Newsletter December 2009

You and the MTS Code
of Professional Practice!

By: Dave Najduch, WTA President

e.g. I have been working beside an individual and have concerns over how they teach and interact with children/students. I wish to bring these concerns to the attention of the administration in the building. Prior to doing so I need to first share the concerns with that colleague. The Code states:.

  • A teacher first directs any criticism of the professional activity of a Colleague to that colleague in private. Only after informing the colleague of the intent to do so, the complainant may direct in confidence the criticism to appropriate officials through the proper channels of communication.

If my colleague finds out that I have been critical of their professional practices without first sharing those concerns with them in the format outlined above, I have left myself exposed to a potential charge of unprofessional conduct. It is very clear that there is no immunity from the Code when talking to school administration about the professional actions of colleagues.

The only exception to the provisions of the Code of Professional Practice as they are outlined above is if the information to be shared is covered by existing legislation such as The Child Welfare Act which requires teachers to report incidents of potential abuse.

Administrators as Agents of the Employer:
Many of the calls we get in the office are linked to the actions of WTA members who are also school administrators. As a school administrator individuals wear two hats. The first is an MTS/WTA member and the second is as an agent of the employer. As an agent of the employer the person is doing the job of school administrator on behalf of the WSD. This job includes such functions as teacher evaluation, classroom assignments (space and students), directing the assigning of student grades, calling of meetings, etc. etc. These functions reflect the authority of the school administrator as it exists in both legislation and policy.

The WTA Role:
When a member in a school has concerns over the actions of school administration when they are acting as an agent of the employer, the following portion of the Code applies:

  1. A teacher shall not be considered in contravention of the Code in:
    1. consulting with the Society or the president of the member’s local Association;
    2. reporting reasonable grounds for suspected child abuse according to legal requirements.

This means that individuals in a work location can call the WTA office to express concerns about actions in a building without informing the school administration.

Once a member or members have contacted the WTA with concerns the Association can take a number of actions depending upon the nature of the matter brought forward.

The Association can and does:

    • contact the administration in a building first (either in writing or by phone) to share the concern
    • take the concern directly to the WSD’s Human Resources Department, the Area Superintendent or the Chief Superintendent
    • file grievances or take the matter to court.

It is important to remember that at no time does the WTA have to share the names of individuals who have contacted the Association with concerns or how many individuals called.

Calling the WTA:
Code issues and how they impact individuals in the system can cause confusion and some stress. I would encourage all members to contact the WTA when you have concerns, questions or require clarification on any issue.

ALL calls on any issue are considered CONFIDENTIAL and if information is shared with the WSD it will be done in a manner that protects the caller or with the permission of the person bringing forward the concern.

The views expressed in all articles in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the Association.

Accessing Personal Leave

By: Joan Fransen, WTA Vice-President

When visiting schools I often get asked why WTA members don’t have personal leave days as some other associations do. My response is that actually we do. The last section of our Collective Agreement is the Code of Rules and Regulations. Chapter 5 describes both the procedure for securing permission and the salary provisions for leaves of absence. Much of what is stated in Chapter 5 is mirrored in The Winnipeg School Division’s Policy GCBD 7. Personal Business Leave 7.1 Teaching/Clinical Staff. I’d like to highlight two of these provisions.

Section 5.1 Absence for Personal Business

    • “For up to one (1) day in case of emergency illness in the family or household.” (WTA Collective Agreement (2008-2009) Code of Rules, page 11.)
    • Many of us feel the effects of the sandwich generation is that we are called upon to look after not only our children but also our parents. The WSD has instructed us that family emergency is a mechanism for access ing leave for both emergent and non-emergent reasons.
    • Examples of emergent issues may include (but are not limited to) taking a family member to the hospital after an injury or picking up a sick child from daycare/school. In each instance, it is best to have back-up plans. When these fail, a family emergency occurs. Members need to make arrangements for substitute teachers, notify their administrators and report the absence on SFE at the earliest convenience.
    • Examples of non-emergent issues may include (but are not limited to) a planned surgery or paneling for nursing care. In these cases applications are made in advance.
    • For both emergent and non-emergent cases it is helpful to attach a letter to the short leave of absence form explaining any extenuating circumstances. Salary provisions for family emergency are one day with no deduction, per emergency.
    • “For up to one (1) day in any case which the Superintendent may determine as sufficient to warrant such leave.” (WTA Collective Agreement (2008-2009), Code of Rules).
    • I would refer to this type of leave as a “one timer.” Circumstances would be unique and not covered under any other leave provisions. Again it is helpful to attach a letter explaining rationale. It should be noted that this is a discretionary leave. Members may be turned down.

