President Sam Hammond delivered an address that opened ETFO’s 2016 Annual Meeting. President Hammond provided an overview of the work being done at ETFO and the activities the Federation has undertaken over the past year. President Hammond thanked delegates for taking time out of their summer and spending a week in Toronto to advance the business of their Federation.
President Hammond touched on a number of issues of interest and concern to members and their Federation over what was a very busy and challenging school year. He thanked ETFO Stewards for all their hard work maintaining member solidarity during job action throughout the 2014 round of collective bargaining. He also recognized the dedication of General Secretary Victoria Reaume, who will be leaving ETFO at the end of August, and introduced Sharon O’Halloran to the delegates as the incoming General Secretary.
During his speech, President Hammond addressed many issues, including:
- the significant amount of professional development, social justice and equity programs and activities provided by ETFO for its members,
- the social justice advocacy work that ETFO supports as part of its objects and priorities, such as adopting the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, supporting Syrian relief efforts and programming addressing white privilege,
- ETFO’s community outreach activities that promoted the Sick Not Weak campaign (focussing on ending the stigma of mental health), the Fix Our Schools campaign (an organization lobbying the government to invest in safe, accessible and appropriate school buildings) and donated to assist those affected by fires in Fort McMurray
- the gains made and the challenges presented during the 2014 round of collective bargaining, which concluded in November 2015.
President Hammond also celebrated our Bill 115 Charter Challenge win in April 2016. The Ontario Superior Court decision made it very clear that when the government quashed ETFO members’ collective bargaining rights during the 2012 round of bargaining, it also clearly violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. ETFO is now in discussions with the government about negotiating a remedy for this violation of our members’ rights.
President Hammond concluded his address by reminding delegates that “educators have the rare privilege to influence the future, which we do every day in our classrooms. We can do this, too, in our communities, working with others who share our vision of a better future.”
Video of the full speech will be available on this site on Tuesday.