someone has said something biased, and multiple people speak up, the echoing power of those voices can have a multiplying effect As the echoing voice, you can reiterate the anti-bias message or you can thank the first person for speaking up – or both!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

What to expect? N.B.Offence Declaration/Mandatory online training

What to Expect for September?
So it's official - school is out until September but then what?
At this point, we expect staffing to proceed as usual with permanent hiring to begin in late June and into July and LTOs to be posted in mid-August.  And after that, nothing is certain.
Please know that ETFO Provincial and your TVOT Local will continue to advocate for our members at every opportunity so look for further details as they become available.
And because information is evolving so quickly, we again encourage all members to register at www.etfo.ca to receive their Covid-19 updates and e-newsletters.
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Important for all LTOs and daily Occasional Teachers - 
All TVDSB employees must complete the annual Offence Declaration, WHMIS review etc. posted in the Employee Portal as a condition of employment.  As well, you must complete all 19 of the OTE modules listed there under "Employee Training". For daily Occasional Teachers, completion counts for all purposes as a half-day of teaching. LTOs will have completed many of these modules at staff meetings or on PA days, so there is no additional compensation. Failure to complete these will make you inactive with TVDSB and could result in removal from the TVDSB OT Roster.
Please contact Staff Development or your TVOT Local etfotvot@gmail.com if you have any questions.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

LTOs and Report Cards; Local Bargaining; Last Chance;

LTOs and Report Cards
The Ministry of Education has not yet sent out a guidance document regarding this year's report cards. 
That being said, your TVOT Local agrees with TVDSB that:
- student marks will be based on material assessed and evaluated between September and March 13 but if the LTO sees additional achievement in a subject area from April – June, this may result in an increase in the overall grade/mark provided on the report card in June
- though Term 1 reports were struck work during job action, assessments and evaluations were submitted by Teachers to Administrators on January 30th. This combined with material from the following 6 weeks will generate the mark that goes on the final student report
- in the absence of specific direction from the Ministry of Education, student reports will be written in accordance with: Growing Success; Growing Success - The Kindergarten Addendum; Report Student Learning; TVDSB Reporting Student Achievement Procedure. These documents listed above are available on the TVDSB website.
- LTOs are expected to use professional judgement in writing student reports
- There will be a COVID-19 statement from the Board embedded in student reports.
- The Term 1 column of the reports will remain unfilled
- Student reports will not be signed. They will be distributed electronically to parents/guardians centrally via School Messenger. Students whose parents have not provided an email address to the school will receive their report cards via Canada Post. 
Though the Ministry of Education changed remaining PA Days to Instructional Days, it is understood that LTOs will have flexibility during their workday to complete report cards and to engage with students, parents, colleagues and their own families. 
- Report cards are due to Principals by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 11th.
- LTOs will inform Principals by email when report cards are complete and ready for review
- If you were in a LTO assignment that has ended but the Principal has asked you to prepare the reports, please be aware that L35.00 (iii) of your Collective Agreement provides: "When a long-term occasional teaching assignment is completed prior to the required date for report cards to be submitted, the Occasional Teachers may be assigned to assist with the completion of these report cards. In such an event, the OT shall be paid for the time to complete the report cards up to a maximum of one (1) day. The rate of pay shall be the rate the Occasional Teacher received during the long-term occasional teaching assignment."

Please contact the Local at etfotvot@gmail.com if you have any questions.
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Local Negotiations
As you know, TVOT members have already accepted the ETFO Central Agreement. There remain however, many matters that affect the day to day working conditions of TVOT members and those are the subject of local negotiations.
Your Local bargaining team is comprised of Terry Card - President/Chief Negotiator, Nancy Springer, Vivek Nath, Farida Makhani, Sharon Pinylo and Kevin Utley, all of whom have been working with ETFO CB Staff Officer Susan Ansara to represent the interests of elementary Occasional Teachers in Thames Valley. These talks with TVDSB are ongoing and ultimately we will reach a Tentative Agreement. At that time, we will notify members and you will have a chance to either accept or reject the deal so please make sure you maintain accurate email information with our Local.
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May 31st Deadline - 
ETFO Provincial requires Locals to close their books at the end of June so let us remind you that the TVOT Local cannot accept late requests for our $50 Book Rebate program. This is an opportunity to purchase material to assist you in your professional development or in meeting your teaching needs.
Don't miss your chance - Forms are available in the Member Services section of www.etfotvot.com
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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

