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E a s t e r n   U p d a t e - Monday, December 15, 2003

PLP Cancellation Announcement Promised

During the provincial election, Dalton McGuinty indicated that he did not support the current PLP structure and program. In the Speech from the Throne the newly elected government stated that they would eliminate the current teacher testing program, namely the current recertification program as it exists.

On Tuesday December 9th and Thursday December 11th , Gerard Kennedy, Minister of Education, met with a number of teacher representatives in both Sudbury and Thunder Bay and he stated unequivocally that the PLP’s would be eliminated and that the government would make an announcement to that effect before the legislature breaks for the Christmas recess. He stated that the government would put in place a model for professional development which was created with all stakeholders, including teacher federations. The Minister indicated to all teacher representatives present at these meetings that this information could be shared with their members – and that this government was committed to supporting the teaching profession and committed to truly promoting and supporting publicly funded education in the province of Ontario. He went on to state that they were committed to their platform of smaller class sizes, but those reforms would take longer to implement due to the deficit. Presidents of both of those units agreed that the meetings were very beneficial, positive and a welcome change to relations with the previous government.

Pension News

The Ottawa Citizen has carried a number of stories and letters to the editor which suggest that the 6 billion surplus in the Teachers Pension Fund could subsidize or offset the current provincial deficit. It is perhaps contradictory that most papers have recently reported on the very tenuous situation facing other pension plans – most pointedly the Air Canada and Stelco pension plans. Although we have had good results in the past fiscal year, the effects of three years of funding deficits may well start to show their effects in the coming years. The pension plan smoothes all surpluses and deficits over a five year cycle. This allows the plan to mitigate poor returns. The 6 billion dollars has absorbed or smoothed this potential deficit to the plan. The OTF Pension Committee continues to monitor the fund and the possibility of pension changes relative to benefits or contribution rates. We will continue to keep you informed of any information regarding our pension fund and pension plan.

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