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Day 1 - Annual Meeting 2021 Gets Underway

ETFO’s Annual Meeting 2021 got underway today, August 17, 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this annual meeting is being held virtually. More than 650 delegates are in attendance and will set the policies and directions for ETFO for the coming year and elect its provincial Executive for 2021-2023.

At 9:30 a.m. ETFO Staff James Taylor welcomed delegates and introduced the Parliamentarian Team: Doris Duni, Yolanda B’Dacy, Wulf Heidecker and Lanny Fleming. Ms. Duni called Annual Meeting 2021 to order and opened the meeting with the following items:


  • Indigenous Elder Opening
  • In Memoriam – a moment of silence in memory of members who have passed away during the past year
  • Confirmation of the number of registered delegates
  • Human Rights Statement
  • Land Acknowledgement Statement
  • Operating Procedures
  • Parliamentarian Guidelines
  • Minutes of 2020 Annual Meeting
Prior to the President’s Opening Address, a video was shown which paid tribute to President Sam Hammond as he concludes his sixth term as ETFO president. First elected to the provincial Executive in August 2003, Sam served as vice-president from 2004-2007, and as first vice-president from 2007-2009. He was first elected ETFO president in 2009. Sam will continue to advocate for quality public education in his new role as President of the Canadian Teacher’s Federation. In his final President’s Opening Address, President Hammond thanked members for their incredible work during such a difficult year in this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. He also thanked local leaders and members of the provincial Executive for their work and highlighted the importance of the lobbying, advocacy and organizing that ETFO members engaged in during the pandemic to pressure the government to put in place additional safety measures in public schools.

President Hammond looked back at some of the achievements that ETFO members have collectively fought for and the ongoing advocacy for public education:

Twelve years ago, when I was elected president, I could not have imagined all the incredible work we would accomplish together. We fought for Full-Day Kindergarten, to bring Designated Early Childhood Educators into ETFO and for the return of the 2 percent of lost pay from the 2008 round of bargaining. We brought forward a Charter Challenge against Bill 115, challenged the revocation of Regulation 274 at the Ontario Labour Relations Board, won the recent Charter Challenge against Bill 254 and now are continuing our Charter Challenge against Bill 307. As the Ford government pushes for the extension of online learning beyond the pandemic, we are fighting back against the privatization of our public education system.”

President Hammond addressed the underfunding of public education by the Ford government and the projected budget cuts to public education over the coming decade. He also spoke about the Ford government attack on democratic rights and the use, for the first time in Ontario’s history, of the notwithstanding clause to pass Bill 307 which reintroduced changes to election laws that the Ontario Superior Court had ruled unconstitutional.

President Hammond issued a call to action to all educators and supporters of public education:

“On June 2, 2022, we must elect a government that prioritizes all of our safety and well-being and believes in a publicly funded and publicly delivered education system. We must elect a government that understands that our long-term recovery from this pandemic relies on investment in our communities and our public services. But we will have to spend this year working hard together to make that happen.”

President Hammond concluded his final Opening Address by thanking delegates:

“I know that working together to defend and advance public education and for the benefit and well-being of all our communities will bring all of us renewed energy and hope.
A heartfelt thank you to all of you. What an incredible pleasure and honour it has been to serve as your president.”


Candidates for the Provincial Executive 2021-2023


Returning Officer Susan Ritchie will oversee the nomination and election process during Annual Meeting 2021. After nominations closed, candidates were able to address delegates through video messages. These are the nominated candidates for the provincial Executive for 2021-2023.

Name Local

Karen Brown

Elementary Teachers of Toronto Local (acclaimed)

Name Local
David Mastin Durham Teacher Local (acclaimed)
Name Local
Shirley Bell Kawartha Pine Ridge Teacher Local
Robert Millard Elementary Teachers of Toronto
Craig Smith Thames Valley Teacher Local
Name Local
Monica Rusnak Ontario North East Teacher Local (acclaimed)
Name Local
Nathan Core Waterloo Region Occasional Teacher Local
Name Local
Amy Chevis Simcoe County Occational Teacher Local
Andrew Chittka Bluewater Occasional Teacher Local
Kimberley Douglas Keewatin Patricia Teacher Local
Cory Judson Grand Erie Teacher Local
Carolyn Proulx-Wootton Grand Erie Teacher Local
Mario Spagnuolo Greater Essex Teacher Local Greater Essex Teacher Local

Julie Stanley Bluewater Teacher Local Bluewater Teacher Local
Jenn Wallage Waterloo Region DECE Local Waterloo Region DECE Local
Name Local
Yvette Blackburn Elementary Teachers of Toronto
Mary Fowler Durham Teacher Local
Sylvia van Campen Upper Canada Occasional Teacher Local
Gundi Barbour Upper Grand Teacher Local
Gail Bannister-Clarke Peel Teacher Local
Name Local
Juan-Yahya Gairey Peel Teacher Local
Name Local
Julius Elementary Teachers of Toronto
Shideh Houshmandi Hamilton-Wentworth Teacher Local

Karen Brown Elected ETFO President


Karen Brown was acclaimed as president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario at today’s Annual Meeting. Brown has served as ETFO’s first vice-president since 2015 and was first elected to the provincial Executive in 2009. Brown is the first Black president to be elected to a provincial teacher affiliate union in Ontario and the first known Black president to be elected to a provincial teacher affiliate union in Canada.

“To effectively confront the Ford government’s agenda and defeat them in the next election, we must strategically build community power that puts people first, not corporations. We must partner with parent groups, communities, and our labour and education partners from the childcare sector to post-secondary. Working together, we will effect the necessary changes to create a public education system rooted in equity and social justice so every student and ETFO member can thrive.”


Read the press release here.

Award recipients


ETFO recognizes the extraordinary contributions of individuals to social justice and education in a number of areas. Each year awards are granted to selected ETFO members and non-members. This year’s award winners are listed here. Click the winner’s name to read the press release about their work. 

Anti-racist and Equity Activism AwardRabia Khokhar
Children’s Literature AwardBrock Greenhalgh
Honourary Life Membership AwardDiane Dewing
Honourary Life Membership AwardTim Cunningham
Local Humanitarian AwardJenn Wallage
Member Service Engagement AwardWaterloo Region DECE Local
New Member AwardNaomi Graham
Political Activist AwardVickita Bhatt
Rainbow Visions AwardDiana Andrews
Writer’s AwardColleen Elep, Chad Mills

Resolutions Round-up


The following resolutions were discussed today: 

New Business Motions:  NBM 1, NBM 2, NBM 3, NBM 4, NBM 5, NBM 6, NBM 7, NBM 8A, NBM 8B


The following resolutions were adopted today: NBM 1, NBM 3, NBM 4

Motions passed Session 2 - August 17, 2021