Each year at June Provincial Council, OSSTF/FEESO takes the opportunity to recognize, with awards of recognition, the outstanding work and time given on behalf of the Federation and our members. Congratulations to this year’s award winners.
Provincial Executive Award
The Provincial Executive Award is given to “A Member, who in the opinion of the Provincial Executive has rendered meritorious and outstanding services to the OSSTF/FEESO at both the provincial and local level is eligible for the Provincial Executive Award.”
This year, the Provincial Executive bestowed their award upon Michael Bettiol—District 19, Peel; John Dykes—District 5A, Northern Shield; Wayne Milliner, Secretariat—Professional Services, Tony Stokes, Secretariat—Protective Services and Dayle Whittaker—District 24, Waterloo. Each of these recipients was lauded for their commitment to Federation, their service to members that went above and beyond the requirements of their positions and the enormous contributions they have made, as Federation Members and Staff, to OSSTF/FEESO as a whole.
Life Membership Award
In keeping with Bylaw 2.1.5, when a long-serving member from the Provincial Office retires, having rendered meritorious and outstanding service to OSSTF/FEESO at the Provincial level, he or she is conferred with a Provincial Life Membership. This year, this honour was bestowed upon several members of the Provincial Executive and Staff who have given countless hours to OSSTF/FEESO and who have contributed in a positive way to the lives of members, ensuring that they left the Federation better for their place within it.
Cindy Dubué will be retiring from her role on the Provincial Executive as one of two Vice-Presidents, and will returning to her home in District 25, Otttawa—Carleton. Cindy has been a tremendous voice for all members of OSSTF/FEESO, but particularly for support staff. She has been active in the Federation since 2000 and is recognized as a role model for leaders, an advocate against workplace violence and a liaison to other labour organizations. Chances are you will see Cindy at an upcoming rally or labour event—she has dedicated her entire life to fighting for the rights of others, and that won’t end with her retirement.
Lori Foote will be retiring from her role on the Provincial Executive as Associate General Secretary of the Professional Services Division. Lori’s role within the Federation is unparalleled. Every member of OSSTF/FEESO had benefited from her commitment to clear communications, her involvement in the Federation’s exceptional professional development, and her with the ELHT (Employee Life and Health Trust). Her organizational skills, her care and concern for her colleagues, as well as her strength in overseeing the Professional Services Division will be greatly missed.
Rob Gascho will be leaving his role on the Provincial Executive and returning to his home District 24, Waterloo. Rob has spent countless hours working on behalf of members, not only in his home District but also on the Provincial Executive, first as an Executive Officer and then as one of two Vice-Presidents. Rob will be returning to District 24 as District President and TBU President. We know the members are fortunate to have his unique perspective and expertise readily available in Waterloo.
Joe Hirschegger will be retiring from his role as a member of the Secretariat in the Protective Services Division at Provincial Office. Joe has always been the go-to-guy when it comes to finding the money in school board and university budgets to secure the best deal possible for all Bargaining Units. His numerous workshops on understanding board budgets, and which funding lines are used for what purposes, have helped leaders negotiate smarter and achieve better collective agreements. Joe will be greatly missed at the central negotiating table and as a mentor to countless chief negotiators across the province.
Jane Ste. Marie is the Provincial Office’s guru of everything health and safety. Chances are that if you have ever been injured, on WSIB or have called Provincial Office to ask about Employment Insurance, you’ve interacted with Jane in some way. Her knowledge of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is encyclopedic. Jane is retiring from many years as a Secretariat member in the Protective Services Division. She has worked in various capacities within the Federation and her advocacy on health and safety has touched the lives of every member. Many of the policies and practices that OSSTF/FEESO follows are because of initiatives taken by Jane. OSSTF/FEESO will not be the same without her.
We wish each of these Life Member Award winners the very best in their retirement and know that they will continue to be remembered for their service and dedication to OSSTF/FEESO for many years to come.
Lamp of Learning Award—Hendrikus Bervoets
The Lamp of Learning Award is presented to a non-member resident of Ontario who has made an outstanding contribution to public education in the province of Ontario.
Nineteen years ago, Hendrikus Bervoets, an internationally acclaimed artist from London, Ontario, first travelled to South Africa where he witnessed the terrible devastation caused by HIV/AIDS. His response to this experience was to found an organization that is now called Art for AIDS International, an organization that holds workshops and keynote addresses about art and social justice. At the same time, it raises money to fund programs supporting women and children affected by HIV and AIDS.
Whether he is working with students in Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, or in Ontario, Hendrikus uses the same lessons to simultaneously teach about art and social justice. Students receive direction from an acclaimed artist while learning about the injustice that has lead to the AIDS pandemic in Africa.
In these workshops, students create stunning collages that reflect their new learning. Their surreal landscapes feature haunting images that both capture and provoke the viewer.
The student-produced pieces of artwork are then professionally printed into original limited-edition prints. These pieces of art are then sold to raise money for education programs in Africa and other parts of the world where they are needed.
Hendrikus Bervoets’s contributions to our students are immeasurable.