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December 1998


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From the Policy Document to the Classroom

Subject associations help teachers transform
policy into classroom work.

By Ludi Habs

Subject associations play a necessary and vital role in furthering the profile and professionalism of a discipline’s teachers. These associations offer opportunities for teachers to communicate with one another, mostly through conferences and journals.

Some associations have opulent offices and permanent staff; some meet in a teacher’s basement. Most are staffed by a small cadre of dedicated volunteers.

The Ontario History and Social Science Teachers’ Association (OHASSTA), in which I have been involved since 1982, organizes an annual conference, communicates regularly with its members, lobbies on behalf of the subject to anyone who will listen, and reviews educational and government reports.

Other subject associations have similar goals.

OHASSTA has 14 executive members, most of whom have long years of experience. An influx of younger members would be welcome, but the time commitment can be daunting. I see the same challenge in other associations, as I run into the same people year after year and see the same names in journals and conference brochures.


Of all association activities, the conference probably has the highest profile. It involves the largest number of teachers, both as volunteers organizing the conference and leading workshops, and also as participants. Conference registration fees provide the largest source of income – along with membership fees – for the subject associations.

Conferences typically include guest speakers addressing the conference delegates on the conference theme and up to hundreds of workshops of particular interest to teachers in that subject area.

OHASSTA, for instance, has organized an annual conference for the last 25 years. Among the recent themes were "Towards Unity or Chaos: Which Will It Be?" with then-premier of Newfoundland Clyde Wells and Lucien Bouchard debating separatism and "Canada as I See It" with Preston Manning, Sheila Copps and Jean Charest.

Another part of the conference is the exhibitors’ booths. Publishers and suppliers of school-related materials give teachers a look what’s new in their discipline. A few years ago Bell Canada underwrote the cost of giving 400 OHASSTA conference participants a copy of the newly published Canada Remembers: 1939–1945, a kit chronicling Canada’s participation in the war. Many publishers also present workshops related to their products.

At its conference, OHASSTA has instituted a formal opportunity for delegates to have a voice in forming policy. Resolutions passed here have directed OHASSTA’s lobbying efforts.


Like the newsletters of other subject associations, OHASSTA’s communications vehicle, Rapport, publishes articles, book reviews and keeps members informed about curriculum changes. Putting Rapport together, can, depending on whether one deems a family or social life a necessity, take up an inordinate amount of time. Anyone who has ever been an editor of a volunteer publication can attest that people promising to submit articles prior to deadline far outnumber those who do.

Subject associations lobby on behalf of their discipline. This is especially true of those who represent disciplines that governments have decided are unimportant. OHASSTA is constantly battling those who have deemed history, especially Canadian history, as less desirable to a student’s well-rounded education than English, Mathematics or the sciences.

Lobbying efforts have recently become a Herculean task, thanks to the ministry’s lack of financial support for consultation groups. Since OHASSTA and other subject associations must attend meeting upon meeting, all at the association’s expense, financial resources have been taxed to the limit. In many cases supply teachers and related expenses are the responsibility of the subject association. And if you don’t attend, you don’t get to play.


Like other subject associations, OHASSTA has been vigilant in reviewing any major government document having to do with education, often responding with formal replies. During the Royal Commission on Learning’s consultation sessions, OHASSTA was one of the few organizations that presented an oral report to the commissioners.

The task of reviewing, lobbying and attending meetings comes with a price. I recall a ministry meeting where the English teachers’ association was absent. I later learned that the association was forced virtually to disband after having suffered one poorly-attended conference. They did not have the funds to send representatives to the ministry meetings.

This year, for the first time in more than 25 years, the OHASSTA executive decided we could not afford to organize the annual conference in the usual way. With the unrest in education, less money available for professional development, and with so many teachers at the secondary level beginning the school year in less than ideal conditions, we could not guarantee a well-attended conference. We decided that the organization had to be healthy for lobbying purposes and the membership therefore was deprived of an anticipated annual event.

Subject associations exist for the teachers. We are the experts because we are the teachers. We put on the workshops. We publish the journals. We attend the ministry meetings. And we drive hundreds of kilometres each year to bring our message and our support to our subject teachers in other communities.

