Hope everyone had a restful, Spring Break.  Please see the info below about the STJATA Yoga Nite - "The Final Stretch Till June."

Where things stand with Bill 35 – The Education Administration Amendment Act

The Society expects considerable development over the coming year relative to Bill 35 – The Education Administration Amendment Act. The former Conservative government introduced the legislation on March 13, 2023, and MTS and its members were vocal in raising concerns with a number of aspects of the bill.

Based on that feedback, the former government made the following amendments before passing the bill: 

Bill 35 – The Education Administration Amendment Act received royal assent on May 30, 2023. However, due to its complexity, the bill will come into force in stages through selective proclamation and introduction of new/amended regulations. The new government aims to have the bill fully implemented by January, 2025. 

The Society is prepared to work with the government in drafting the professional standards and in all other capacities to help shape the legislation to ensure the protection of both students and teachers. Discussions with the government are ongoing.

Divisional Violent Incident Reporting Document (How-To)

STJATA Maternity/Parental Benefits Seminar:

Any STJATA Members interested in learning more about Maternity/Parental Benefits, we will be hosting a Seminar, lead by MTS Staff Officer Andrea Zaroda, on Tuesday, November 14th @ 4:30pm in meeting room B1/B2 at McMaster House.  This is a great opportunity for potential parents looking for information on taking Maternity/Parental Leave.  Please contact Kent McPherson at info@stjata.ca or call the office at 204-888-1314 to register.

The Witness Blanket Exhibit:

The witness blanket is a powerful art exhibit recognizing the atrocities of the residential schools era, a means to honour the children and a symbol of ongoing reconciliation.  Please see the details below if you are interested in viewing the Witness Blanket that is being displayed at Bruce Middle School. 

STJATA Maternity/Parental Benefits Seminar

Witness Blanket Exhibit

Workplace Safety and Health Training for Principals, Vice-Principals and Divisional Supervisors

The Manitoba Teachers' Socieety and the Manitoba School Boards Association, in conjunction with guest speaker Jack Slessor, have developed a one day workshop for training Principals, Vice-Principals and Dvisional Supervisors in their Workplace Safety and Health responsibilities.  The one-day workshop will cover the following topics:

This training will be offered twice this year on the following dates:

Jewel Casselman- The 2023 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award winner! 

The first-ever elementary educator to win this award, Jewel has dedicated her 35-year career to ensuring young children benefit from a musical foundation that can last a lifetime. We are proud of you!  

Jewel has been teaching music for 34 years, and is well-known and widely respected in the music education community. She successfully advocated for music to be added to kindergarten programming at several schools in the Winnipeg area, helping elementary-aged children build a foundation of musical knowledge to carry them through their lives, and sits on several committees promoting diversity, inclusivity and equity. She believes that kids should always have access to quality music education.

Important Substitute Teacher Info and Opportunities

Are You a Substitute Teacher? You Should Have an MTS MyProfile Account.

A MyProfile account on the MTS website is designed exclusively for you, our members—substitute teachers included—as a hub for information that keeps you connected and informed. 

With a MyProfile account, you can:  

Click here to set up your account and stay in the know on all things MTS. Questions? Call our MTS Contact Services staff at 204-888-7961, or 1-800-665-0584.


MTS Introduces Blue Cross Coverage for Substitutes

Starting September 1, 2022, substitute teachers in Manitoba can access a wide variety of health and dental benefits through Manitoba Blue Cross. To apply for coverage and find out more, click here.


Good-Life Fitness Promotion for Substitutes

 Any substitutes looking for a membership for Good-Life Fitness can contact the Association Office at 204-888-1314 or email info@stjata.ca for information.

Government Introduces Bill 35

Education Minister Wayne Ewasko has introduced the first reading of The Education Administration Amendment Act (Teacher Certification and Professional Conduct). 

Bill 35 will:  

redefine teacher misconduct,

create competence standards, 

outline the structure and composition for a commissioner and independent body to process, investigate, and adjudicate cases of misconduct, and

create a public teacher registry.

The Society’s research on this topic dates back to 2018, as we assessed other professional regulatory models and explored teacher regulation across Canada. This context informs our position that any regulatory framework must protect due process, natural justice and fairness for members, while maintaining the safety of students—recognizing that teachers occupy a position of trust, confidence, and considerable influence with children. 

As the process unfolded, MTS has monitored, provided input, and shared regular updates on the status of a teacher regulation framework under development with Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning. Last December we also shared the Society’s stand via a SUB all-member email. Click here to review. And most recently, on February 7 and 10, the Society had the opportunity to participate in a second round of consultations with government.