LTO Benefits questions related to Covid-19; Paid PD & Mandatory training online;Ontario's new VRP;


LTO Benefits during Covid-19
If you have been in a LTO and have questions because of services that were cancelled due to Covid-19, we recommend you check out the link below where you can find Provincial ETFO's ELHT Coronvirus Updates and answers to:

- My medical/dental appointments were cancelled. Now that my assignment is ended, will the plan cover my appointment?
- What happens if pharmacy would only dispense 30 days of my medication so that I exceed the limits?

FAQ re Covid-19
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Paid PD Opportunities
Though the elementary paid PD options that are listed in the TVDSB Employee Portal have June 26th listed as the date, please know that these can be done anytime before then (including weekends and evenings). There are lots of interesting options for daily OTs or LTOs in assignments of .5 or less so don't miss out on "earning while you learn". Check them out now - the list may be amended as additoinal sessions come online. 
Mandatory Training
All Occasional Teachers, whether you are daily or in a long-term assignment, have until June 26th to complete the list of modules listed in the Employee Portal under "Employee Training". Please make sure to hit submit after each module. When you log back in to this section of the Portal, if the check mark is still there, then it has been entered. 
The Modules are in one section and include:
  • IPOC Roles and Responsibilities Updated Video
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Epilepsy
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Concussion Training Module
  • September - Emergency Code and Asbestos Awareness
  • October - Fire Code Training
  • December - Slips, Trips and Falls
  • Video 1 - Violence Awareness and Handling Violent Situations
  • Violence Awareness Module 4 - Safe Schools and Employee Roles
  • Violence Awareness Module 5 - Harassment
  • Violence Awareness Module 7 - Management of Agressive Behaviour
  • Violence Awareness Module 8 - Domestic Violence in the Workplace
  • Violence Awareness Modules 13 - Recognizing and Coping with Aggressive Behaviour
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Attending Alternate TVDSB Site Safety Spotlight
  • Driving in Inclement Weather Safety Spotlight
  • Employee Accident Incident Reporting Safety Spotlight
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Heard about Ontario's Voluntary Redeployment Program/VRP?

Some of you have heard that Ontario will soon set up a portal to enable eligible staff in the education sector to volunteer for temporary redeployment in the community.  Occasional Teachers who are not teaching may apply to volunteer in the program and, if selected, will be paid in accordance with their collective agreement.

ETFO has also worked to ensure that members who opt to voluntarily participate and are matched to a community facility will receive the necessary training, orientation, safety and personal protective equipment before they begin their first shifts and will be paid while doing so. This VRP will continue until there is no longer an active emergency declaration under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. 

Members who are selected will be required to sign a template agreement and will continue to receive all compensation entitlements under the ETFO Collective Agreement including salary, benefits and pension contributions, where applicable. Members will also be entitled to receive the emergency pandemic premium, if applicable, and access the childcare benefit available to those working during the pandemic. The program may extend into the summer months if pandemic-related issues continue at their current rate. Members will be covered by the policies and procedures at the redeployment work site including the provisions relating to shift assignments, hours of work, breaks etc. They will not be covered by any collective agreement at that site but will have access to the local union representative, if any, should a question or issue arise.

Potential community placements for education staff include: residential childcare facilities and residential homes for youth; residential group homes for those with developmental disabilities, Violence Against Women (VAW) and anti-human trafficking residential sites; youth justice residential facilities; and emergency homeless shelters.  

