100 Years Strong: 1919–2019

Chapter One · Chapter Four — The Federation Expands



Chapter Four — The Federation Expands

At OSSTF/FEESO, we believe that the whole school is a classroom. In one way or another, everyone working in a school makes a real contribution to the success and wellbeing of the kids.

This idea came from our members that includes high school teachers, plus all categories of support staff and professionals in public high schools and universities. It’s a unique combination and a unique vision, and it gives us a special understanding of how to protect and enhance public education in Ontario.

It wasn’t always this way. OSSTF/FEESO began in 1919 with high school, collegiate and continuation school teachers. Up to 1944, it was voluntary, but almost all of them joined and paid dues.

In 1984, occasional, summer and night school teachers joined up. The success of organizing these groups was inspiring and soon, support staff like me were eager to join. So in the late 80s, OSSTF/FEESO became a trade union and expanded the vision to include all the people who make schools work.

With our bigger membership, it was time to play a bigger role in the labour movement. We joined the Canadian Labour Congress in 1996 and the Ontario Federation of Labour in 2002. That same year, we welcomed new members from the university sector.

In July 2018 OSSTF/FEESO rejoined the Canadian Teacher’s Federation as a Member organization.  Increasing our alliances with like-minded organizations will be crucial in the advancement of the cause of education in a world where education policy has become increasingly centralized and coordinated across jurisidictions.

There are over 70,000 of us now. Diverse, strong and still growing. We are more than teachers.

We are educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, attendance counselors and many other education professionals. We are in all areas of public education we are focused on protecting and enhancing public education.

No other representative organization has as much history, diversity, expertise, respect and or influence in the field of public education in Ontario.

And all sharing the vision. It’s how we do what’s right for public education in Ontario.