In 2012, Regulation 274 was implemented to establish a consistent, fair, and transparent hiring practice in publicly funded school boards in Ontario. The Regulation ensured teachers were hired based on seniority and outlined a hiring process to be followed by school boards.
On October 15, 2020, the Minister of Education announced the government would be revoking Ontario Regulation 274/12: Hiring Practices effective October 29, 2020.
Subsequently, ETFO filed unfair labour practice complaints against 14 school boards, on the basis that the revocation undermined local bargaining efforts by violating the statutory freeze period for collective agreement provisions. The statutory freeze period means that, while collective agreements are expired, the expired terms remain in effect until new terms are negotiated. The OLRB decision received on June 4, 2021, focused on two school boards: Simcoe County and Ottawa-Carlton. In this decision, ETFO was successful in arguing that there was a violation of the statutory freeze period by the two school boards. The June 4, 2021, OLRB decision can be reviewed on CanLii at canlii.ca/t/jgc98. As remedy for the school boards’ violation, The OLRB issued a further decision which can be reviewed on CanLii atcanlii.ca/t/jh8j2.
ETFO also filed a central OLRB complaint on the issue against the Crown on the basis that the revocation amounted to bargaining in bad faith at the central table. As of October 2021, this case has not yet been heard by the OLRB. A summary of what the central complaint is about can be found here.
After the Regulation was revoked, the Ministry of Education established an interim policy for school boards’ hiring practices that was then replaced with Policy/Program Memorandum 165 – School Board Teacher Hiring Practices (PPM 165) issued on February 22, 2021. PPM 165 took effect on March 31, 2021, with school boards developing hiring policies in the spring of 2021.
PPM 165 provides expectations for school board hiring policies to be developed by each school board. PPM 165 and school board hiring policies must be applied in compliance with the collective agreement and in accordance with any applicable laws such as the Human Rights Code.
PPM 165 does not consider the use of seniority in any way in the hiring process.
Members seeking information about a school board’s hiring policy will need to direct their inquiry to the specific school board.