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As school boards across the province face teacher shortages, the Ontario government recently made changes to how teaching positions can be filled by publicly funded school boards in Ontario. 

Effective October 29, 2020, the Ontario government revoked O. Reg 274/12: Hiring Practices, which favoured the hiring of teachers for long-term or permanent positions based on seniority. 

The Ministry of Education (the “Ministry”) has issued an “Interim policy for school board hiring practices” (the “Interim Policy”), which provides guidance to publicly funded school boards until they are able to develop their own, localized teacher hiring policies that meet the expectation set out in the Ministry’s Policy/Program Memorandum (the “PPM”). The PPM is intended to be issued in November and will provide guidance for the development of a “strong and diverse workforce” based on the following principles:

  • Promoting diversity, equity and human rights;
  • Qualifications and merit;
  • Enhanced teacher employment mobility;
  • Fair and transparent processes; and,
  • Monitoring and evaluation.

According to a government press release, publicly funded school boards will have until December 31, 2020 to develop and post their teacher hiring policies that respect the PPM and existing collective agreements. As such, publicly funded school boards should consult the Interim Policy and the PPM, once released, when developing their teacher hiring policies. 

The press release states that the government made the change to ensure that teaching jobs go to the “best, most qualified, and reflective educators”.  However, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (the “EFTO”) disagrees. EFTO’s responding press release indicates that it will be filing a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board seeking a ruling that the government’s revocation of O. Reg 274/12 is an unfair labour practice. EFTO claims that O. Reg 274/12 “is an effective deterrent to nepotism & favouritism in the teacher hiring process” and accuses the Minister of Education of spinning myths about O. Reg 274/12 in a recent Tweet.   

Should you have any questions, please contact any members of Siskinds’ Labour and Employment Group.

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