It is important to emphasize that members who volunteer can opt out at any time without reprisal or consequence including
(a) when they receive notification of the redeployment workplace, (b) before or after their safety training and orientation, and
(c) any time after they commence working at the redeployment workplace.

It is expected, however, that they will give as much notice as possible prior to terminating their assignment. Similarly, their assignment can be terminated by the redeployment employer without any consequence to their employment with their school board.

Stay tuned for further details as they become available.

    Thursday, May 7, 2020

    LTOs still being posted; Mental Health Week (sorry forgot to publish this on Wednesday)

    Teaching continues...
    You may not be aware that the Board is still posting long-term assignments so we urge members to continue to apply for positions for which they are qualified. 
    Familiarity with online tools will be an asset in these times of distance learning so take time to familiarize yourself with the Board approved platforms. You can find training for much of what you need in the TVDSB Employee Portal > Conference Sessions and if you have not used all of your paid PD opportunities, completion of these sessions count for all purposes as time worked.
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    This Mental Health Week
    Each one of us has been affected by the strains caused by this pandemic, and though it is sometime difficult to ask for help, there is no shame in accepting assistance.

    Occasional Teachers now have access to the Board's Employee Assistance supports. Check your Outlook email for more information about .

    As well, there are community supports such as "Stronger Minds" by Beacon, a free digital program through the Covid crisis available at www.mindbeacon.com

    The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has resources available at https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19

    OTIP has a comprehensive list of services available to even those who are not covered by the Ontario Teachers' Insurance Plan so take time to visit https://www.otip.com/Help-Center/Coronavirus/Mental-Health-COVID to see what might be of assistance to your or someone you know needs support
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    Just a reminder to members to subscribe to the ETFO Provincial newsletters so that  you don't miss any of ETFO's guides on Responding to Covid-19

    Wednesday, April 29, 2020

    The Vote is in; Paid PD; Mandaatory online training; Book Rebates $50 and the PLDF $350

    Have you heard?
    Provincial ETFO has released the results of the all-member vote on the Central Table Collective Agreements and members voted 97% in favour of what was proposed.
    Was it a great agreement? Not really, but there were no strips and frankly, the focus of the province had understandably changed during the course of these negotiations.
    TVOT members need to be aware that their Local bargaining team will continue to bargain on their behalf with TVDSB.
    N.B. under the terms of the Central Agreement, the 1% salary increase for this school year cannot be paid to members until 30 days after a Local settlement is reached - stay tuned...
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    Paid PD Opportunities to resume online
    Given that there have been changes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefits/CERB plan to allow claimants to earn up to $1000 per month, TVDSB is going to resume hosting online opportunities for daily OT and those LTOs in assignments of less than .5 FTE. These count for all purposes as time worked (seniority credit, Teachers' Pension, EI etc.) and TVOT members will have up to 3 half-days available to them for the 2019 - 2020 school year so please check the Employee Portal for these opportunities which will be posted in the Employee Portal early next week.

    Mandatory online Training Modules
    Please note that all Occasional Teachers, whether in LTO or daily assignments, must complete the mandatory online training modules that will be posted by the Board in the Employee Portal next week.  These modules will remain posted for completion by the end of the school year. Completion counts for all purposes as a half-day of teaching and will be paid as a half-day of work on the last day of school. Do not forget to complete your WHIMIS review and Offcnce Declarations as well.  These are all necessary for members to remain active on the elementary OT Roster - the onus is on you!
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    The $50 Book Rebate and the $350 Professional Learning Development Fund
    Your Local has not discontinued to offer these programs to eligible TVOT members.  All applications for the Book Rebate must be received by May 31st for purchases made within 60 days.
    Applications for the PLDF must be sent to the Local in advance of the course to ensure that there is still money in that budget line.  It will be no surprise that more members than ever have taken advantage of these opportunities this year so please act quickly. The Local is currently accepting applications from members who wish to take AQ courses over the summer months.
    Application Forms are available on our Local Website under Member Services  www.etfotvot.com
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    Schools will remain closed until the end of May 
    Please continue to direct your questions and concerns to your OT Local at etfotvot@gmail.com.
    Take care and stay well!


