The Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) has led the fight for teacher professionalism and high-quality public education for over 75 years. At 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, OTF President and OTF Representative Diane Dewing provided her report and pension update to delegates.
In reflecting on the past year Dewing exclaimed: “Oh my gosh, what a year it has been!” For the first time, an Education Minister chose not to attend an OTF Board meeting, most minister committee meetings were not held and the government signaled it was not interested in hearing ideas and solutions from educators. In this political climate, the OTF pursued a direct community engagement strategy and utilized both mainstream media and social media to underscore educator needs and the core principles of professionalism.
As a unifying voice for several education unions in Ontario, the OTF works to safeguard the profession, pensions and public education. The commitment to teacher professionalism was a focal point this year, and Dewing stated that would continue.
“There is much to be done to improve our system, and we (the OTF) will not stand for erosion. We will stand, and stand strong for your profession and for your pension,” she said.
With an enhanced communication and media relations strategy, Dewing noted with laughter that she holds the record of the most media interviews in the history of OTF.
The OTF President assured delegates that the vast amount of work done this year will continue given the challenges of the government and that the OTF is fully committed to working, strategizing and doing all it can to protect publicly-funded education and the future of teachers.
“OTF will work hard, and we will fight to maintain the high-quality education system that we all have helped to build and fight to move it forward.”
Along with her term as OTF President, Dewing has been a member of the ETFO executive since 2007. The OTF report to the 22nd Annual Meeting is one of her last public acts as president as she retires from her teaching career at the end of August and is looking forward to her days as a citizen-activist.
For more information on the OTF visit their website www.otffeo.on.ca or follow OTF on Twitter @Otffeo.