Newsletter April 2015

2015/2016 WTA Executive Elections

By: Winston Blakey, Chair, WTA Executive Nominating and Elections Committee

Nominating and Elections Committee Report


The following members of The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association have been elected as the 2015-2016 WTA Executive:

President: Nathan Martindale, WTA Office

Vice-President: Kristin Insull, WTA Office

Secretary: David Harack, Tec Voc

Treasurer: Gregg Walker, Kelvin

Executive Members at Large:

  • Rui Carvalho, Gordon Bell
  • Kristen Fallis, Greenway
  • Paulette Krovats, Lord Roberts
  • Dave Najduch, Tec Voc
  • Cheryl Ottenbreit, Sister MacNamara
  • Chris Pammenter, WAEC
  • Paul Shiaro, St. John’s
  • Michelle Wolfe, Lord Nelson
  • Sam Zurzolo, Elmwood

President’s Message

BY: Nathan Martindale, WTA President


The following is an updated version of the staffing article provided in the WTA newsletter on a year-to-year basis.

The dates and times listed below are provided by the WSD and reflect the staffing process over the coming months.

WSD Staffing Timelines
Friday, May 1st First Ad in Schools
Tuesday, May 5th, 12:00 PM Deadline for Applications
Friday, May 22nd Second Ad in Schools
Monday, May 25th, 12:00 PM Deadline for Applications
Thursday, June 4th Third Ad in Schools
Friday, June 5th, 4:00 PM Deadline for Applications

Things to remember:

  1. Regarding surplus declarations, it is the WTA’s position that the WSD’s declaration of a staff member being surplus should occur prior to the first “Ad” being posted to the schools. If declarations are taking place after the postings have occurred, please contact the WTA office.
  2. The “Ad” is a list of open positions used by the WSD to solicit applications. The electronic version of the “Ad” may be available on Employee Connect the day before the date indicated in the table.
  3. If you are on a permanent fulltime contract, you are able to apply and will be considered for positions. If you are on a part time permanent contract, you are able to apply for the same percentage position or you can look for an increase in contracted time through the staffing process. Term teachers and substitutes are not able to apply for the posted positions.
  4. Your application should consist of a current resumé and a covering letter. The staffing process moves very quickly and many people are moved so you need to have your application in on time to be considered.
  5. If you are on a permanent contract, you can apply for a job which is listed as “term” in the staffing bulletin. If you are successful at obtaining the position, next year you may have to go through the staffing process again if the term person returns to their job.
  6. Contact the WTA office (204-831-7104 or if you have:
    • applied for positions over the last few years and have never received an interview;
    • had a difficulty with the electronic posting system;
    • had a difficulty or concern about the staffing process this year.


WTA Workplace Safety and Health Survey – Summary

BY: Kristin Insull, WTA Vice-president

At present, the Winnipeg School Division is operating without a variance under Workplace Safety and Health legislation. This means that all work sites are required to have their own Workplace Safety and Health Committee. A joint WSD/Employee Groups Central Committee exists to discuss concerns and their resolution, training and programs, and policy review and implementation.

Exterior to these structures, The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association Workplace Safety and Health Committee exists by policy of the Executive of The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association. Until recently, its mandate was:

The committee will:

  1. assist members in addressing WSH concerns
  2. attempt to ensure the safety and health of WTA members in the workplace
  3. attempt to ensure that members are aware of their rights and responsibilities under WSH legislation
  4. monitor the implementation and application by the WSD #1 of WSH policies and provincial government legislation and regulations.

This policy was last updated in November 2006, and pre-dated changes to Workplace Safety and Health legislation implemented in 2011.

As a result, the Committee revisited its mandate in an effort to provide clear statements about its intent and envisioned role in Workplace Safety and Health.

The new mandate reads:

The role of the committee shall include, but not be limited to:

  1. Monitoring the implementation and application of applicable workplace safety and health policy and legislation;
  2. Participating in the development, implementation and delivery of workplace safety and health training to WTA members;
  3. Making recommendations for action to the WTA Executive.

The Committee recognizes its role and strength as educational in nature. To that end, the Committee created a short survey which was distributed to Council Reps at the February meeting. Reps were asked to conduct the survey by a show of raised hands at their March staff meeting.

