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Provincial Schools Authority

Annual Business Plan 2015-2016 to 2017-2018

Mandate

The Provincial Schools Authority (PSA) was established in 1975 under the Provincial Schools Negotiations Act. It is an operational service agency of the Ministry of Education. The Authority is the employer of record for teachers, principals and vice-principals employed in provincially operated schools, none of whom are Crown employees.

The PSA is involved in collective bargaining with the bargaining unit of all teachers employed in provincially operated schools called the Provincial Schools Authority Teachers (PSAT). The PSA also formally ratifies the PSAT collective agreement following direct consultation with the Director of the Provincial Schools Branch (PSB).

Members of the PSA hold meetings to discuss issues regarding the employment of teachers in the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. On advice from the Provincial Schools Branch Administration, the PSA makes decisions regarding teacher leave requests and other provisions of the collective agreement, and hear grievances according to the procedures outlined in the PSAT collective agreement.

Strategic Direction

The PSA aims to perform its role as the employer of record for teachers, principals and vice principals working in provincially operated schools in a fair, equitable and efficient manner and in compliance with the Provincial Schools Authority Act (formerly the Provincial Schools Negotiations Act).

In April 2014, Bill 122, the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, amended and re-named the Provincial Schools Negotiations Act to the Provincial Schools Authority Act (PSAA). Under the PSAA, the role of the PSA as the employer of record for teachers, principals and vice-principals in provincially operated schools has not changed. Consistent with the previous legislation, the PSAAprovides that the Provincial Schools Authority (PSA) is responsible for all matters relating to the employment of teachers in provincial schools. The Act also provides that all matters relating to administration in respect of teachers are the responsibility of the Deputy Minister, who delegates this to the Director of Provincial Schools Branch (PSB).  The Director of PSB oversees and is responsible for the day to day operations of the organization including all issues related to teachers and students.

Under the Provincial Schools Negotiations Act, the PSA previously negotiated collective agreements with PSAT on behalf of the ministries of Education, and Community Safety and Correctional Services. However, the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014, now identifiesthe Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) as the bargaining agent for PSAT at the central bargaining table. The current PSAT collective agreement expired on August 31, 2014 and the Crown and OSSTF have agreed to include PSAT in central bargaining. Under this arrangement, the PSA acts as the employer at the central bargaining table and is also responsible for collective bargaining at the local level once central bargaining is complete. The impact of these changes on the PSA is expected to be minimal.

During collective bargaining in 2015-16, the PSA will:

  • Review and advise on the negotiations mandate for the PSAT collective agreement;
  • Monitor negotiations and provide advice to the Provincial Schools Branch Administration as necessary; and
  • Ratify and sign the next PSAT collective agreement.

The PSA will enlist the assistance of the Treasury Board Secretariat, Employee Relations Division as needed in any negotiations concerning collective bargaining, the PSAT collective agreement and other labour related issues.

The PSA is also the employer of record for principals and vice-principals in provincially operated schools, who do not have a collective agreement. The PSA will continue to review and advise on the terms and conditions of employment for principals and vice-principals.

Environmental Scan/ Background

The PSA is the employer of record of teachers, principals and vice-principals who work in provincially operated schools. In 2015-16, there are approximately 200 teachers and 14 principals and vice-principals.

Teachers employed by the Provincial Schools Authority teach students who are part of the public education system but for various reasons or needs, cannot be accommodated in a District School Board program.  The vast majority of these teachers are employed in schools directly operated by the Ministry of Education. These schools provide direct education to elementary and secondary school students who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/low vision, deaf-blind, and severely learning disabled. The schools also provide outreach services and teacher in-service for school boards.  The remainder of the PSA employees work in the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services teaching students who cannot attend regular schools.

The students served by the Provincial Schools tend to need intensive support.  For some students, this support involves more than a skilled teacher and can range from orientation and mobility training to intensive support of communication skills outside the classroom in order to provide the students with the skills needed to succeed.
The salary and benefit costs associated with provincial school employees are part of the expenditures of the Ministries where these employees provide service. Management Board of Cabinet and the Ministry of Education set the compensation strategy for these employee groups when they determine the negotiation strategy for collective bargaining with PSAT and when they negotiate terms and conditions of employment with principals and vice principals.

Overview of Activities

The PSA addresses issues related to the terms and conditions of employment of teachers, principals and vice principals employed in provincially operated schools. Activities include:

  • Receiving and deciding on leave applications from teachers, principals and vice-principals in an equitable and efficient manner and in compliance with the terms of employment for each group;
  • Hearing PSAT grievances at second step in a timely manner; and
  • Resolving grievances in a fair and equitable manner and in compliance with the PSAT collective agreement.

During PSA meetings, members discuss issues regarding the employment of teachers, principals and vice-principals working in provincially operated schools.

Resource Requirements

The PSA consists of a Board comprised of five (5) members: a chair, a vice chair and 3 additional members. The members of the board are employees of the Ontario Public Service and are appointed by Order in Council under the Public Service Act of Ontario. As civil servants, the members are subject to the Public Service of Ontario Act and to the policies established in OPS directives. Members do not receive any financial compensation from the PSA for their work.

List of appointees as of June 26,2015:
Position Name Expiry Date of Current
Order in Council
Chair Vacant Vacant
Vice Chair Vacant Vacant
Member Sandy Palinski March, 2017
Member Anita Bennett March, 2017
Member Terry Angle March, 2017

The PSA and the Ministry of Education will collaborate on appointing a vice-chair by the end of the 2015-16 fiscal year.

The PSA does not have extensive resource requirements. The budget of the PSA is approximately $30,000 per year for travel, translation expenses and administration of the collective agreement including arbitration costs.  Additionally, the PSA receives operational support from employees of the Provincial Schools Branch.

Risk Assessment and Management

As teacher bargaining takes place in 2015-16, the PSA will require timely, accurate advice on labour relations and negotiations issues. To mitigate risks of delays in receiving advice, the PSA will maintain a proactive relationship with the Treasury Board Secretariat, Employee Relations Division.

The chair and vice-chair positions of the PSA are currently vacant. To mitigate this risk, the Ministry will work with the public appointments secretariat to fill the vacant chair and vice-chair positions and will ensure the expiry date of these appointments are different from the current members.

Performance Measure

The PSA aims to meet 2-3 times a year during a normal operating cycle to discuss issues raised by PSAT. The PSA will continue to strive to improve relations with all labour organizations.

Budget

The PSA budget is provided by the Provincial Schools Branch of the Ministry of Education from its base budget.  The allocation is $30,000 annually.  These funds are intended for:

  • Travel expenses incurred by members coming to meetings or hearing grievances;
  • Services (including interpreters and translators Provincial Schools has both English and French speaking schools); and
  • Costs associated with the administration of the collective agreement including arbitration hearings.