Subject associations offer the vital lifeline between policy and the implementation in the classroom. Don’t let this valuable resource go to waste. Support your subject association.

Ludi Habs teaches in the Peel Board and is past president of OHASSTA. He can be reached at

Subject Associations Contacts List

Ontario Council for Adult Educators (OCAE)
Gerry Pigat (Ms)
Northview Heights Secondary School
550 Finch Ave. West
North York ON M2R 1N6

Ontario Society for Education through Art (OSEA)
Susan Jones
Sinclair Secondary School
380 Taunton Road East
Whitby ON L1R 2K5
(905) 666-5400

Ontario Business Educators Association (OBEA)
Dennis Lunau
Sir Fredrick Banting Secondary School
125 Sherwood Forest Sq.
London ON N6G 2C3
(519) 452-2800

Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO)
Marilynn Pascale, President
21 Redstone Path
Etobicoke ON M9C 1Y7
(416) 394-2159

Ontario Co-operative Education Association (OCEA)
Richard Charette
École secondaire l’Essor
13605 St. Gregory Road
St. Clair Beach ON N8N 3E4
(519) 735-4115, ext. 244

Council of Drama in Education (CODE)
Jane Deluzio
Toronto District School board
140 Borough Drive
Scarborough ON M1P 4N6
(416) 396-7528

Ontario Council of Teachers of English (OCTE)
John Borovilos
30 Bowater Drive
Scarborough ON M1T 1T2
(416) 393-0620

English Language Arts Network (ELAN)
Ken Draayer
District School Board of Niagara
Hwy # 20
Allenburg ON L0S 1A0
(905) 227-5551

English as a Second Language Resource Group of Ontario (ERGO)
Paula Markus
Co-ordinator English/ESL Department
Toronto District School Board
1 Civic Centre Court
Etobicoke ON M9C 2B3
(416) 394-7495

Teachers of English as a Second Language Association of Ontario
Jane Campbell
27 Carlton Street
Suite 405
Toronto ON M5B 1L2
(416) 593-0164

Ontario Society for Environmental Education (OSEE)
Carolyn Pearce
73 Wake Robin Drive
Kitchener ON N2E 3L4
(519) 893-1334

Ontario Family Studies
Co-ordinators’ Council (OFSCC)
Helen Kerr
Strathroy District College Institute
96 Kittredge Avenue
Strathroy ON N7G 2A8
(519) 245-2680

Ontario Family Studies/Home Economics Educators’ Association(OFSHEEA)
Rosemary Sutton
Applewood Heights Secondary School
945 Bloor Street East
Mississauga ON L4Y 2M8
(905) 279-6090

Ontario Geography Co-ordinators’ Association (OGCA)
George Thompson
(905) 892-5719

Ontario Association for Geographic & Environmental Education (OAGEE)
Patti Smith
1080 Durant Court
Cumberland ON K4C 1B8
(613) 722-6566, ext. 2282

Ontario Guidance Leadership Association (OGLA)
Joanne Twist
Peel District School Board
5650 Hurontario Street
Mississauga ON L5R 1C6
(905) 890-1010, ext. 2347

Ontario School Counsellors’ Association (OSCA)
Tony DiLena
1 St. Joan of Arc Avenue
Maple ON L6A 1W9

Ontario History and Social Science Teachers’ Association (OHASSTA)
Lela Lilko
10 Chatterton Court
Brampton ON L6W 4G9

Ontario History Consultants’ Association (OHCA)
Allan Hux
North East Community Education Center
155 College Street
Toronto ON M5T 1P6
(416) 397-3863

Secondary School Hospitality Educators of Ontario (SSHEO)
Allen Holtz
Sir Guy Carleton Secondary School
55 Centrepointe Drive
Nepean ON K2G 5L4
(613) 723-5136

Ontario Association of Junior Educators (OAJE)
Fay Farmer
Northumberland-Clarington Education Centre
834 D’Arcy Street N., Box 470
Cobourg ON K9A 4L2
(905) 372-6871, ext. 289

Ontario School Library Association (OSLA)
Elizabeth Kerr
District School Board 14
834 D’Arcy Street, P.O. Box 470
Cobourg ON K9A 4L2
(905) 885-7251, ext. 243