In both cases-family emergency and personal leave-it would be helpful to let the WTA know whether you’ve been successful in accessing the provision or not. Before we negotiate changes to the Collective Agreement we need to know whether our current wording is meeting the needs of our members. We encourage members to make every attempt to schedule events outside the work day but when circumstances arise, the Collective Agreement is there to assist you.

The views expressed in all articles in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the Association.

Reminder: Call For Nominations for the 2010/2011 WTA
Executive Election

The Executive Nominating & Elections Committee is calling for nominations for the 2009/2010 WTA Executive. If you are interested in running for a position on the Executive please contact the Association office at 831-7104 or Lesley Wallis, Chair, Executive Nominating & Elections Committee at Meadows West School.

What is the WTA? The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association represents all teachers, including substitutes, clinicians and lab assistants in The Winnipeg School Division. The Association negotiates for its members with the Winnipeg School Board. The WTA actively supports the well-being of all members through various committees such as Teacher Welfare, Professional Development and Public Relations.

Who can be an Executive member? Any member who indicates their willingness to run for election to the Executive when the call for nominations goes out. Candidates may be asked to speak at the Election Forum during the March WTA Council meeting. The new Executive year begins on June 15th.

What will I do if elected? All Executive members attend a retreat/workshop to become familiar with current issues and to determine (based on interest and experience) which committee they will Chair and/or sit on. There are committees which require less time and are ideal starting points for new members.

What is the time commitment for an Executive member? There are two Executive meetings per month. The meetings start at 4:30 PM and run between two to four hours (supper is served.) There is one Council meeting per month commencing at 6:30 PM. Committees meet at times determined by their mandate, or need, and can vary from two to three times per year to once a month.

What do I get out of it? Some rewards are extrinsic. Members are reimbursed for travel to Executive meetings and for dependent care. The opportunities for Professional Development are many and all are encouraged to take advantage of them. Substitutes are paid for by the Association when individuals attend PD opportunities.

Some rewards are intrinsic. Members of the Executive play an important role in achieving improvements in the working lives of teachers. They gain an insider’s view of the politics; negotiations and goals of those involved in education throughout the Province. Executive members know that they have helped all their colleagues by serving their Professional Association.

Is that all? No. You will get to work with a group of fun-loving, hard-working, supportive people who may soon become a group of trusted friends.

For further information please contact either the Association office or Lesley Wallis.

The views expressed in all articles in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the Association.

Dental Plan Benefits Coverage

Plan Covers:

  • spouses of eligible contracted teachers/lab assistants
  • dependent child under 18 years of age
  • dependent child under 25 years of age if fulltime student
  • dependent child who was incapacitated for a continuous period beginning before age 18 or while a fulltime student and before age 25

Annual Deductible:
$15.00 person/$30.00 family. If both spouses are WTA members the maximum deductible is $30.00 in a calendar year. (Note: there is a deductible holiday for the 2009 calendar year.)

Annual Benefit Maximum:
Routine and major combined = $2,500.00 per person
Orthodontic = $1250.00 per person
Total = $3750.00 per person

Any Routine or Major Treatment expected to cost over $300.00 and all Orthodontic treatment must first be submitted to Great-West Life.

Great-West Life Office Mailing Address:
Winnipeg Benefit Payments
P.O. Box 3050
Winnipeg, MB
R3C 4E5
Phone: 942-3589
Plan No. 51001
The 2009 Dental Fee Guide is in effect.

