OSSTF/FEESO formally launched the One Public System website in October 2016 after that year’s Annual Meeting of the Provincial Assembly (AMPA) passed motions to provide funding to initiate a campaign. At AMPA 2017, members approved funding to extend the campaign into the next school year. The onepublicsystem.ca website is complemented by issue-specific Facebook and Twitter accounts, all promoting OSSTF/FEESO’s policy that calls for a single public education system in Ontario in each official language.
At AMPA 2013, members approved two policies advocating the move to one public system, which state:
It is the policy of OSSTF that there should be only one publicly funded school system for each official language;
It is the policy of OSSTF that no OSSTF jobs should be lost as a result of moving to one publicly funded school system for each official language.
The online campaign had a successful push during the winter months, gaining visibility through the use of social media advertising that drove traffic to our campaign website. This has prompted some discussions and inquires in the media, including a number of letters to the editors of large publications, including the Toronto Star.
The issue has also emerged recently in the province of Alberta, where Catholic schools are also government funded. Former Alberta Education Minister Dave King recently announced the launch of a public campaign calling for the merger of the Catholic and public systems of education in that province. He has helped to establish a website in Alberta to promote a province-wide campaign: www.ouridea.ca.
A report in the Edmonton Journal on the launch of the one public system campaign in Alberta cited our campaign in Ontario and provided a link to our onepublicsystem.ca website. This has also prompted some media discussion of the issue in the province of Saskatchewan, the only other province to provide government funding to Catholic schools.
The focus of the One Public System campaign is to kindle public discussion about the future of publicly funded education in the province, and to prompt the Ontario government to take a serious and thorough look at the merits and challenges of moving to one system in each official language. In the meantime, OSSTF/FEESO stands by its policy of promoting one system, but will not support any changes that would lead to significant job loss for our members, or which would use any savings generated by merging the systems for any purpose other than reinvestment back into public education.