    Wednesday, April 22, 2020

    Voting opens tomorrow evening; QECO; Your Mental Health


    Vote on the Tentative Central Agreement
    Thursday, April 23rd at 5:30 pm, ETFO Provincial will open the online balloting site for members to vote on the Teacher/Occasional Teacher Central Agreement. Posted there will be full details of the agreement. Please take time to look these over, especially if you missed the telephone Town Hall last week. Members may visit the site as many times as they wish up until you finally cast your vote and you will need your ETFO ID number: 1-888-838-3836.
    Voting closes on Monday, April 27th at 7 pm and we expect the results to be released by ETFO Provincial the following day.
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    QECO/Qualifications Evaluation Council of Ontario

    Wondering why you are still being paid at the same rate as a daily Occasional Teacher when you have taken on a long-term teaching assignment?
    Before the Board can pay you according to your qualifications, you need to apply for a QECO rating where they will assess the courses you completed and the grades you achieved. Once you receive your rating, it is up to you to submit this to the Board - it is not automatically sent to them by QECO. Please be aware that according to our Collective Agreement, you have until the end of July to get this into HR at TVDSB if you want your salary adjusted for any LTOs of that school year. Miss the deadline and you miss out so please do not delay. The Board will accept the card/receipt you receive from QECO that states your application is being processed, however it must show that documents were submitted in a timely manner.
    Don't forget that if you received your teaching certificate and taught previous to coming to Thames Valley, that previous teaching experience may be recognized by the Board and move your along the grid.  Check out your Collective Agreement or contact us at etfotvot@gmail.com for more information.
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    Re: Students -
    This Friday. April 24th at 11 am, School Mental Health Ontario, an organisation that works alongside the Ministry of Education to enhance mental health within our schools, will be offering a live webinar for Teachers offering resources and other supports for educators.
    Space is limited so act quickly. You can find out more about this at https://smho-smso.ca/blog/ontario-educators-invited-to-attend-promoting-student-mental-health-and-wellness-webinar/

    Re: Occasional Teachers -
    Though Occasional Teachers generally have no access to the Board's Employee Assistance Plan/EAP, TVDSB has arranged that during this time of Covid-19, all employees will have access to support provided by Homewood Health. (see email from Jeremy Roy sent March 91th on Outlook.)
    It takes courage to ask for help. Do not hesitate to contact Homewood at 1-800-663-1142 if you feel the need and be assured that services are provided confidentially.
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    Wednesday, April 15, 2020

    CERB and averaged days; Tentative ETFO Central Agreement; TVOT Local Annual Meeting; ETFO E-Newsletter

    Averaged Earnings and the C.E.R.B.
    It was announced this morning, that the criteria for eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit plan was to be adjusted to allow for up to $1000 of employment income per month and for those whose Employment Insurance benefits had recently run out. This may alter whether or not Occasional Teachers decide to opt in to receive the second week of averaged earnings from TVDSB.  Requests made after today's deadline will be processed for payment on the TVDSB May 8th pay date.
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    Town Hall meeting Friday
    TVOT members are reminded that ETFO Provincial will be conducting a Telephone Town Hall meeting this Friday, April 17th at 3:30 PM regarding the tentative Central Agreement for Teachers and Occasional Teachers. Members who have accurate information on file with ETFO Provincial will receive a phone call invitation 10-20 minutes before the start with details on how to participate.  This will be a chance for members to hear about the tentative ETFO Central Agreement and to ask questions before they cast their ballot on whether to accept or reject the deal.
     Update Member Information to ensure the Provincial Office can reach you.

