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Boards of Education and Cultural Institutions (Sector 3) Spring 2020 newsletter

Message from the President

It has been a challenging year for our members in the Boards of Education and Cultural Institutions sector. We stood in solidarity and fought hard during central negotiations to achieve a fair tentative deal without concessions. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our struggle continues as OPSEU members in the education sector work from home to continue delivering the quality education that students deserve. Other members who are unable to do their jobs from home are eagerly awaiting the day when they can return to work.

It’s been said time and time again what an unprecedented situation we are all facing. There has been a massive learning curve, navigating how to best support students through online classes as we all practice physical distancing to curtail the spread of this virus. I can’t say enough about the resilience, passion and dedication of our members. No matter what obstacles are presented, you have kept going, showing tremendous strength of character.

Thank you for your adaptability, your patience, and your commitment. This is not an easy time, and we are all learning along the way as we go. As this state of emergency continues, know that we are in this together. You have the support of OPSEU’s 165,000 members, standing strong with you.

Together, we will get through this.

In solidarity,
Warren (Smokey) Thomas

Message from your Sector Executive

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the day-to-day life of every Ontarian. OPSEU and your elected leadership know how hard this has been on everyone in the province including workers, families, students, and communities. Together, we are working through these unprecedented times of social distancing, supporting and instructing students from home, learning new technology, and waiting for the news that the virus is on the downward curve so we can start to reintegrate back into our workplaces and routines.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members in our sector for the patience and understanding that you have demonstrated as we navigate through these difficult times.

At this time, the Ministry of Education has indicated there should be no change in the employment status for permanent employees and long-term casuals on contract during the school closures for this school year. We will continue to follow up with the Ministry of Education regarding employment and payment for our members during the shutdown and through the extensions. Please continue to visit your board website for additional updates.

The leaders of Ontario’s education unions (OCEW, CUPE/OSBCU, OSSTF, ETFO, OECTA, EWAO, and FESSO) agreed to author a joint letter to the Minister of Education, demanding a seat at the planning table regarding schools and the fight against COVID-19.

Information is changing daily, sometimes hourly, and we are striving to provide the most up-to-date sector-specific information as we receive it. For updates and additional information on COVID-19 please visit https://opseu.org/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/

Introducing your new Sector Executive!

The members of your OPSEU Sector 3 Boards of Education and Cultural Institutions executive would like to thank you for your support at the 2019 BPS Conference!

On February 12 and 13, 2020 the newly elected team held its first meeting to develop a work plan based on the discussions, ideas, and needs that you voiced at the BPS Conference. The work plan that we created will guide the work of the sector for the next two years. Through discussion and collaboration, we affirmed our work plan to include:

  1. Communication: To increase member engagement, we will continue our Newsletter, social media presence through Facebook, and the Sector Website. We will email local presidents/highest ranking officers to request feedback on issues and concerns.
  2. Negotiations: We would like to plan the next Bargaining Conference for early 2022 to elect the OPSEU members who will represent us in the next round of OCEW central negotiations.
  3. Campaigns: In order to raise awareness and educate our members and communities, we will continue the #RedForEd campaign, social media campaigns, and continue with the postcard and petition campaign once it is safe to do so.
  4. Charter Challenge: OPSEU has filed a Charter Challenge against Bill 124. We will continue to update members as the challenge moves forward.

OCEW – Tentative deal reached!

On Saturday April 4, 2020, the Ontario Council of Educational Workers (OCEW) Provincial Bargaining Team reached a tentative agreement with the Council of Trustees’ Associations (CTA) and the Government of Ontario on central terms for a new collective agreement.

Many thanks to Jason Barker, Sandra Cadeau, and the OPSEU Staff who represented OPSEU at the bargaining table. It was a long week of late nights, teleconferences, and emails, but a tentative deal was achieved!

The OCEW Bargaining Team unanimously recommends the acceptance of the tentative agreement to their respective members. Members will have the opportunity to vote online from April 27-29, 2020.

Voting information and a summary of the agreement was sent to your school board emails this week.

Cultural Institutions COVID-19 update

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) local presidents worked alongside OPSEU staff to negotiate a fair compensation package for many OPSEU members. Both the ROM and AGO have been deemed a non- essential service and will remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local Updates

Sector 3 strives to provide you accurate, up-to-date information regarding sector meetings and local updates on a quarterly basis.

Sector 3 divisional meetings are scheduled on the following dates:

  • April 16, 2020
  • September 22-23, 2020
  • December 8-9, 2020

We are looking forward to having your local updates included on our agenda and featured in our newsletter!

We are asking locals to submit brief local updates and/or photos by September 14, 2020 and December 1, 2020. Some suggested topics could be:

  • recent concerns in your local;
  • any event that you have hosted or participated in;
  • updates from a GMM;
  • your local members at an activity within your region; or
  • upcoming local activities.

Please submit text and photos to Sandra Cadeau at opseusector3@gmail.com


The 2019 elected BPS Conference delegates passed a motion to maintain the same dues amount for Sector 3 Boards of Education and Cultural Institutions members. Dues will remain at 60 cents per member per calendar year. Your dues help to cover the costs of promoting the sector and the important work we do in our teaching and learning environments. An invoice/ reminder will be sent to you in April from our Treasurer, Donna Caissie.

OPSEU Boards of Education and Cultural Institutions members standing strong and united!

We are excited and looking forward to working with and for you over the next two years.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact any member of the sector executive or Sandra Cadeau, Chair at opseusector3@gmail.com.