If the government intends to pass this legislation by June 1, the second reading will need to occur by April 18. MTS staff have already begun to analyze the document. We will prepare and share a response, promptly. 

MTS is committed to keeping all members informed as the legislation moves forward, and to remain vigilant, advocating for a model that delivers fairness for teachers and protection for students.

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society Opposes Bill 35

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society Opposes Bill 35. The Society does not oppose regulation, but Bill 35 does not protect teachers’ due process, follow the rules of natural justice and ensure absolute fairness.

Teachers are the strongest advocates for keeping students safe. In fact, student safety is the first point in our Code of Professional Practice.

Keeping kids safe should not come at the expense of making teachers vulnerable. Bill 35 exposes teachers to frivolous and malicious complaints because of its overly broad definition of “misconduct.”

The bill is also silent on union representation at public hearings—and does nothing to proactively keep a child safe.

Furthermore, professional competence is not related to protecting children’s safety and should not be part of any teacher misconduct framework.

At this time of acute teacher shortages, we say emphatically that Bill 35 will have a damaging effect on recruiting and retaining a healthy teaching workforce.

We insist that our members’ many concerns must be addressed in any proposed legislation touching on these issues. Bill 35 in its current form is unacceptable.

Nathan Martindale, President, The Manitoba Teachers’ Society

STJATA PD Fund Accepting Applications for 2022-2023

PD Info for the 2022-2023 School Year


Applications for Professional Development Conferences and Coursework are open for the 2022-2023 school year.

**Important Note**

Travel related PD will once again be permitted through the STJATA PD Fund. 

Should travel restrictions be implemented based on public health directives, then the STJATA PD Fund would be required to take the necessary precautions to adhere to the directive.

If you are looking to apply for PD, the application forms can be found in the shared documents section in the STJATA tile on the Division Portal or you can visit the Professional Development link on the website at www.stjata.ca to download the forms.

Other PD Opportunities for the Membership:

***Council voted on and approved that the Association allocate up to $100 per Member, from PD funds carried over as a result of COVID restrictions, to apply to the registration costs of MTS PD Day on October 21st  of 2022.


***Council voted on and approved that the Association allocate up to $100 per Member, from PD funds carried over as a result of COVID restrictions, to apply to the purchase of one book related to the professional development of that Member.


Receipts, for these two initiatives, must be provided in order to receive these funds and are required to be submitted no later than November 30th, 2022.  Please send your receipts for either items via Divisional Courier to the STJATA Office, or send digital copies to either pd@stjata.ca or info@stjata.ca for processing and payment.  

Please click on the link below to access the reimbursement form for MTS PD Day and the Personal Professional Development Book.

City of Winnipeg Fitness Pass Update

STJATA will continue to offer the fitness pass program in partnership with the City of Winnipeg fitness facilities.  That being said, there are some changes in regard to the administration of the program.  Moving forward, the City of Winnipeg will be handling payments associated with the fitness pass program.  Members will now purchase their own passes, payable at a City of Winnipeg facility.  

Current STJATA Members can show their school ID badge to prove their association with STJATA.  Retired Members will need to reach out to the Association Admin Assistant to request a one-time letter confirming their association with the Division/STJATA. The City advises that you hold on to your letter should they require it in the future. 


If you want to renew a 6 month pass you can do so without waiting for the previous November 1st start time. New pass applicants can start their year/6 month pass at any time.    


Those individuals that are sponsored by a teacher can have their sponsor fill out the form that is attached below.  Your sponsor will need to provide proof of employment in the division.  A current paystub, ID card is acceptable identification. 

STJATA Presents: An ESJ/Indigenous Education Webinar Opportunity

STJATA Executive for the 2022-2023 School Year

Congratulations to the following Members who will comprise the STJATA Executive for the 2022-2023 school year:


President                            Kent McPherson

Vice-President                     Joel Yerex

Secretary                            Leanna Crawshaw

Treasurer                           Jennifer Peters

Professional Issues Chair    Danessa Poiron and Stacy Kent (Co-Chairs)


Members-at Large:


Samantha Amaral

April Waters

Gary Fewer

Kyle Briggs

Transitioning to HumanaCare


As we transition from our own internal Educator Assistance Program to HumanaCare, members will have many questions. Communication is very important, and you play a vital role. The HumanaCare Q+A resource has been developed based on inquiries we are fielding. It is attached in English and available on our website: https://www.mbteach.org/mtscms/2021/10/27/mts-member-and-family-assistance-program/. French copy to follow.


