Together we are #ETFOstrong

Honorary Life Member Award Winner: Ken Collins

Media Release

Ken’s contributions to ETFO and greater teacher advocacy has spanned the better part of three decades. As an ETFO teacher, local union leader and provincial union leader, Ken’s efforts to assist teachers, schools and their communities to thrive has been a constant.  He has made a real difference with his actions. Most recently, until his retirement last year as Executive Director of QECO/COEQ, Ken had established rigorous organizational policies to ensure all teachers’ qualifications and credentials were treated equitably. 

Prior to QECO, Ken was an ETFO Provincial Executive member during the fledgling organization’s first four years and served as Vice-President for three of them.  He was a vocal advocate of affiliate solidarity.  Ken’s political fire was particularly stoked during the Mike Harris years when education and other provincial social programs were decimated.  Ken rarely missed a rally, protest or social justice parade and never missed an opportunity to take up the microphone.  If you didn’t see him at these events, it was probably because he was the person with the unenviable task of wearing the huge 10-foot Mike Harris effigy puppet costume at which rally goers could vent their wrath – someone had to do it!

Early in his teaching career Ken recognized co-operation among all affiliates as being the best defense against the threats that were being posed by the regressive Harris government.  But even before that time, Ken was already a collaborative practitioner, working with his coterminous affiliate counterparts in Sudbury where he was a local president for four years. 

Ken never backed away from issues of social injustice.  As ETFO provincial Vice- President he was also Co-chair of the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice and he also chaired the ETFO workgroup which drafted and brought to the annual meeting the ETFO draft policy statement on social justice and equity.  Ken has participated in numerous Pride activities, has stood shoulder to shoulder with brothers and sisters of the OFL and CLC and has stood with the Raging Grannies and other like-minded advocates of fair living conditions, worker’s rights and social advocacy.

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