About the Provincial Schools Authority (PSA)

The Provincial Schools Authority (PSA) was established as an agency of the Ministry of Education in 1975 under the Provincial Schools Negotiations Act (now the Provincial Schools Authority Act). The PSA is the employer of record for teachers employed in provincially operated schools, which includes schools operated by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Solicitor General (SOLGEN). These teachers are represented by the Provincial Schools Authority Teachers (PSAT), which is a district of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF). The PSA is also the employer of record for principals and vice principals in provincially operated schools. Principals and vice principals are not represented by a union and do not have a collective agreement.

As the employer of record, the PSA is responsible for ratifying the PSAT collective agreement, which includes Part A — OSSTF Central Agreement and Part B — PSAT Local Agreement. The PSA ratifies the collective agreements in accordance with the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014 (SBCBA). The SBCBA governs collective bargaining for teachers in the education sector. It identifies union and management representatives and their roles and responsibilities, including the role of the PSA and the Ministry of Education during bargaining with provincial school employees.

The Deputy Minister of Education via the Executive Director of the PDSB, is responsible for all matters relating to the administration of the branch, including oversight and responsibility for day to day school operations and administration in respect of teachers, principals and vice principals. The Executive Director of PDSB oversees and is responsible for the day to day operations including all issues related to teachers and students. The Executive Director works in cooperation with the PSA Chair to ensure effective and efficient fulfillment of the PSA’s mandate.

The PSA meets as needed and makes decisions with respect to terms and conditions of employment of teachers, principals and vice principals, leave provisions of the Provincial Schools Authority Teachers (PSAT) Collective Agreement and grievance resolution.

The PSA and Provincial and Demonstration Schools

Provincial and demonstration schools offer the Ontario curriculum at the elementary and secondary levels as well as specialised integrated programming for students who are Deaf, hard of hearing, blind, low vision, deafblind and students who have severe learning disabilities. The schools also provide outreach services and teacher in-service for school boards. Provincial and demonstration schools are located at four sites: Belleville, Brantford, London and Milton.

In 2021–2022, there were approximately 177 teachers and 11 principals and vice-principals working in provincial schools and outreach programs. These teachers are employed in schools and outreach programs directly operated by the Ministry of Education, PDSB, or at the Ontario Correctional Institute operated by the Ministry of the Solicitor General. Teachers, principals and vice-principals in these schools are classified as employees of the PSA. Their salaries are paid directly by the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of the Solicitor General.

Members of the PSA

Historically, the PSA members have been Ontario Public Service employees and do not receive remuneration for their PSA services. In 2021–2022 a new Chair and Vice Chair were appointed.

Membership as of June 2022 is as follows:
PositionIncumbentTerm
ChairMs. Parm BhatthalSeptember 16, 2021 to September 2, 2022
Vice ChairMs. Claudine MunroeMarch 30, 2022 to April 23, 2024
MemberMr. Med AhmadounMay 7, 2022 to May 6, 2024
MemberMs. Carol CastelloJune 3, 2021 to June 2, 2023
MembervacantN/A

PSA activities

The PSA addresses issues related to the terms and conditions of employment of teachers, principals and vice-principals employed in provincially operated schools.

In October 2021, the Minister provided the PSA Chair with a mandate letter outlining the expectations for the 2022–23 fiscal year. The PSA met the direction set out in the agency’s mandate letter in relation to the activities for the agency by:

  • delivering quality educational services and ensuring the educational needs of the students are met
  • deciding on leave applications from teachers, principals and vice-principals in a reasonable and efficient manner and in compliance with the terms of employment for each group
  • hearing PSAT grievances at second step in a timely manner
  • providing input regarding the settlement of grievances in a fair and equitable manner and in compliance with the PSAT collective agreement
  • ratifying agreements reached between the parties at the central and local negotiation tables
  • operating within the financial allocation

Performance measures and targets

Output based performance measure

The PSA aims to meet two to three times a year during a normal operating cycle to discuss issues of importance to the schools and issues raised by PSAT.

The PSA meets with PSAT executives to share information and discuss items of concern in a timely manner. PSA and PSAT held one joint meeting during the 2021–22 school year and three PSA members’ meetings. The PSA will propose a meeting schedule for the 2022–2023 school year to ensure that meetings take place to maintain positive relationships with the labour organization.

The PSA will operate within the $20,000 annual budget allocation.

In 2021–2022, the PSA, incurred $8,302 in expenses which is 42% of the annual budget of $20,000.

Outcome based performance measures

The PSA will continue to look for opportunities to reduce the number of grievances filed each year by the union, which could reduce the total number of grievance mediation and arbitration services each year.

The PSA strives to improve relations with the representatives of its employee groups by reducing the turnaround times for leave applications, grievance hearings, and the communication of decisions made as a result of grievance hearings. The PSA and PDSB continue to look for opportunities to proactively mitigate the number of grievances which could reduce the number of grievance hearings and arbitration services. In the 2021–22 school year (September 3, 2021 to June 28, 2022) PDSB saw approximately one and a half times the number of grievances as the previous year. An additional 17 grievances filed in previous years were resolved or withdrawn in 2021–22 school year. PDSB aims to work with the Union to re-establish monthly joint meetings between the senior management at PDSB and the PSAT executive members to help to open communication channels for discussion to reduce the number of grievances and work towards better resolution of issues of mutual concern.

Risks

The membership for the PSA Chair, the Vice-chair and two members expired during 2021–22. The Ministry worked to fill the vacancies within a timely manner. A new vice-chair was appointed, and a member was re-appointed. The Ministry is currently working to identify and appoint a new member and a new chair so that there is a full membership compliment. A full member complement provides a diverse range of opinions and analysis which is beneficial to the group.

PSA expenses

PSA expenses are funded by the Provincial and Demonstration Schools Branch of the Ministry of Education. The allocation is $20,000 annually.

These funds are intended for:

  • costs associated with the administration of the collective agreement including arbitration hearings
  • travel expenses incurred by members hearing grievances

In 2021–2022, the PSA incurred $8,302 in expenses which is 42% of the annual budget of $20,000.