Please note that the MTS EAP wait list is currently full and we are unable to accommodate new clients for appointments before the winter break. MTS members are encouraged to access their extended health benefits for counselling services before HumanaCare goes live on January 1. Extended health providers, such as Blue Cross, cover the following: clinical psychologist, social worker, psychotherapist, clinical counsellor, and marriage/family therapist. Members can access up to $850 per calendar year for these services, so those benefits will be renewed and can continue into the new year. Alternatively, members can contact HumanaCare in January. In addition, click the following links to search for counsellors/psychologists near you. 

·      The Psychological Association of Manitoba (cpmb.ca)

·      Find a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) or CCC-Supervisor (CCC-S) - Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (ccpa-accp.ca)

The Province of Manitoba also offers some services free of charge at Province of Manitoba | Be Well


The MTS EAP has offered valuable, vital counselling services to Manitoba public school teachers for many years. As our program closes, we look forward to offering new programs and services to support, educate, and advocate for teacher mental health and wellbeing.

Why are we changing from our current EAP?

The mental health needs of teachers are growing and becoming more complex. The demand for EAP counselling has increased steadily for many years, resulting in lengthy wait times, program limitations and inequitable access to important services. The change to HumanaCare means more timely access to counselling services for a greater range of issues in all areas of Manitoba.


How was all this decided?

MTS engaged an external consultant to conduct a review of our EAP in 2020-2021. The process included member and staff input to assess existing services, identify gaps, and consider a strategy for enhanced, sustainable, comprehensive counselling services. In September 2021, after careful consideration of the review findings, the Provincial Executive passed a unanimous motion to engage HumanaCare effective January 1, 2022.


Is HumanaCare the same as EAP?

HumanaCare will provide counselling services—like our EAP did—and a lot more. Under HumanaCare, we’re extending coverage to our members’ eligible family members, and we’ve increased the range of services offered to include marriage and family therapy, and counselling in areas such as substance abuse, bereavement, stress management, finances, and more.


I’m seeing an MTS EAP counsellor right now. What happens to me?

Anyone who is currently in sessions with our counsellors will be able to complete the sessions available to them until March 31, 2022, at the latest. We encourage you to speak with your counsellor about your therapy plan.


What are the current EAP staff going to do next?

MTS has long recognized that educators have unique needs that require a comprehensive suite of services. Our current EAP staff will use their experience, expertise, and skills in working with our members to develop new services including mental health education programs, mental health advocacy, and research partnerships, as well as direct services to members and locals. We’ll have more detail for you by the end of the school year.


So MTS wasn’t dissatisfied with the EAP counsellors’ service?

Not at all. Our EAP counsellors are highly skilled professionals who provided a vital service to MTS members for many years—and we still need them. They remain an essential part of the Society’s focus on teacher mental health, shaping programming and initiatives that will become an integral part of our ongoing professional services to members. The challenge for the EAP was the ever-growing demand for services, lengthy wait times, and inequitable access to service for members outside of Winnipeg and Brandon. We knew change was needed in order to provide timely, comprehensive support to all MTS members. And we wanted to offer services to our members’ families, too.


Who are considered “eligible” family members?

Eligible family members include an MTS member’s spouse/partner and dependants under the age of 21 who reside in the home. Eligibility is also extended to dependants in the home who are between the ages of 21-25 and enrolled in post secondary schools, as well as disabled dependants of any age.

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How do I register myself and my family?

There is no need to register. In mid-December MTS will distribute an access code which will identify you and your family as eligible for services starting   January 1. Watch your email and the MTS website for more information. Posters will be distributed to all schools, as well.


Do I have to keep the access code?

No. You only use the access code once, to create your personal, private profile with HumanaCare. Once that’s done you can start booking services right away.


Do my eligible family members need their own access code?

No. All MTS members and those eligible use the same access code. The code connects to a HumanaCare landing page where each of you will set up your own separate profile.

Can more than one family member access HumanaCare at the same time?



Can I contact HumanaCare now and get on a wait list or set up an appointment for January?

No. MTS members are not covered by HumanaCare until January 1, 2022. At that time, you and/or family members can contact HumanaCare any time, day or night, to request services. From there you will be connected with a counsellor. The best part: no wait list.


If I’m using my extended health benefits to see a counsellor right now, do I have to switch to


Not at all. Your extended health benefits are separate and additional benefits for you use as you see fit. You can set up a profile with HumanaCare at any time.


January 1, 2022, is a holiday. Will I really be able to contact them that day?



How many sessions will I have?

All counselling assistance programs—including our current EAP and HumanaCare—are intended to address emergent, short term counselling needs. Psychiatric or long-term counselling is covered under our members’ extended health care plans.