The goal of this survey was to gauge the (real or perceived) awareness level of WTA members in the areas of violence and harassment prevention, in the hopes that any deficiencies would generate opportunity for the work of the committee. The committee acknowledges that the hands up nature of the survey lacks methodological rigour, and that the quantitative results serve only to detect significant disparities between responses, and not to attribute a percentage to any given answer or issue. Therefore, only anecdotal analysis and commentary will be shared.

Delivery of Harassment and Violence Prevention Policy Training

A significant number of respondents indicated they have received no training in these two policies. While it is possible that a few members have slipped through the cracks, the committee was left wondering whether the training itself was not an activity that stood out in the minds of the members, and therefore they did not recall participating. This may be particularly true if they were subject to the online training module. Further, the policies and the name of the training module differ, and that may have caused some confusion.

It is therefore no surprise that large numbers of respondents report being unaware of the Winnipeg School Division’s Harassment and Violent Incident Prevention policies.

Given that these two policies are currently being reviewed, training will need to be re-visited. It is hoped that the messaging surrounding the importance of the training is consistent across all stakeholders, and that options beyond the one-size-fits-all-employees module are explored. The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association is involved in these processes, and will continue to offer feedback in order to create meaningful and lasting training.

Types of Reportable Incidents

Most respondents recognize that being threatened, or physically assaulted are reportable workplace safety and health issues. Being insulted on social media left many respondents unsure, as did being called names by parents. A large number of survey respondents indicated that being put down by a colleague was not a reportable workplace safety and health incident, stating that is addressed through the Manitoba Teachers’ Society Code of Professional Practice.

These results provide direction on the education necessary to make members aware of their rights under Workplace Safety and Health legislation, and that accessing remedies under this legislation does not preclude them from other remedies available under law, or their professional organizations.

The discrepancies that exist between the actual number of reported incidents at the end of each year and the acknowledgement of those incidents being reportable is of concern, and indicative of the need for a shift in the culture of the teaching profession. It is not in the job description, no matter the assignment, for a teacher to be physically assaulted, verbally assaulted, or harassed, online or in person.


Who are you?

Poring over the analytics of our current WTA website, we see a spike in access on the day when the newsletter goes live. No matter when, or from where, you are reading this newsletter, please take a moment to respond to our three question survey on WTA Newsletter Readership:

Ray Stoyko $4000 Memorial Scholarship

The WTA is please to award the Ray Stoyko Memorial Scholarship again this year.

The successful applicant will receive $4000 towards full-time enrollment in a Bachelor of Education degree program. The application deadline is the last teaching day of May of each school year. Completed application forms are to be returned to The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association, 202-2639 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3J 0P7 A copy of the detailed application form can be found here.

Ray Stoyko (1952-2007)

Ray Stoyko was elected the President of The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association in April, 2007. Prior to his full-time involvement with The Association, Ray taught English and Drama at Kelvin High School. He had a passion for the classics—both in literature and in art. He was a great supporter of local artists, including a number of his colleagues. As much as Ray had a passion for the arts, he had a greater passion for his profession—teaching. He was a true educator that instilled his love for literature and the arts into the minds of his students. Ray encouraged students to reach for the potential he knew they possessed.

Ray’s passion and dedication continued into The Association and for his fellow colleagues. One of his priorities for this organization was communication and member engagement. He knew that as the world and Winnipeg School Division were change/evolving—so must The WTA. Ray knew the importance of The Association. He believed in The WTA and for what it stands.

When Ray was the Chairperson of the Public Relations Committee, he advocated for and instituted the first WTA scholarships, awarded to a graduating student from each Winnipeg School Division High School. These scholarships continue to be awarded annually.

Ray was very proud to be the President of The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association. He was known as a quiet, intelligent, quick-witted, and thoughtful man. The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association is pleased to offer this scholarship in honour of his service.


WTA Retirement Reception

The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association Retirement Reception

WHEN: June 10th, 2015

WHERE: Shaarey Zedek Synagogue

More information will follow.

To reserve a table for your school or family, contact the WTA office