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December 18, 2017

At the conclusion of each Provincial Executive and Joint Council meetings I can’t help but reflect on the discussions that I have been part of, the debates and the decisions that were made. The recent Joint Council and Provincial Executive meetings were no exception to that. I am fortunate to have borne witness to over 45 of these meetings over the years. Every one of them has set the tone and direction for what path the association follows and in the coming weeks and months we will see recent decisions and actions unfold from these recent meetings.

It is quite clear that we need to continue to lobby and advocate for our membership, our schools, and our students on the various issues affecting education in this province. The NLTA will continue to meet with government officials both provincially and federally and I will continue to do so whenever the opportunity arises. In recent weeks I have had a number of meetings with Senators and Members of Parliament regarding potential changes in the Criminal Code of Canada to Section 43: Correction of Child by Force.

The NLTA believes that a repeal of Section 43, without adequate replacement, would have the unintended consequence of requiring teacher organizations across the country to advise teachers against all forms of student physical contact.

This Section is what stands between an assault charge and a teacher when they are performing their duties.   There are times that reasonable physical restraints and guidance are needed. Teachers need to be able to do exactly that without fear of career damaging criminal actions. We all must lobby any and all who need to be made aware of the needs of the profession. We need to push back against those who would advocate for a restriction on your professionalism and removal of benefits from our collective agreements. We have taken a multitude of approaches to advocacy for you and the profession. Much happens behind the scenes. Many discussions are continuously occurring that serve to push our agenda forward.

Our continuing “Teachers Change Lives” campaign clearly shows how important the work that we do is for our province. Upcoming initiatives will do the same. We do make a difference for our students. We will stand strong for all students and our profession. It would be a large mistake to assume that our approach is not a strong one and that we are not willing to fight for what is right. If there are those who think that we aren’t let me quote the father of our current Prime Minister – “Just watch me”. More importantly “watch us”.