ONTARIO CATHOLIC SCHOOL TRUSTEES’ ASSOCIATION (OCSTA)
20 Eglinton Avenue West,
Toronto ON M4R 1K8
Phone: (416) 932-9460
Fax: (416) 932-9459
Inspired by the Gospel, OCSTA provides leadership, service, and a voice for Catholic school boards in their goal of promoting and protecting Catholic education in Ontario.
The Voice for Catholic Education in Ontario
OCSTA is the central provider of professional services to 237 trustees elected by Catholic ratepayers every four years. The Association is managed by a board of directors made up of 18 Catholic school trustees, representing regions from across the province.
Approximately 600,000 students in Ontario attend Catholic schools. Catholic school boards manage over 1,300 schools in the province and hire approximately 36,000 teachers.
Public and Catholic schools, both English- and French-language, share the goal of offering nurturing and healthy learning environments that support the successful education and development of the whole child. All four systems teach students life skills that prepare them for postsecondary education or the workplace and for their role as responsible citizens. Trustees on Catholic school boards have the same powers and responsibilities as those on public boards. Although they have much in common with the public boards, Catholic school boards have a philosophy of education that is distinct.
The Catholic school is an integral part of the Church’s mission to evangelize youth. Catholic parents send their children to Catholic schools expecting them to be socialized into a faith community in which a Christ-centred approach is central to instruction in all subject areas. Catholic schools provide a complete academic program in an environment that integrates religious instruction, Gospel values, and spiritual formation into all aspects of the curriculum.
The Catholic school is a faith community in which spirituality and the witness and practice of faith are lived out in the daily experiences of staff and students. Religious instruction is not confined to specific periods on a timetable. All subjects that deal with social issues, moral values, and ethical decision making are approached and taught from the distinctive worldview reflected in Catholic beliefs, traditions, and practices.
Roman Catholic trustees, who are elected by Catholic ratepayers, carry out their role in alignment with the convictions and commitments of the Catholic faith. The same distinct role guides OCSTA in providing services to its member boards. The association is the sole representative of the province’s English-language Catholic district school boards. The Association is also the central source of information about government funding and initiatives affecting the operations of Catholic District School Boards. In issues affecting Catholic education in Ontario, OCSTA represents and takes the view of all of the province’s English-language Catholic boards directly to the Ontario government and, when necessary, to the federal government. In this role, the association has safeguarded and promoted the interests of Catholic education for more than 80 years.
Services Provided to Members
OCSTA’s member boards and local Catholic school communities benefit from a number of OCSTA services and resources, including:
- Review and analysis of provincial bills and legislation
- Labour-relations support
- Leadership and information in matters of education finance
- Resource and communications materials to support the promotion of Catholic education at the local and provincial levels
- Meetings and information sessions to help school boards understand and address government initiatives, as they occur
OCSTA is the leading advocate for Catholic education in Ontario. The Association monitors government activity, contributes to the decision-making process, liaises with all provincial political parties, and responds to issues affecting Catholic education at the local, provincial and even national level. OCSTA’s responsibilities include:
- Developing advocacy positions to ensure that government policies and programs meet the needs of Catholic school boards, schools, students, and ratepayers.
- Presenting briefs on proposed legislation to Standing Committees of the Legislature.
- Supporting the provincial budget planning process for education by submitting an annual finance brief to the Minister of Education and finance officials.
- Working with the government on matters of concern to Catholic school boards and provincial education stakeholders as a whole.
Supporting Distinctive Expectations
An integral part of OCSTA’s mission is the establishment and management of activities and initiatives that enhance the Catholic dimension of the school system, and they include:
- Faith and professional development conferences and seminars for trustees and student trustees.
- Regional meetings that provide opportunities for trustees to address local and provincial issues with peers and OCSTA representatives.
- Production of materials to assist boards in highlighting aspects of the Catholic dimension of our system.
- Support of pre-service and in-service religious education programs for teachers, including the OECTA/OCSTA Religious Education courses.
- Development and coordination of resource and communications materials for the annual Catholic Education Week program and promotional campaign.
- Participating in system partnerships through the Institute for Catholic Education.
OCSTA and Its Partners
OCSTA is represented on the board of directors of the Institute for Catholic Education, and the Canadian Catholic School Trustees’ Association. In addition, the Association liaises regularly with all provincial educational associations.
How to Access OCSTA Resources
To access OCSTA’s event calendar, current briefs, publications and the frequently published online newsletter, the OCSTA Newsire, please visit the OCSTA website at: http://www.ocsta.on.ca.