Ontario school boards should note that Bill 8 and Bill 10 became law on December 4, 2014, with important ramifications for the education sector.

Bill 10:  The Child Care Modernization Act, 2014

The Child Care Modernization Act, 2014 repeals the Day Nurseries Act and replaces it with the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014.  School boards are exempt from almost all provisions of this Act, unless they operate and maintain child care centres within the meaning of the Act.

More significantly for school boards, the new legislation includes amendments to the Education Act requiring school boards to provide before and after school programs for students in grades 1 to 6, in addition to the programs already in place for Junior and Senior Kindergarten students.  The Minister may regulate the amount that school boards charge operators of third party programs and/or child care and early years programs for the use of school premises.

Bill 8:  The Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014

We discussed Bill 8 in our July and December, 2014 Newsletters and drew particular attention to its amendments to the Ombudsman Act.  With the passage of Bill 8, the reach of the Ontario Ombudsman has expanded to include the authority to investigate any decision or recommendation made, act done, or act omitted to be done, in the course of the administration of a school board.  Investigations may be initiated on the basis of a complaint from a member of the public, or by the Ombudsman.  The Ombudsman’s authority includes the power to summon an individual to give evidence under oath, and to require the production of documentary evidence.

We also noted the Bill 8 wage restraint measures applicable to “Designated Executives” entitled to receive more than $100,000.00 in compensation per calendar year.  These measures are now in effect and prevail over any previous compensation plan.  Under the Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Act, 2014,the government may establish “compensation frameworks” which may include “hard caps” on salary, benefits, perquisites, bonuses and severance payments.

We will be discussing the potential impact of the Ombudsman on boards and, in particular, what it may mean for Trustees in our January 22, 2015 Morning Recess webinar on “The Role of Trustees.”