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    Spring Annual Meeting and Elections 

    As ETFO Thames Valley Occasional Teachers may be aware, our Local's Constitution requires that there be an Annual Membership Meeting to be held each year between January 1 and May 31st (Article VII, Section 3 8.3.1). The meeting this year was to be held May 21, 2020 at the Lamplighter Inn, but given the Covid-19 crisis, this cannot take place. In an effort to abide as much as possible by stipulations in our Local Constitution, all duly passed by the membership, your TVOT Executive has voted to postpone the annual meeting to the early Fall. The meeting date will be the only change - all other stipulations regarding the meeting and election process will remain as set out in our Constitution but the current Executive will remain in office over the summer months. We will notify members of the new date as soon as arrangements are confirmed. Please feel free to contact us at etfotvot@gmail.com if you have any questions or concerns.
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    ETFO E-Newsletter
    Your ETFO Provincial Office is doing an excellent job of providing resources and information related to Covid-19 via their e-newsletters. ETFO Update #4 which has just been released, is especially relevant. We urge all members to subscribe at www.etfo.ca and stay updated as to how this crisis affects us as daily and long-term Occasional Teachers.
    Stay safe and take care.

    Wednesday, April 8, 2020

    Happy Holidays; Donations; Number of Days to Remain on the TVDSB Roster; ETFO news re Covid-19


    Happy Easter 
    Happy Passover

    In spite of this year's abnormal circumstances, your ETFO Local wishes members a Happy Easter and a Happy Passover. Traditionally many of us celebrate these times with family and friends but we cannot discard all the warnings to maintain physical distancing - our surest safeguard and the only control we have over this pandemic.
    Please take time to reach out anyone in your life who may find it difficult being alone over the holidays. I can assure you, this simple act will enrich you both.
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    Donations to Food Banks
    As someone teaching in Thames Valley, you cannot help but be aware that a number of our students come to school each day, hungry.  Loss of employment because of the Covid-19 crisis has added even more children to those in need.
    Because of our arrangement to promote OTIP insurance products, the Local has funds that are not been generated by our members. In this time of great need, your TVOT Executive decided to donate $4000 from those discretionary funds to our local food banks. ETFO members should know that Provincial ETFO agreed to match such contributions for a combined total of $205,000 in donations from ETFO Locals and Provincial ETFO to Ontario Food Banks.




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    The Requirement to Teach 10 Days per School Year
    Your TVOT Local is very pleased that in light of the Covid-19 school closures, TVDSB has agreed to waive the requirement this school year for elementary Occasional Teachers to teach 10 days in the elementary panel in order to remain on the Roster.
    Your Local office was well aware of our members' anxiety and we hope this news will ease some of  your stress.
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    ETFO and Covid-19
    As you have discovered, what is fact one day, may change considerably as we find our way in this new world. One example of this is the parameters for eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The federal government has stated it plans to ease these requirements so again, we urge members to subscribe for the Provincial ETFO newsletters in order to keep abreast of such news. Please know  that the TVOT Local is doing our best to advocate for your needs at all levels and that your best way to communicate with the Local these days is via email: etfotvot@gmail.com

    Wednesday, April 1, 2020

    As the Covid-19 Crisis Unfolds...; Voting on the ETFO Tentative Agreement

    As the Covid-19 Crisis Unfolds
    These are indeed challenging times.
    Many of our TVOT members are finding themselves without an income, including many LTOs who are finding the absent Teachers they had replaced, are now able to return to their classes.
    ETFO Provincial has excellent resources that can assist you as you consider your options:

    Canada Emergency Response Benefit vs. Employment Insurance
     - Though the full details of the plan are not yet released, ETFO has important information on each plan at CERB vs. EI 
    - For more specific information visit their Frequently Asked Questions about both plans.

    Supporting Members Throughout the Pandemic
     - We recommend TVOT members visit ETFO Provincial's Professional Resources information PRS Bulletin #108 for "Distance Learning Tips", your "Duty to Report" in the virtual classroom world, "Conflict of Interest Guidelines", "WSIB Coverage While Working at Home" and other information on navigating this new method of elementary instruction.