Is this covered through my union dues?

It is.


Can I see a counsellor in person?

HumanaCare offers in-person counselling as well as phone, virtual and online/text services, all in multiple languages. However, not all provider specialties will be available in-person.


Will I be accommodated if I have a preference for counsellor, i.e. BIPOC, 2SLGBTQIA+,

female identifying, etc.

Yes, you should ask for your preference at the time of your intake. Keep in mind, though, that your preference for counsellor may not be available in your community, or in person. However, HumanaCare has a vast network of counsellors and will work to meet your needs.

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Where do I see these counsellors? Is there a HumanaCare office?

HumanaCare contracts with counsellors in communities throughout Manitoba. Services may be provided on the phone, through video conferencing, or in person at the counsellor’s own office.


How many sessions will I have with a counsellor? Is there any discretion from the counsellor?

Members and their eligible family are provided with a clinically appropriate number of sessions (within the short-term nature of the MFAP). The average is from four to eight sessions, however some people may require more support and some less depending on their individual circumstances.


What if I see a counsellor, and then a year from now need counselling again. Can I see the same person?

Yes, this is an option. As long as the counsellor is still in HumanaCare’s network and has maintained their credentials, individuals can be set up with the same counsellor where requested.


24/7 intake, including holidays? We are live January 1 – does that mean members will have someone answer the phone that day?

Correct. Intake is 24/7 live answer, 365 days a year. It’s important to note that since phones are answered 24/7 it is recommended that if anyone is dealing with an urgent matter/crisis to call in and not use the mobile app or website to initiate support. While HumanaCare is quick to respond to inquiries via the app or web, they are not as immediate as a call in.


What if I miss the email with the access code?

No worries. In addition to the information provided by email in mid-December (watch for it in the MTS member newsletter, The Sub) you’ll find information posted on the MTS website and at your school, too. Your local association will have the information as well. Remember, though, that HumanaCare services are only available starting January 1, 2022, and the access code will be provided in mid-December.


I can’t get into EAP before January 1 and I need counselling services now. What do I do?

MTS members can access their extended health benefits for counselling services before HumanaCare goes live on January 1. Extended health providers, such as Blue Cross, cover the following: clinical psychologist, social worker, psychotherapist, clinical counsellor and marriage/family therapist. Members can access up to $850 per calendar year for these services, so those benefits will be renewed and can continue into the new year. Alternatively, members can switch to HumanaCare in January. In addition, click the following links to search for counsellors/psychologists near you.


The Psychological Association of Manitoba (cpmb.ca)

Find a Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC) or CCC-Supervisor (CCC-S) – Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (ccpaaccp.ca)

Just select Manitoba, city of choice, and hit search. The Province of Manitoba also offers some services free of charge at Province of Manitoba | Be Well

Important Changes to Member Benefits

MTS Staff to Build New Suite of Services for Teacher Mental Health and Wellness

The MTS Educator Assistance Program (EAP) has offered valuable, vital counselling services to Manitoba public school teachers for many years. Over time, the need for these services grew dramatically, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It became clear that access to services needed to be provided in a timely way, and the types of counselling services our members required had become more varied. New ways in which to respond and ensure effective service delivery were explored, with MTS Provincial Executive voting this fall to adopt a new model of service built on not one, but two pillars.


We’re pleased to announce that on January 1, 2022, counselling services to MTS members—and now their eligible family members too—will be provided through HumanaCare, an integrated provider of counselling and support services in Canada with more than 150 counsellors right here in Manitoba. Services include individual therapy, as well as counselling for family and couples, legal and financial needs, grief and bereavement, diet and nutrition, substance abuse and crisis and trauma. 

Support, Educate and Advocate

Our EAP counsellors are still here at MTS, migrating in the new year to a role that will build services to support, educate, and advocate for teacher mental health and wellbeing. Their experiences with members and unique understanding of the needs of teachers and landscape of education will inform this work. 

Any MTS members currently in sessions with an EAP counsellor will continue to receive those services for the duration of their sessions, up to March 31, 2022. 

City of Winnipeg Fitness Pass Registration Info

The City of Winnipeg has provided the Association with registration information for the fitness pass promotion provided to STJATA Members for the 2021-2022 school year.   Please click on the link below to access the registration document:

2021-2022 Council Meeting Dates 

Thursday, October 14th, 4:30pm (Virtual)


Wednesday, November 17th, 4:30pm (Virtual)


No December Council Meeting


Thursday, January 20th, 4:30pm


Wednesday, February 16th, 4:30pm


No March Council Meeting


Thursday, April 28th, 4:30pm


MTS AGM May 26th-28th


Wednesday, June 1st, 4:30pm (STJATA AGM)

Welcome Back STJATA Members

Welcome Back STJATA Members!


