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Can OECTA live with Catholicism? (Canada).

Burlington, ON--A February, 2000, release from President Joe Pece, Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) Halton Secondary Unit advises members to beware of a local separate school board document, "Catholicity in our schools."

While Pece gives no details of the contents of the document, his reaction indicates that they may be similar to the expectations set out in Witnesses to Faith, the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association (OCSTA) publication of October 1997. (For discussion of this document and the Union's reaction to it, see Catholic Insight, June 1999, pp.16-19).

The Halton Unit claims that implementation of their board's document would "allow your employer to intrude into your private lives." Pece employs such pejorative phraseology as "inquisitional tactics" and "paternalistic attitude." Mr. Pece also found it very much of a problem that OECTA had not been asked to review this document.

The comments of the Halton president seem based on last year's communication (Feb 10, 1999), from Marshal Jarvis, then OECTA's president. Jarvis, too, claimed that Witness to Faith was "tremendously intrusive," and he, too, suggested that the method to be used in the event of any disputes would usurp "the authority of the arbitrators under the collective agreement."

Pece repeats Jarvis' accusations that a policy based on this document would "allow the board to legislate morality," and that "there is no legal foundation for any intrude in such a manner."

The union's emphasis that a board document dealing with the basic principles to be expected of Catholic educators is a threat to union practices says a great deal. The OECTA leaders seem to think that the Catholicity of the teachers has nothing to do with signing teachers' contracts. In other words, they see their position with the school boards and the Catholic community which they represent as a mere legal contract.

The Catholic community, on the other hand, particularly parents who have entrusted their children to the schools, expects more than just a legal contract. They want guarantees for the highest standards of the Catholic faith as well as professional standards from its participants.

Once again we must draw readers' attention to the fact that in Ontario Catholic teachers have no options; they are required to join OECTA, which holds a monopoly in the province.
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Title Annotation:Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association
Publication:Catholic Insight
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:May 1, 2000
Previous Article:CCRL fighting for religious freedom (Canada).
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