2011 -2012 Advocacy Priorities and Initiatives
The four objectives of the CTF advocacy program are to:
ESTABLISH A TRUSTED DIALOGUE WITH FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DECISION-MAKERS ON RELEVANT ISSUES.
Our voice from a national perspective, encompassing the provincial and territorial design of education delivery, permits to address many of the societal and legislative issues affecting teachers, students and the overall teaching profession. Our current efforts are focused on:
CTF International Program: On Feb. 2, 2011, CTF received written confirmation that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) would not continue to fund the CTF International Program. With this decision, CIDA abandoned support of a program that had provided professional training and supports for teachers in developing countries for over 50 years. With support from Member organizations, individual teachers, partner organizations in Canada and abroad, and an email petition, pressure was brought to bear on the Federal government. Just prior to the 2011 election in May, a small amount of interim funding was provided to complete previous projects, as well as an invitation to apply for other funding from CIDA. However, by the beginning of 2012 CTF was advised that the two new proposals advanced by CTF to CIDA had been rejected as well.
In sidebar see:
- Impact of the CIDA decision to reject the CTF Proposal
- Globe and Mail excerpt
- Paul Taillefer response (letter)
Cyberbullying: On Nov. 3 CTF representatives met with Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to continue advocacy efforts on this area. CTF has been lobbying for several years for amendments to the Criminal Code that would assist in protecting teachers and students from harassment, libel, and defamation, bullying, etc. on the internet while ensuring that individual privacy rights are maintained.
Aboriginal Education: In September 2011 representatives of CTF met with senior staff from the Education Policy and Planning Division of AANDC (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada). This meeting was a follow-up from the President’s Forum in July 2011. CTF representatives outlined their continuing concerns re: the inequalities faced by First Nations children’s on reserves.
Federal Public Sector Pension Plan: Teachers in the Yukon are part of the Federal Public Sector Pension Plan. It was brought to our attention by the YTA that they were receiving concerns about the delay retired teachers were facing in the receipt of their pension upon retirement. A CTF representative spoke to Minister Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board about their concerns; we are still waiting for his reply.
Federal Budget 2012: Work was done in preparation for the budget including liaison and searching the work done by other like-minded organizations. CTF participated in the Alternative Budget process. At time of writing CTF was preparing for the release of the actual budget to provide information to Member organizations in a timely way and will follow-up with links to appropriate comments on budget items.
POSITION CTF AS AN ACCESSIBLE, KNOWLEDGEABLE ORGANIZATION THAT DEVELOPS AND PROMOTES ISSUES OF NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL RELEVANCE.
Advocacy begins and is strengthened by effective research and analysis. CTF is uniquely positioned to bring forward the voice of teachers in provincial, national, and international debates on the issues affecting education.
2012 International Summit on the Teaching Profession: CTF’s active participation at this OECD/Education International/US Department of Education event in March 2012 focused on preparing teachers and developing school leaders to better meet the needs of 21st century learning and ongoing education reform. The ongoing process of such reform always comes around to teachers – what are the necessary pre-service requirements, how teachers are assessed, and teaching-learning conditions. Canadian teachers are influenced by the outcomes of such discussions and have much to add.
Council of Ministers of Education, Canada: Our ongoing collaborative and supportive relationship with the CMEC gives CTF the opportunity to share ideas and potential solutions to real concerns and trends affecting the outcomes of student success. Our dialogues bridge the distance between provinces and territories in our pursuit for quality public education.
Canadian Education Association: A collaborative teacher aspirations research project with CEA focuses on “Teaching the way we aspire to teach – Now and in the Future”. In the first phase, focus groups were conducted across Canada in collaboration with our Member organizations. The next phase will be a national teacher survey on teachers’ aspirations informed by the feedback received from the focus groups.
Human Rights and Social Justice: We’ve partnered with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Assembly of First Nations, and the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights to develop a national curricular resource for teachers that focuses on Canadian Defenders, historically and today, as well as self-identifying as local defenders for human rights. The curricular resource package will be available from coast to coast, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, and in both official languages, because we believe that world peace and individual freedom are both rational premises and viable objectives for education.
BECOME THE “TOP OF MIND” RESOURCE FOR POLICY-MAKERS AND GOVERNMENT DECISION-MAKERS ON ISSUES RELATED TO CHILDREN, YOUTH AND THOSE WITH CONNECTIONS TO EDUCATION AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL.