    ETFO Provincial e-newsletters
    If you have not already subscribed, the Local highly recommends you do so immediately to keep informed in this ever-changing landscape. Go to the ETFO hompage where registration begins at the top right hand corner.
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      ETFO Central Agreement Ratification Update

    ETFO is committed to replicating as closely as possible the ratification vote experience Members are accustomed to from previous collective bargaining rounds, while keeping our members safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
      Here is the information ETFO to date about the ratification process:
    • On Monday, March 30, 2020, ETFO subscribed members received a CB eNewsletter with tentative central agreement highlights, a summary document of central bargaining issues and events, and a ratification vote 'FAQ'.
    • On Monday, April 6, 2020, ETFO members will be receiving a CB eNewsletter with a copy of all Teacher/Occasional Teacher and Education Worker tentative central agreement documents.
    • Telephone town hall information meetings for members will be taking place between Tuesday, April 14 and Thursday, April 23, 2020. The town hall meeting schedule will be sent to members in a CB eNewsletter on Monday, April 6, 2020, and will also be posted on ETFO's Collective Bargaining Website.
    • General voting information will be posted on ETFO's Collective Bargaining Website on Monday, April 6, 2020.
    • ETFO's central ratification votes will be online and will take place from Thursday, April 23 to Monday, April 27, 2020. Detailed information about the ratification process, including a link to online voting sites, will be sent to members in a CB eNewsletter and posted on ETFO's Collective Bargaining Website on Thursday, April 23, 2020.
    • The results of ETFO's central ratification votes will be provided to members on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 in a CB eNewsletter and posted on ETFO's Collective Bargaining Website.

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    You Need Your ETFO ID Number  

    To vote on the ETFO tentative Central Agreement, TVOT members will need their ETF ID numbers. Do not confuse this with your TVDSB Employee number.
    The ETFO number can be found above the address label on your ETFO Voice Magazine, on your ETFO ID card with the apple or by contacting member services at ETFO Provincial.

    Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    ETFO Provincial Tentative Agreement; Updates in light of Covid-19; Strike cheques

    As you have heard, Provincial ETFO has now reached a tentative bargaining agreement at the Central Table. Details about the deal and voting will be released to members via the ETFO CB eNewsletter so be sure to register at https://etfocb.ca/stay-in-touch-2/easy-to-stay-in-touch/ . Improtant news will be sent out March 30th so don't hesitate to subscribe ASAP. You need to keep informed/


    To vote, you will require your ETFO ID number which is found on your ETFO ID Card
    or on the mailing addressof your ETFO Voice Magazine, just above your name.
    Contact the provincial office if you require assistance.


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    News in light of Covid-19

    • the Local OT Office is now being monitored remotely so please contact us at etfotvot@gmail.com for assistance
    • Teachers, Occasional Teachers/LTOs cannot enter TVDSB buildings and have been advised not to post lessons online - future direction is expected from the Ministry and the Board 
    • TVDSB has undertaken to pay LTOs during the 2 week closure per their contract
    • TVDSB will pay daily OTs based on the average number of days worked in the 8 weeks before March Break (NB neither Teachers nor LTOs are paid for March Break) for the school closure up to April 5th, 2020. 
    • TVDSB has not agreed to pay daily OTs past April 5th so we recommend members look into Employment Insurance assistance.
    • Occasional Teachers who are retired and collecting a pension may wish to contact the Board to waive the payments if this averaging would cause them to exceed the OTPP re-employment limits
    Now is the time to listen to the advice of experts - do what you must to keep yourself and those around you, safe and healthy! 
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    Strike Cheques
    With 83,000 members eligible for strike pay, it is understandable that Provincial ETFO has experienced some difficulties processing strike pay cheques.
    Please know that the Local will continue to help members address these issues so please email us with full details at etfotvot@gmail.com and we will help sort out such difficulties.