I’d like to start things off hoping everyone had an opportunity to have a restful and relaxing summer break.  As we enter the second full week of the 2021-2022 school year I would like to take the time to welcome all STJATA Members back. 


The start to the school year finds students and teachers facing similar challenges due to the continued presence of COVID-19.  The impacts of the fourth wave are already being felt in various parts of the country.  This has prompted the Province to roll out aggressive Public Health measures in an attempt minimize the potential outcomes seen elsewhere.  School routines and protocols will continue to reflect the necessary measures to keep schools safe.  The challenges will remain so long as COVID-19 continues to threaten the health and safety of the Community.  It will, once again, require a concerted effort to help ensure that we can return to the “sense of normalcy” we were fortunate enough to experience prior to the pandemic.  


As we have seen throughout the pandemic, STJATA members have demonstrated resiliency, perseverance and, above all else, a level of professionalism that has been second to none.  The Association will continue to work on your behalf to forward issues and concerns in a productive and collaborative nature.


I wish all STJATA Members a continued safe and healthy return to the school year.


Take care everyone,

Kent McPherson

STJATA President - contact info 204-888-1314 or info@stjata.ca

 2021-2022 STJATA Executive 


President                                      Kent McPherson

Vice-President                            Joel Yerex

Secretary                                      Leanna Crawshaw

Treasurer                                      Jennifer Peters

Professional Issues Chair       Danessa Poiron (Co-Chair)


Members-at Large:


Stacy Kent (Co-Chair of Professional Issues)

Samantha Amaral

April Waters

Gary Fewer

Kyle Briggs

STJATA Ratification Vote Results...97.9% in Favour

STJATA Members voted overwhelmingly in favour, of ratifying the changes to the Collective Agreement.

City of Winnipeg Fitness Pass Update (January 2021)

As a result of the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region remaining in Critical level (red) on the Pandemic Response System, all City-owned and operated recreation facilities, gyms, indoor pools, arenas, and libraries will remain closed until further notice.  

All purchased CEWP passes will continue to be automatically suspended during this facility closure, extending the expiration date. This will be done automatically for all pass holders; a verbal or written request will not be required. 

Please update your existing LeisureOnline account with your email or call 311 as future communications will come directly to your email address.

St. James-Assiniboia School Division Wellness Initiative

The St. James-Assiniboia School Division has embarked upon a wellness initiative for its employee groups.  The primary focus of this initiative is to provide positive mental health and well-being opportunities in the form of online sessions.  The dates and content can be found in the memo below:

STJATA Maternity Benefits Seminar and Pension Sustainability Seminar Info

The STJATA Maternity Benefits Seminar that was to be held on Wednesday, December 2nd via Zoom 4:30-6:30 has been rescheduled to Tuesday, December 15th.  Please contact amichaluk@mbteach.org or the STJATA President at info@stjata.ca to register for the seminar.


The STJATA Pension Sustainability Seminar (Early-Mid Career) is being held on Wednesday, December 9th  4:30-6:30 via Zoom.

Please contact ganderson@mbteach.org or the STJATA President at info@stjata.ca to register for the seminar.

Communications from MTS

The following documents have been sent out by the Manitoba Teachers' Society in recent weeks.  MTS has been sending out updates to Members who are registered with MyProfile through the mbteach.org website.  If you haven't received that information, feel free to click on the links below to view the correspondence being shared by MTS:

COVID-19, Recent Legislation and STJATA Member Update

The following information is an update on some of the most recent events as they pertain to MTS/STJATA Members

 Press Release from MTS:

Teacher workload unsustainable Government must act now

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS) is renewing their call on the provincial government to use the $85.4 million in federal education funding to hire more staff, increase access to teacher and student mental health resources, provide sick time coverage for substitutes, and deliver much higher levels of direct public health support to all schools.

“The majority of provinces have used this federal money to ensure that students and teachers are being given the necessary resources and supports,” said MTS president James Bedford. “The inaction of the Manitoba government has led to a situation where students’ learning conditions and teachers’ working conditions are deteriorating at an alarming rate.”

Bedford says The Society has repeatedly asked the province for a plan for the federal funds, but has not received a clear response.

“Their vague and non-committal responses are, quite frankly, unacceptable, and their silence is negligent,”he said. “Teachers are looking to the province to invest in education, and once again their cry is falling on deaf ears.”

