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Council addresses pandemic issues


May 20, 2020 Audrey Dutka, ATA News Staff

Highlights of the emergent Provincial Executive Council meeting held April 29 2020, via video conference.

  1. Approved a new administrative guideline that allows Provincial Executive Council to declare that a governance emergency exists and to issue emergency governance directives that will supersede specific provisions in existing constitutions and policies of subgroups for the purpose of ensuring the continued operation of the subgroups.
  2. Approved the insertion of common text into local, convention association and specialist council constitutions.
  3. Declared that the COVID-19 pandemic and related public health measures constitute a governance emergency, which commenced on March 16, 2020, and which will extend until such time as Provincial Executive Council deems the governance emergency to be over.
  4. Approved emergency governance directives for locals, convention associations and specialist councils.
  5. Cancelled the in-person Annual Representative Assembly scheduled for Aug. 15–16, 2020.
  6. Approved a virtual Annual Representative Assembly to be held Aug. 13–14, 2020.
  7. Unanimously endorsed the candidacy of ATA vice-president Jenny Regal for vice-president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF).
  8. Approved for submission to the Annual General Meeting of the CTF a resolution that the CTF advocate with the Government of Canada to allow teachers working from home to be able to deduct the cost of information technology and connectivity from their annual taxes.
  9. Approved for submission to the Annual General Meeting of the CTF a resolution that the CTF advocate with the Government of Canada to expand the scope of eligible wellness account expenses to include the costs teachers incur in setting up information technology infrastructure to conduct their work from a location other than their school in response to public health emergencies or individual circumstances relating to health and wellness.

Highlights of the Provincial Executive Council meeting held May 7–8, 2020, via video conference.

  1. Amended administrative guidelines related to the fees charged for services provided by the Teacher Qualifications Service.
  2. Amended administrative guidelines to allow substitute teachers to vote on matters respecting collective bargaining if they were employed 60 calendar days prior to the closing of schools due to a pandemic or other occasion in which schools are closed for an extended period.
  3. Approved funds in the amount of $6,500, allocated from the Contingency Fund, to the Canadian Teachers’ Federation for transfer to Education International in support of a COVID-19 response fund.
  4. Suspended the 2019/20 local public relations; political engagement; diversity, equity and human rights; and Indigenous education awards programs and expanded the project eligibility for the 2020/21 awards to consider projects completed in the 2019/20 school year.
  5. With respect to Council election processes, approved that
    1. regional forums be scheduled and organized by the Association for all candidates during the election period;
    2. a “nomination day” be established on which all nomination papers are submitted and due;
    3. active distribution of campaign materials in any form be prohibited prior to nomination day;
    4. locals be prohibited from making campaign contributions; 
    5. subgroups inviting a candidate to any event sponsored by that subgroup during the campaign or voting periods of an election be required to extend the same invitation to all candidates running for the same position;
    6. the possibility of co-ordinating a special school mailing with only campaign and election materials be explored;
    7. a PEC election logo be provided by the Association for optional inclusion on candidate campaign materials; 
    8. an electoral ballot be prepared for distribution to the membership in the fall proposing amendments to General Bylaw 53 to reflect voting eligibility timelines for all active and associate members based on online election and voting practices; and
    9. administrative guidelines be amended to reflect current practices related to the voting period for elections.
  6. Received the report of a hearing committee that found a teacher guilty of four charges of unprofessional conduct. Two counts involved making derogatory comments toward students, and one count involved making derogatory comments about a student’s schoolwork, thus failing to treat students with dignity and respect and be considerate of their circumstances. The fourth count involved engaging in impersonations in order to display stereotypically gay characteristics, thus failing to respect the dignity and rights of all persons without prejudice. The hearing committee imposed a penalty of a letter of severe reprimand addressing charge one and a single letter of reprimand addressing charges two, three and four.
  7. Received notice of an appeal of a decision of the Professional Conduct Committee with respect to a charge of unprofessional conduct. A hearing of that appeal will be conducted by the Professional Conduct Appeal Committee established in accordance with provisions of the Teaching Profession Act.
  8. Approved the names of three teachers for inclusion in the Indigenous Education Professional Development Facilitator Corp name bank.
  9. Approved Council committee and representation assignments for 2020/21.
  10. Amended administrative guidelines to remove outdated language and to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of staff advisors and Provincial Executive Council liaisons in their support of convention associations and specialist councils.
  11. Amended the standard constitutions for local associations, with and without local council, to include a mechanism by which Association representatives are named to joint worksite health and safety committees. ❚


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