The history of the Educational Resource Facilitators of Peel is long and varied and reflects the diversity that the Peel District School Board represents. As well, our members working in their role as Teaching Assistants in Special Education, or; Designated Early Childhood Educators in Full Day Kindergarten are as diverse and unique as the students they support.
In 1981 Bill 82 mandated the inclusion of children with special needs into Ontario Schools. With that inclusion there developed the need for added support in the classroom for these students, as well as for staff to support them.
“Teacher’s Aides” were first hired to the Peel Board in 1981. Many of these employees came from Erinoak, where they had been supporting students with physical disabilities.
A small group of Teacher’s Aides met informally as an organization until 1983. In 1984 the Board recognized the “Teacher’s Aide Association” and allotted the organization the employment insurance (EI) rebate which allowed for a more formal Association. The first meeting took place on Wednesday, November 21, 1984.
Discussion took place within the Organization which requested the Board to recognize Special Education Assistant’s (SEA’s) in April of 1987. However, at the TA meeting on May 6, 1987, discussion and a vote took place which saw the Association name officially became Peel Teaching Assistants’ Association. Its members became known as Teaching Assistants.
- Education Facilitators
- Educational Resource Facilitators
- Teaching Assistants
A presentation* to the membership at the General Meeting on May 18, 2005 provided background support for the name change. At a vote on June 15, 2005, the Union name officially became Educational Resource Facilitators of Peel. This name was agreed upon and recognized by the Peel District School Board in the 2004 – 2008 collective agreement. The Board agreed to the Association name change only but continues to refer to the members as Teaching Assistants.
In 1983 there were 17 Teacher Aides within the Board. That number has continued to increase over time. In 2019 there are over 3800 members. As the number of students with special needs have grown within the Board, so has the need for their support. The inception of Full Day Kindergarten has also resulted in the hiring of Designated Early Childhood Educators. Click here
The Union is comprised of a Membership who is supported by an Executive.
The Membership encompasses all Permanent and Casual Teaching Assistants and Designated Early Childhood Educators who work for the Peel Board.
The Union is administered by a bi-annually elected Executive.
Schools are divided into districts, ERFP used to have “District Representatives” in each district. As well, each school had a “School Representative”. Originally School Representatives were called STARs (School Teaching Assistant Representatives). This structure allowed for an extensive communication and support network to sustain the membership. In 2014 a Steward pilot project began and continues to grow with a goal of having a Steward at each location. Stewards are an extention of the Union and are trained to help members on site.
Another communication link to the membership occurs through the ERFP website. The website was initiated in 2002 and was re-designed and password protected in May 2008. A second re-design was launched in September 2013. All members are encouraged to access the website on a regular basis.
Committees within the Union are defined as either a Standing or an Ad Hoc committee. At present the Union has 12 standing committees and 1 Ad Hoc Committees. Standing committees are written into the constitution and run from year to year, examples would include the STPDL, Nominating and Constitution Committees. Ad Hoc committees are convened for a specific purpose to carry out a targeted mandate. Once their target has been met, they report back to the Union and are disbanded. Examples of Ad Hoc committees have included the Wellness Committee, Name Change Committee and Negotiating Committees.
Communication with the membership is key to a successful and strong Union. The Union website provides updated and secured information. Verbal and email communications with Executive members and/or Stewards is also a good source of information.
The first General Meeting took place on September 23, 1987. Originally meetings took place alternately between Sir Wilfrid Laurier P.S. in the north and Britannia in the South. The venue was changed to a more central location at CBO to allow more members to attend.
The Union is governed by its Constitution which outlines the rules and regulations which support the Union structure. It also adheres to a Collective Agreement which sets forth the terms and conditions of employment for members within the Peel District School Board.
The Constitution was developed by an Ad Hoc committee, and ratified by the membership, in February, 1988. It was subsequently rewritten in 1993. It is updated on a regular basis in order to meet the needs of the ever-expanding and changing Union. Changes are brought to the membership for approval, through a formal process, which allows for the necessary amendments.
Peel Teaching Assistants’ Association was formally recognized as a trade union by the Ministry of Labour on March 17, 1999. This allowed the Union to formally bargain its first collective agreement, which ran from September 1, 1999 to August 31, 2002.
A Negotiating Team is formed to bargain each collective agreement. The team is comprised of elected representatives from different areas of the bargaining union: behaviour, special needs, DECE’s and casual; five members of the executive and 1 legal counsel round out the team.
The Bargaining team negotiates working conditions and compensation for its members.
Pay equity was legislated to be implemented on January 1, 1990. The Board hired Stevenson, Kellogg, Ernst & Whinney to conduct a survey and develop a job evaluation plan for the Board to implement this legislated requirement. As a result the Membership realized a 2.3% pay equity increase on February 5, 1990.
At the Annual General Meeting every April, the membership decides on the selected charity of choice which the Association supports in the following school year. Along with an Association contribution, all fundraising activities within the group are designated for the chosen charity. In the past the Membership has supported various charities.
The Union has conducted its business from various locations. Until the Autumn of 2000, this usually occurred in the houses of executive members. The current location is located at 5080 Timberlea Boulevard, Suite 211, Mississauga, Ontario, L4W 4M2.
The Awards Committee provides an annual opportunity for members to congregate and celebrate achievements at an Association Awards Banquet. Past banquets have taken place at locations within the Board Office as well as in outside locations.