Routine – 100% Coverage Major – 60% Coverage Orthodontic – 50% Coverage
cleaning, bitewing x-ray, fluoride (limit twice in a calendar year) crowns, bridges, implants, dentures, etc. correction of malocclusions of teeth
oral examinations replacement of prosthodontics appliances
full mouth x-rays (once every 24 months) procedures involving gold if no reasonable substitute at lower cost could be rendered observation adjustments
extractions repairs
fillings bands
dental surgery (excluding orthodontic or extensive procedures) consultations
diagnostic x-ray and lab work
general anesthesia
endodontic treatment (root canal)
periodontal treatment (gum disease)
treatment for relief of dental pain
injected medication
space maintainers (not used for orthodontic
consultations – relines, rebases and repairs to existing dentures
pit and fissure sealants (up to age 19)

The views expressed in all articles in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the Association.

Distinguished Service Award Recipients

  • 1979 – Dr. Alice Cheatley
  • 1980 – Dorothy M. Slaughter
  • 1980 – Anthony Romanow
  • 1981 – Shirley Chappell
  • 1981 – Kiva Berger
  • 1981 – Rae Kulba
  • 1981 – George H. Enns
  • 1982 – John H. Lockett
  • 1983 – Alfred Laser
  • 1983 – Nina Phillips
  • 1983 – Marilyn Thompson
  • 1984 – Aubrey Asper
  • 1984 – Ethel Arnott
  • 1984 – Terry Clifford
  • 1985 – John W. Carroll
  • 1986 – Dawn McBain
  • 1986 – Phyllis Moore
  • 1987 – Doreen Pruden
  • 1988 – Kai Arnot
  • 1988 – Chris Pammenter
  • 1989 – Walter Watts
  • 1989 – Ron Banister
  • 1990 – Carole Wylie
  • 1991 – Dr. David Turner
  • 1992 – Jack King
  • 1992 – Ardythe McMaster
  • 1993 – Sandy Millen
  • 1993 – Dick Marshall
  • 1994 – Anne Monk
  • 1995 – Bob Davies
  • 1995 – Joe Scott
  • 1996 – Erna Braun
  • 1996 – Gordon Crook
  • 1996 – Linda Guse
  • 1996 – Louise Kernatz
  • 1997 – Claretta Shefrin
  • 1997 – Mavis Riley
  • 1998 – David Najduch
  • 1998 – Neville Trevenen
  • 1999 – Barb Lercher
  • 2000 – Suzanne Adkins
  • 2000 – Patt Keating
  • 2001 – Joan MacDonald
  • 2001 – Susan Yee Wickler
  • 2002 – Donald Teel
  • 2003 – Brenda Craig
  • 2003 – Pat Lewicki
  • 2003 – Ray Stoyko
  • 2004 – Wendy Land
  • 2004 – Henry Pauls
  • 2006 – Margo Foxford
  • 2007 – Ruth Livingston
  • 2007 – Henry Shyka (Honourary DSA)
  • 2008 – Glenda Shepherd (Honourary DSA)
  • 2009 – Melanie Hall

The views expressed in all articles in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the Association.

The Winnipeg Teachers’ Association Event At
Rumours’ Comedy Club

Rumours’ Comedy Club
190-2025 Corydon Avenue

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
Showtime-8:00 PM
Doors Open-6:00 PM
Duration: 80 minutes
Comedian: Jay Malone

Only 250 Tickets Available!
Cost: Free for WTA Members
$10.00 tickets available for non-members

Please e-mail Tina Garton at to reserve your ticket(s). Tickets available on a first-come first-serve basis.

A limited assortment of appetizers will be served. Menu & drink list available upon request.

The views expressed in all articles in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the Association.

Miscellaneous News & Notes

The following electoral units were absent from the November 2009 WTA Council meeting:
Andrew Mynarski, Brock Corydon, Champlain, Garden Grove, Greenway, Grosvenor, Harrow, Interdivisional Student Services, Isaac Brock, J. B. Mitchell, Lab Assistants, LaVerendrye, Mulvey, Niji Mahkwa, Support Services, Weston, William Whyte, WAEC – 700 Elgin Ave. , Wolseley

Substitute Teachers Concerns/Issues
Substitute teachers please contact Iyvan Michalchshyn at Andrew Mynarski School if you have any concerns or issues.

The views expressed in all articles in this Newsletter are not necessarily those of the Association.