Bedford said that since Winnipeg Metro has moved to the orange level, The Society has been flooded with calls from teachers on the brink of burnout.

“Some teachers are moving between two and three physical classrooms, to accommodate the two-metres of physical distance under the orange level,” said Bedford. “Because blended-learning is in effect, they’re also teaching online at the same time.”

He said there simply aren’t enough substitutes to respond to the system needs, and the current way of coping can result in safety issues (teachers moving between cohorts) and the intensification of already crushing teacher workloads.

“This is unreasonable and unsustainable,” he said. “Our membership poll, wrapped up two weeks ago, and nine in 10 Manitoba teachers were reporting high levels of stress this school year. Teachers have reached a breaking point.”

Bedford also pointed to the recent Canadian Teachers’ Federation survey, where Manitoba teachers are reporting that stress, anxiety, and depression; workload; and mental and emotional exhaustion are their top three mental health concerns, as they manage the challenges of teaching amid COVID-19. Eighty-six per cent (86%) of Manitoba respondents reported being concerned about the ability to maintain their own health.

“Teachers need some relief. Not in a week. Not in a month. They need it now,” said Bedford. “Without additional teachers, without access to substitutes, without addressing the mental health impacts of a pandemic, the public education system is in danger of collapsing. Teachers can no longer carry the load without help from government.”

 Recent Legislation impacting Members, and What it Means (Monday, November 2nd)

 Bill 45 – The Public Schools Amendment and MTS Amendment Act will establish a single tier, centralized bargaining model for all public school teachers, with the exception of the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine (DSFM).  Local bargaining will remain in effect for the DSFM in respect of their unique management role in minority language school divisions.

“The Society supports single tier provincial bargaining, providing that bargaining is fair, equitable and done in good faith,” said MTS president James Bedford. “We will not accept rollbacks in any of the gains that locals have achieved over the years. A provincial collective agreement must be reflective of the best of the best in local agreements.”

Current collective agreements will remain in effect until expiration.

“We will act decisively and fairly to ensure the best interests of our members are at the forefront of negotiations at a central table,” he said.

The implementation date of this bill will be dependent on its passage through the legislative process.

Bill 46 The Education Modernization Act is another bill that has been brought before the Legislature, but the contents of this bill are yet unknown.

What is single-tier provincial bargaining?

Currently, each of the 38 bargaining units negotiate separate collective agreements.

Single-tier provincial bargaining means that all teachers, except those in the DSFM, will have one collective agreement, negotiated at a central table.

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society would be the bargaining agent for all teachers while the minister of education would appoint the employer bargaining agent to represent divisions.

Provincial bargaining for teachers is the norm in the rest of Canada. Manitoba is the last province with a system of solely local bargaining.

What happens to DSFM?

The Division-scolaire franco-manitobaine will not be affected by any changes, given its unique minority French-language status and constitutional education management rights.

Is provincial bargaining good or bad?

The theory behind the provincial bargaining model is that, if followed as intended, this model ensures greater equity in salaries and working conditions across divisions. Across the province, there are currently variances in collective agreement language regarding items such as salaries, preparation time, extra-curricular activities and more.

Does MTS support provincial bargaining?

In 2011, bargaining principles and models for a single-tier and two-tier provincial bargaining system were adopted into MTS policy at Provincial Council.

MTS supports single-tier provincial bargaining, subject to the following conditions:

1.     Teachers remain governed under the Labour Relations Act.

2.     MTS will bargain directly with the Province of Manitoba (the funder).

3.     Bargaining must be fair and with an open scope.

4.     The mechanisms for dispute resolution, whether strike or interest arbitration, must be without limitation.

5.     The best provisions from existing collective agreements should be the standard for the new contract.

6.     The membership of MTS will remain, as it currently exists.

Are there concerns about the government’s provincial bargaining bill?

Yes. This bill incorporates the division’s ability to pay into the arbitration process, which impedes the neutrality of an arbitration board. This clause is cause for concern, as it is reminiscent of legislation enacted in the 1990s, which undermined teacher collective bargaining. A critical piece of a fair system of bargaining is an open, unbiased, independent arbitration process. Since arbitration is the only dispute resolution process available to teachers, it is imperative that this process remains virtuous.

Is my current agreement void?

Current collective agreements will remain in effect for the time being.

When does this bill come into effect?

This bill must first move through the legislative passage for bills, before being passed. Once the bill is passed, it will come into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation. This information will come at a later date.

 Recent Announcement from the Education Minister (Monday, November 9th)

 The Minister of Education announced yesterday that the Province would be spending $10 million to establish a provincial remote learning centre as well as giving back three PD days that were used at the beginning of the school year.

