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What a year it has been

June 9, 2020


When I ran for the job of ATA president, I knew it would be a busy one. Partway through last year, my first as president, I created a list of issues that the ATA had dealt with since I took office on July 2, 2019. I kept the list going for the rest of the year. It’s only partially complete, and a list can’t fully capture the work and energy expended by ATA staff, Provincial Executive Council and other ATA members, but it does provide a glimpse of what turned out to be one dramatic year. 

There are still several weeks to go before the end of the 2019/20 school year. As we put a tumultuous year behind us, I wish you a restful summer. You deserve it. ❚




June 19
Bill 9, the Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act, halts wage arbitration talks with the ATA and other public sector unions until the end of October. 

June 24
Government announces return of Grade 3 PATs/SLAs.

July 3
Bill 8 amends the Education Act, removing protections for GSAs in schools.

August 16
Government cancels memorandum of understanding that named ATA as partner in new curriculum development.

August 22
Announcement of Curriculum Advisory Panel. Active teacher reps excluded from panel.

August 29
Alberta lifts ban on seclusion rooms.

August 31
School fees/transportation cap removed.

Last week of August/first week of September: start of school year with no budget.

September 1
Removal of public from official school board names takes effect.

September 3
Mackinnon Report recommends spending cuts and legislated public sector salaries.

October 18
Government cancels Class Size Initiative and recording of class size data.

October 24
Budget tabled with $275 million shortfall in education funding.

November 8
Survey conducted for Choice in Education Act.

November 19
CBE and other boards report job losses due to funding shortfall.

November 21
Bill 22 passes, enabling the transfer of control of teachers’ pension plan assets from ATRF to AIMCo.  

November 29
Politics in the classroom (social studies question creates stir on Twitter).

November 30
UCP AGM adopts policy in favour of voucher education system.

November 30
Government calls meeting to “bring balance back” to labour relations code.

December 2
PISA results released.

December 20
Teacher discipline makes news as education minister overrules ATA discipline recommendation.




January 29
Curriculum Advisory Panel/Ministerial Order on Student Learning releases recommendations; professional judgment of teachers called into question.

February 10
FOIP request reveals $136 million cut to education in Budget 2019.

February 18
Funding formula press conference.

February 25
Throne speech references MacKinnon Report, curriculum and standardized testing.

February 27
Budget 2020 references “own source revenue” and new funding model. Cuts still present.

February 27
March for What Matters attracts 13,000 public sector workers and supporters to Alberta legislature.

March 3
Alberta Distance Learning Centre service agreement to end in 2022.

March 13
COVID-19: Classes to continue during pandemic.

March 15
COVID-19: Classes cancelled for students; remote emergency teaching begins.

March 20
COVID-19: Government announces ongoing education requirements.

March 28
COVID-19: Announcement by government on operations includes layoff of 6,000 substitute teachers and 20,000 education support staff.

April 2
COVID-19: ATA cancels or postpones events including meetings, Annual Representative Assembly and Summer Conference.

April 14
COVID-19: ATA continues representation with government on working from home/school, rumoured teacher layoffs.

April 30
COVID-19: Discussions about re-entry to school considerations (ongoing), premier announces students will not return to class this academic year.

May 1
AIMCo discloses a loss of nearly $2.1 billion; efforts continue to repeal Bill 22. 

May 1
Concerns raised about PUF funding as programs across province start initiating cuts.

May 21
Education minister releases audit findings on CBE, and says she’ll fire trustees if they don’t make changes outlined in a ministerial order.

May 28
The Choice in Education Act is tabled in the legislature, with impacts on charter and home schooling.

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