Ontario Association for Mathematics Education (OAME)
David Zimmer
11 Albert Street
Georgetown ON L7G 2A1
(905) 873-8367
1-800-668-0671 ext. 442

Ontario Mathematics Coordinators’ Association (OMCA)
c/o Toronto District School Board
Attn: Stewart Craven
840 Coxwell Avenue
Toronto ON M4C 2V3
(416) 394-7289

Ontario Modern Language Teachers’ Association (OMLTA)
Andrea Paturel
328 Springbank Dr.
London ON N6J 1G5
(519) 452-8280

Ontario Music Educators’ Association (OMEA)
Jane Cutler
York Region Board of Education
60 Wellington Street West, Box 40
Aurora ON L4G 3H2
(905) 727-0022, ext. 2435

Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario (COEO)
Norm Frost
Box C10, R. R. #2
Singhampton ON N0C 1M0
(519) 925-3913
(905) 857-4160 (Toronto Area)

Ontario Physical and Health Education Association (OPHEA)
Colin Vickers
Upper Canada District School Board
25 Centre Avenue West
Brockville ON M3C 3V6
(613) 342-0371

Ontario Association for the Supervision of Physical and Health Education (OASPHE)
Richard Ward
c/o Toronto District School Board
2 Trethewey Drive
Toronto ON M6M 4A8
(416) 394-2147

Consultants’/Coordinators’ Association of Primary Educators (CAPE)
Gabrielle O’Reilly
Simcoe County RCSSB
46 Alliance Blvd.
Barrie ON L4M 5K3
(705) 722-3555

Ontario Reading Association (ORA)
Anthea Gardiner
1055 Bay Street, # 910
Toronto ON M5S 3A3
(416) 394-2161

Council of Religious Educators in Ontario (CREO)
Patrick Vardy
133 Palace Drive
Sault Ste. Marie ON P6B 5H7
(705) 945-5540

Science Teachers’ Association of Ontario (STAO)
Paul Weese
Box 771, 900 Lorne Avenue
Dresden ON L6K 1N6
(905) 820-9822

Science Coordinators’ and Consultants’ Association of Ontario (SCCAO)
Kyn Barker
York Region District School Board
60 Wellington Street West
Aurora ON L4G 3H2
(416) 969-7170, ext. 2430

Council for Exceptional Children, Ontario Provincial Association
(CEC, Ontario)
Jackie Bajus (Mrs.)
Mother Teresa School
Hamilton ON L8W 3E8
(905) 318-2063

Secondary Special Education Council (SSEC)
Catherine Eagles
Pauline Johnson Collegiate Vocational School
627 Colborne Street
Brantford ON N3S 3M8
(519) 756-1320

Ontario Technical Directors’ Association (OTDA)
Geoff Shilleto
2–163 Pine Valley Drive
London ON N5Y 2K3
(519) 433-8405

Ontario Technical Education Association (OTEA)
Rudy Hofer
Waterloo Collegiate
300 Hazel Street
Waterloo ON N2L 3P2
(519) 884-9590

Design and Technology Teachers of Ontario (DTTO)
Dean Doucette
74 Chestnut Crescent
Scarborough ON M1L 1Y5
(416) 393-5544


Conseil des enseignant(e)s – bibliothécaires franco-ontariens (CEBFO)
Roger Frappier
6–525, boulevard St-Laurent
Ottawa ON K1K 2Z9
(613) 761-9300, poste 240

Association francophone pour l’éducation artistique en Ontario (AFEAO)
Madeleine Aubrey
329, avenue Fifth
Ottawa ON K1S 2N6
(613) 731-0742

Association professionnelle pour l’enfance en difficulté de l’Ontario (APEDO)
Louise R. Mayer
École Samuel de Champlain
275 rue Park
Orillia ON L3V 5W1
(705) 326-7050

Association franco-ontarienne des enseignant(e)s en éducation
technologique (AFOET)
Claude Grenier
École Louis-Riel
1655 ch. Bearbrook
Gloucester ON K1B 4N3
(613) 837-2216

Alliance ontarienne des professeurs de français (AOPF)
Pierre Hardy
C.P. 803
Iroquois Falls ON P0K 1G0
(705) 232-4061