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October 22nd is E-Day For Municipal Elections Ask About Adult Education Issues Before You Vote!

By WENDY TERRY - September 17 2018

Before we talk about Municipal Elections and Adult Education, let’s look at Municipal elections in general and then the upcoming one in 2018 which is different.

Municipal Elections- Three Votes

Municipal elections are the most complex because you vote for 3 positions: a Mayor for your city, a Councillor for your ward, and a School Trustee for your ward. There are no declared political party affiliations for all these candidates to help guide your decision. You vote for the individual. 

In the provincial and federal elections, you vote for a Member of Provincial Parliament MPP, and a Member of Parliament MP whose party affiliation is noted on the ballot. The leader of the party who wins the most ridings becomes Premier (provincial) or Prime Minister (federal). You do not vote for the Premier or Prime Minister.  You vote for them only if you are living in the riding they are running to be the MPP or MP. Canadians only vote directly for the Mayor of their city.

Municipal Elections 2018? Confusing!. 

This year, the Municipal elections are more confusing as Bill 5, which reduced the City of Toronto Councillors from 47 to 25, was passed last week by the Ontario Legislature. We were just getting used to the City of Toronto change which had added four more Councillors. Now the Province has reduced the Councillors by 22.  This happened after nominations for Councillors had closed.  

So nominations start all over again and end September 14 for 25 Councillors. – the new wards geographically match the Federal election riding areas. 

On Monday August 20th the city of Toronto voted 27-15 to legally challenge the Ontario government’s Bill 5 which reduced the wards to 25   Apparently, this challenge will be heard in court on August 31st at the same time as Rocco Achampong’s challenge. He is a municipal candidate for Ward 13 who filed an individual challenge earlier. Several others have now done so. 

In spite of these pending challenges, city clerks are now reorganizing voting lists to go from 47 to 25 wards.

But what if Toronto wins their challenge to Bill 5? Do we go back to 47 Councillors? Does the timing for the Toronto election get delayed so that voting lists can be reorganized again to the original 47 wards?

Call 311 after September 14 to find out who is running in your ward. Tell them where you live 

Hopefully, by then they will be able to tell you what ward you are in!

Confused? Aren’t we all?

Municipal Elections – Adult Education

Well, never mind all this 2018 confusion, as adult students you should ask whomever is running in your wards about Adult Education

Some will tell you that Municipal government has little to do with Adult Education, that it is under the management of the Province for the most part (schools, colleges, universities), or the federal government if it relates to training.   But they would be wrong! 

By understanding how Municipal government impacts Adult Education, you will be able to query your Councillor, or your School Board Trustee and, in the process, you can educate them. Often, they will tell you they do not have any control over adult education but they do.  How? Let’s see!

Councillors – Adult Education. 

Municipal governments, have library committees which Councillors sit on and, as an adult student, you use the public libraries. Many adults attend the libraries’ “What’s On?” events. Councillors also sit on the Parks and Recreation Committees. These centres run both Arts and Recreation programs for adults.  See “Toronto Fun” program guide.   

Municipal governments fund community associations though specific programs. Some offer adult education programs. “Skills for Change”, St Stephen’s Community House, and Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office are just a few of the community associations that get funding from multiple sources and who offer adult education programs.  These associations have multiple sources of funding: Federal, if they run employment services; Provincial, if they run programs like Literacy Basic Skills; and Municipal for youth programs. Your Councillor should know how the associations in their ward, which Toronto funds, help you learn and improve your skills. 

Tell your Councillor where you learn – the library, Rec Centre arts programs, or a community association.  Ask them if they will support adult education at these sites.  Tell them what would help you.

Schools Adult Ed – School Trustees 


School Trustees oversee school programs that adults attend: Adult Day School programs where you can earn a high school diploma, ESL programs and LINC programs where you learn English (back to these two in a moment).  At the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), there are Learn4 Life programs run by Continuing Education. These are general interest courses but some courses are work skills related. Then there is Community Education at the TDSB which runs Employment Ontario Centres where you apply for second Career funding (training for laid-off workers) as well as other adult education programs.   See “Next Steps” ad on the back page (bottom) of this issue of Learning Curves.

Continuing Education offers self-financed programs “Learn4Life” from student fees.  These General Interest courses used to be funded by the provincial government up until the mid 1980’s at all school boards throughout the province.  When this funding was cut ($6 an hour), only some Boards continued the programs on a user pay basis. 

LINC programs are funded by the Federal government through a provincial agreement and, in the TDSB, they are offered through Community Education. ESL programs are funded by the provincial government and offered in the TDSB through Continuing Education.  The idea is Continuing Education offers programs with standard accepted provincial funding and Community Education applies for grant-based programs from federal and provincial governments    

Adult Day School programs are offered by the Continuing Education department at the TDSB and funded by the provincial government.  Literacy Basic Skills programs are offered by the Community Education Department and funded by the provincial government. 

A lot of TDSB school trustee candidates may not understand there are two silos of administration for adult education. By telling them which program under which department you take, you will educate them. If they get elected they will have learned how it works for adults from you.  

Ask if they will support adult education and tell them what changes would help you.  

One more thing. There are four school Boards in Toronto: the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, the Toronto French School Board and Toronto Catholic French School Board. All are run by elected trustees. 

The Toronto Catholic School Board has a good range of Adult Education programs. 

So how do you know which Board to vote for?  When you go to vote, the polling clerk will ask you which Board you support.

If you have kids in school, ask their school which Board they come under. If you are the only one in your family as an adult going to school, ask your school which Board your program comes under. Then call 311 to see who your School Trustee candidates are. 

School Boards in the Greater Toronto Area

Other school boards in the GTA have a different organization for adult education of only one adult education department.  

Now, I have just described Toronto but Learning Curves is delivered in Peel Region (the cities of Mississauga and Brampton), York Region (the cites of Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Thornhill, Markham), Durham Region (cities of Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa) and Halton Region, (city of Oakville). Note: I have just named the cities where we deliver Learning Curves, not all the ones in these regions. These cities have a Mayor, Councillors and School Trustees for the various school boards and an elected Head of Regional Council for the Regions.

At least this was so in Peel and York Regions until Bill 5 was passed. Now, they will have appointed ones. Maybe.

To be clear in these regions you elect a Mayor and Councilors for your city but the School Board is for the region.  

You would elect a school trustee for the Peel District  School Board or the Dufferin- Peel Catholic District School Board; the York Region School Board, the York Region Catholic District School Board; the Durham School Board or the Durham Catholic District School Board; and,  finally the Halton District School Board or the Halton Catholic District School Board.

Speak up for Adult Education in the Municipal Elections. 

Take the time to make your Municipal politicians (Mayor, Councillors, Trustees) understand how your adult education program is part of their mandate. Tell them what you would like to see more of. Ask if they support adult education. 

During an election is the time when they reach out to you and listen. Let them know what they could do to help you and other adult learners! 

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