As a national organization representing the various and respective perspectives of provincial and territorial education priorities and issues, CTF is actively involved with various partners in support of Youth and Teacher Initiatives to increase the quality of education of every student in the system. At present we are focusing on:
Mental Health: We reaffirmed our support with the Mental Health Commission of Canada in the advocacy of mental health within the youth and workplace populations. As a formal partner in the MHCC’s “Partners for Mental Health” public campaign, CTF is doing work to support teachers in the classroom, who are in a position to help students and colleagues. The issue of stigma is pervasive and must be addressed to ensure the health of our school populations. We’re doing that by:
- Surveying classroom teachers on the issue of mental health.
- Taking an active participatory role and promoting the campaigns that fall under “Partners for Mental Health”.
- Ensuring our voice and presence is visible within Mental Health circles to acknowledge that CTF and its Member organizations are well-placed to provide critical input, information, and research to support youth and teachers.
- Taking an active role in informing teachers, through our Member organizations, on information, links, classroom models, research, resources and links to other classroom experts.
- Playing a supporting role with the School-Based Mental Health and Substance Abuse Consortium, whose mandate is to review the scientific literature, survey education administrators on the issue of mental health, scan models and programs currently in use within classroom and community groups, leading to the development of a Mental Health Commission of Canada Knowledge Exchange Centre.
Sexuality Education: CTF continues to be active in the review of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Sexuality Education policy and resources by providing review and input to the final versions. PHAC is also active in developing or amending existing policy in other areas affecting the student population, namely bullying and mental health, two areas of priority for CTF and our Members.
Bullying: CTF continues to be a great supporter of PrevNET and is in discussions regarding the possibility of providing a central web-based clearinghouse on peer-reviewed resources for classroom teachers dealing with the issue of bullying, conflict resolution, peace building and restorative justice.
DEVELOP A REPUTATION AS AN ORGANIZATION THAT ACTIVELY COMMENTS ON FEDERAL POLICY.
Our voice from a national perspective, which includes the provincial and territorial voice of teachers, is often sought out by the Federal Government in its efforts to review and amend federal policy as it impacts on the teaching profession. Our current efforts are focused on:
Parliamentary Committees and Hearings:
House Standing Committee on Official Languages
CTF presented at the House Committee on the continuation of support for official languages across Canada. At this time of uncertain federal government support the presence of teachers at the hearings and the forceful statement of need from teachers have increased importance.
Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights
The issues of bullying and cyber-bullying continue to receive national recognition. CTF has been invited to appear before the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights on May 14, 2012.
Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services: Staff from several member organizations in Atlantic Canada and the North expressed concern about the wait times involved for vulnerable sector checks that were impacting on the ability of substitute and short term contract teachers to access job opportunities. A letter outlining concern was sent to the Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews.
A RCMP representative contacted CTF and outlined additional efforts taken to address concerns including the hiring of extra personnel and the distribution of 80 additional live scan devices across Canada to address the issue.
Update on Copyright Bill C-11: The Canadian Teachers’ Federation has been a leading member of a group of national organizations (Copyright Consortium) that have pushed for and won the new federal government policy position relating to Internet use in the classroom. We speak as a member, a chorus of national organizations representing seven million Canadians – from teachers to school boards, parent groups to educational institutions, as well as elected representatives and governments.
The Bill C-11 Legislative Committee completed its hearings and clause-by-clause work on March 13th, in a manner best described as “efficient and uneventful.” True to their words, the Conservative MPs used their majority on the committee to strike down any substantive amendments brought forward and to introduce a few minor technical changes to the legislation. Copyright Bill C-11 zipped through the clause-by-clause review, without any filibustering theatre, in about four hours over only two days of committee meetings. There were approximately 40 amendments considered by the committee: the eight Government amendments passed; all Opposition amendments were rejected. In almost all cases, the debate, divisions and votes were divided straight down Party lines.
Neither witness testimony and “last-minute” lobbying, nor the Opposition’s list of proposed amendments diverted the Government MPs from staying the course to approve all measures originally contained in the tabled Bills C-32/C-11. Whether it was allowances for the perceptually disabled, the compelling arguments of archivists and librarians, or the pleas from artists re new radio station exceptions, no new amendment of substantive nature survived the committee’s review.
On the education issues, we witnessed no surprises. The educational use of the Internet amendment passed without comment. There were no amendments considered regarding education and fair dealing – this passed with no comment. The requirement for the destruction of on-line lessons after 30 days remained with no change. Digital locks provisions are intact.
See copyright sidebar for more complete analysis