100 Years Strong: 1919–2019

Chapter One · Chapter Eight — Beyond the Federation



Chapter Eight — Beyond the Federation

Beyond the Federation:OSSTF/FEESO’s Contributions to Communities

OSSTF/FEESO’s advocacy for social change may have begun with Jessie Muir’s 1920 historic call for pay equity and the status of women, but our members never let up, and if the most recent decades are any indication, OSSTF/FEESO has just gotten started. With each success in bargaining, legislation or mobilization, the Federation spent little time celebrating, instead pushing forward to further mobilize with labour, non-profits, and other progressive partners.

OSSTF/FEESO built coalitions to address pay equity, maternity leave, child care, violence against women, missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, Truth and Reconciliation for First Nation, Indigenous, Metis and Inuit peoples, and inclusion for LGBTQ2SI staff and students.

With any great movement, individuals and organizations seldom make gains alone. OSSTF/FEESO has a rich legacy of partnering or supporting organizations within coalitions to amplify important messages that align with our collective goals. Naturally, OSSTF/FEESO has been affiliated with many education coalitions provincially, nationally, and globally.

Provincially OSSTF/FEESO’s ties to the Ontario Teachers Federation and the Ontario Federation of Labour have led to coalitions and outreach to other organizations with similar concerns and goals.

OSSTF/FEESO has affiliated education workers and the broader labour movement from all across Canada. Affiliations with the Canadian Labour Congress and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation ensure that members concerns are heard and that our efforts to advocate for progressive social and economic improvements change remain part of our core values and goals.

The relationship between our members’ values and OSSTF/FEESO’s increased involvement internationally have intersected in a number of interesting ways. From post-war literacy projects in various jurisdictions including Zimbabwe and Mozambique, to donations to the Canadian Organization for Development through Education (CODE), or our International Assistance Program, OSSTF/FEESO has promoted social justice work while raising funds from members to assist in hundreds of projects globally since the early 1980s. Over the past twenty years, the Federation has evolved into an organization that speaks up for those trying to further human rights causes from the local to international level.

OSSTF/FEESO’s efforts to promoting equity, social justice, civic engagement, were formally extended to our students as well. In 1984, OSSTF/FEESO established the Student Achievement Awards in honour of Marion Drysdale.  This writing and creative arts competition open to all public secondary school students in Ontario showcases the incredible talents of our students and help them foster their intrapersonal development in a manner that creates thoughtful, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

OSSTF/FEESO believes that public education is the cornerstone of tolerance and democracy within our diverse society.  The Federation was founded on this belief and it has guided our work at home and in communities around the world.  We can be proud of our actions and confident that this tradition will continue well beyond our 100th anniversary.

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