Two of these days will be scheduled before Christmas and one in the second semester. Divisions will incorporate these days into their calendars where it fits best.

The MTS President made mention that while teachers are happy to have their collaborative planning time back, today’s announcement does nothing to address teacher workload.

“Teachers are still being asked to do two jobs at once. They are teaching online and in the classroom at the same time,” said Bedford. “A French-immersion teacher told me that they are moving between seven classrooms. Teacher workload is unreasonable and unsustainable.”

The province will be using $10 million, from the federal government’s Safe Return to Class Fund, to establish a provincial remote learning support centre.

Bedford said that The Society has been consulting with government on a blended-learning model and submitted a proposal that addressed students’ remote learning needs in a way that does not add to teacher workload.

“Our position has always been that in-person learning and remote learning should be separately staffed by certified teachers,” said Bedford. “It is disappointing that our recommendations are not reflected in the province’s remote learning plan.”

The Department of Education has requested a meeting with MTS to discuss the details of this announcement.

Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen also announced that three non-instructional days taken from teachers at the beginning of the school year will be re-added to the 2020-21 school calendar.

“We have been calling on the province to credit school divisions with the three non-instructional days that were taken on September 2-4 for some time now,” said MTS president James Bedford. “We are pleased that these days have been returned to teachers. Collaborative planning time is crucial as teachers coordinate new learning and delivery formats as well as deal with a number of issues related to teaching in a COVID-19 reality.”

 Changes to Asymptomatic Members

 Please know that a change was made to the requirements of asymptomatic teachers and educational assistants being required to self-isolate when a household member displays symptoms of COVID 19 and has not tested positive. On Monday, November 9, 2020, the Province shared with superintendents and principals of funded independent and independent schools:

 Public health officials are advising the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region that anyone who is symptomatic, or has a household member who is symptomatic, the entire household needs to self-isolate. The symptomatic individual needs to stay in their own room and, if possible, use their own bathroom and not use common areas. Exemptions are in place for asymptomatic household members if they are a health-care worker or first responder. For information on self-isolation, visit:www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/updates/resources.html#collapse2.  

 This exemption applies to teachers and educational assistants provided medical masks are worn.

 MTS has confirmed with Public Health that the exemption for teachers and educational assistants may also be considered for custodians and bus drivers, if they are essential to keeping schools open and cannot be replaced. For all exemptions, these staff must wear a medical mask, in addition to all other Public Health measures.

September’s return to School

 With the first month of the 2020-2021 school year behind us, I would like to take the time to welcome all STJATA Members back, albeit under challenging circumstances.  This year’s start to school only slightly resembles what we would traditionally see as normal.  School routines have taken on a totally different look and feel due to public health protocols.  Through it all, our Members have continued to show caring, compassion and professionalism; all hallmarks of the dedicated teachers that we are.  As we begin to settle into our new reality of cohorts, health protocols and recovery learning, it is our students who continue to benefit from our commitment to their education and overall development.  The success we have experienced in the initial reopening took a community effort.  We can expect additional challenges that we will need to face, but working closely and collaboratively with our educational partners will help ensure that safety, health, and well-being will be a priority as we move forward.  

I would like to take the time to recognize the extraordinary work that STJATA members have been doing throughout all the uncertainty.  The dedication and commitment to not only your students, but the profession only further strengthens the impact that our Members have on the community of St. James-Assiniboia.

With no September Council Meeting and facing an ever-changing set of circumstances around the pandemic, the Executive felt it imperative that we reach out to our Members more frequently.   As a result, I will continue to provide a recap of Council Meetings as well as a mid-month update so as to provide timely communication with the Membership.  As the Council Rep for your school, I would encourage you to share any and all information that I send to you with your staff.

I wish all STJATA Members a continued safe and healthy return to the school year.

Take care everyone,

Kent McPherson

Click on the link below for information pertaining to the start of the school year:

St. James Assiniboia Teachers’ Association

2020-2021 Council Meeting Dates:

 Thursday, October 15, 4:30pm

 Thursday, November 26, 5:00pm

Wednesday, January 20, 4:30pm

 Thursday, February 25, 5:00pm

Thursday, April 29, 4:30

 MTS AGM May 13-15

 STJATA AGM Wednesday, May 26, 4:30

 Wednesday, June 2 Appreciation Dinner 

As the School Year Winds Down

Good Afternoon STJATA Members,

With the most recent Government announcement about teachers returning to school on Wednesday, September 2nd, there have been a number of questions that have come my way. Although the Premier has made mention that the September 8th reopening is tentative, what that means moving forward is really anybody’s guess. What we do know is that teachers will be expected to be at work starting Wednesday, September 2. Generally, teachers are already in their schools prior to the Labour Day Weekend, however, this announcement would require that Members be there full time, or their FTE equivalent, as of September 2nd.

The uncertainty of the situation that we are likely to encounter come September doesn’t put anyone’s minds at ease. We will, once again, look to follow the directives that come from PublicHealth as well as the Government as we move forward. From an Association standpoint, we will look for direction coming from the Division in terms of having protocols and procedures in place to protect students as well as employees during these times. STJATA will continue to address questions and concerns with the Division in an attempt to ensure Member safety, health and wellbeing are at the forefront.

I would like to take this time to thank STJATA Members for the absolutely incredible job you have done delivering quality instruction during these difficult times. I think it is important to know that the Trustees and Senior Admin Team share these same sentiments. Teaching during the pandemic has resulted in changes in how we would normally do things. Contacting parents and students took on an entirely different look, and often added to an already long and hectic day. One thing is for certain, you found ways to ensure our graduating students at Early, Middle and Senior years had as memorable an experience as possible under the circumstances. This dedication and commitment highlights the lasting impact you all have in shaping the memories and education of our students in St. James-Assiniboia. I am absolutely honoured to represent you!!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns as we look to wrap up the 2019-2020 school year. I wish every single one of you, a most well-deserved Summer Break!

Wishing everyone a restful and relaxing summer break,

Kent McPherson

STJATA President

Questions around the Fall Reopening

Below are answers to some of the questions that have come my way, as well as a response from the Manitoba Teachers’ Society:

When does the 2020/21 school year start?

Schools will reopen for students on September 8, 2020, after Labour Day. Teachers and staff will return to school on September 2, 2020.

Is the 2020/21 school year longer?

This school year will begin three days before the official back to school for students. This results in the addition of three days to the school year. The 2020/21 year is now 196 days long as opposed to 193 days. These three days are non-instructional days.  Since 2004, the regulations of the PSA indicated that the school year would start post Labour Day.  As a result, the number of days in the school year has fluctuated, between 193 and 198 days.

Can the government make this change?

The Education Minister, under section 76 a) of the Public Schools Act, makes regulations regarding the number of teaching days in the year. Since the length of school year is only in regulation, not legislation, it can be changed through an Order in Council.

Will I be paid?

Teachers are salaried employees therefore pay does not change based on the number of days worked.

What will I be doing when I return on September 2nd?

According to information provided by Manitoba Education, this time will be used to prepare spaces, inform staff about health protocols, and engage collaboratively on recovery learning approaches.  Please contact your school division for specific details.

What about my PD/Admin Days?

September 2, 3 and 4, 2020 will be mandated non-instructional days, one of which will be considered as an administration day and two as professional development days.  Existing requirements that at least five days be used for professional development and eight days be scheduled on common days within the division are maintained.  However, please note that the three mandated non-instructional days prior to the Labour Day weekend count toward these requirements.  Any of the three days used for professional development will count toward the required five days.  Given that all three days will be scheduled on the same dates, all three will count toward the required eight common days leaving a requirement to schedule the remaining five days on common dates.

What about MTS PD Day?

The Society is committed to advocating for the professional learning of teachers, particularly in the COVID context when teaching and learning is requiring tremendous flexibility. We are currently reviewing how the public health advisories and projected second wave will affect MTS PD Day, and more information will be forthcoming.

What if I am unable to report to school on September 2nd?

All staff is expected to report to their school on September 2nd. If you are unable to do so, please contact your division. You may also contact a MTS Staff Officer at 204-888-7961 or 1-800-262-8803 for advice on individual circumstances.

STJATA PD Fund Application is closed until September 2nd

The STJATA PD Fund will re-open the application process for Members who are looking to take coursework, attend local and online Professional Development for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year starting September 2nd.  The PD Committee will continue to monitor the situation and will provide the necessary guidance on this issue at a later date.

Thanks for your understanding,

STJATA PD Committee

Canadian Museum for Human Rights Passes

STJATA will once again be offering passes that will provide members with free admission to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.  There are 10 passes available to be booked.

To Book the CMHR Passes: Please e-mail cmhr@stjata.ca or call the office directly at 204-888-1314

The passes can be picked up at the STJATA Office at 203-2639 Portage Avenue, Monday through Friday.  Please arrange a time for pick-up and return.

Contact Us:

203-2639 Portage Ave. 

Winnipeg, MB R3J0P7


Phone: (204) 888-1314

Fax: (204) 831-0140