Teachers In Action

Waterloo teachers are activists in their community! This section shares the work that our local does in fighting to support the principles of the labour movement, our community involvement and charity work, and our fight for social justice.

Labour updates

ETFO Waterloo is a proud delegate to the Waterloo Regional Labour Council, the Ontario Federation of Labour, and the Canadian Labour Congress.

As a delegate to these organizations, we send delegates to local monthly meetings and semi-annual conventions for the OFL/CLC. Being an engaged member of the labour movement requires that we stand in solidarity with our sister and brother union members. Please monitor our website and social media accounts to learn which action we are currently engaged in.

Our delegates to labour council are:


Greg Weiler

Vice President

Jeff Pelich

Project Overseas

Not only does ETFO-Waterloo support many community projects locally, but our members also make a difference in the professional lives of teachers and the education of students in developing countries through Project Overseas, a program of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation.
Every year during the summer, ETFO sponsors fourteen members from across the province to participate in Project Overseas.

Several ETFO-Waterloo members have participated in Project Overseas, supporting teachers in Sierra Leone, working with teacher organizations, and presenting professional development workshops side by side with experienced teachers from their host country.


We went to Liberia with Project Overseas in 2010. We were the first PO team in Liberia in 10 years, following a terrible civil war. My team was working with the National Teachers’ Association of Liberia (NTAL) to provide teacher training to untrained teachers hired to teach right after the civil war ended, so that schools could open. They had their high school diploma, but no teacher training.

As the country settled down, teachers needed to have training in education practices to continue to work. We were the first summer of a three-summer training program. At the end of it, the participants would have their certification, and be able to keep their jobs. We taught curriculum subjects and also modern teaching methods, psychology, gender-equity and AIDS awareness. This group graduated in 2012!

—A. Dahmer

Sierra Leone

Project Overseas is an amazing opportunity! I participated in Project Overseas for the third time during July 2013.

I have been fortunate enough to have spent all three projects in Sierra Leone in partnership with the Sierra Leone Teachers Union as they work to enhance the expertise of their teachers and, ultimately, the educational system of their country.

As is any partnership, the learning was a reciprocal process. Working side-by-side with my Sierra Leone counterparts, they shared personal tragedies that had occurred during their civil war, the desperate working conditions that exist in many villages, the low wages or high number of teachers who are not paid at all! Most importantly, each and every day the teachers expressed how grateful they were for the team of Canadians who were there to help them bring their county out of the desperate life that exists there currently.
My experiences gave me a true understanding of the quote that is mounted outside of the Sierra Leone Teachers Union site, ‘To Liberate, Is to Educate’.

I would like to thank both my local and provincial affiliate for the support they provide to this life-altering project. In addition, I know that each and every ETFO member who participates in the in-country program is supported by the thousands of teachers who are part of our union family.

I would highly recommend that teachers get involved in this global project. If you have any inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

—M. Beetham


We did it again!

For more than a dozen years through our Backpacks for Shelters project,
ETFO-WR and our members have made the holiday season brighter for families seeking shelter in our region.

Teachers are creative and generous people who use backpacks purchased for them by ETFO-WR to fill with gift items for the children, women and men.

We’ve distributed over 200 backpacks to schools this year. ETFO-Waterloo teachers are responsible for the donation of thousands of items each year, and for the smiles on the faces of hundreds of children during the holiday season.

Some teachers work with their colleagues to fill the backpacks, some fill them as a class project with their students, and some enlist the support of their whole school community.

Once filled, the backpacks come back to the ETFO office to be distributed to the region’s crisis shelters according to need. Anselma House, Haven House, Mary’s Place, The Bridges and St. Monica House are very happy that we will be working with them once again this season to support families in Waterloo Region.

Thanks teachers! You do great work!


ETFO-WR Donates

Part of the mandate of the ETFO-WR is to assist community organizations in their support of children and their families.

For many years, ETFO-Waterloo’s Political Action/Public Relations Committee and Executive have supported community organizations such as United Way, the Sexual Assault Support Centre, Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region, the Woolwich Family Violence Prevention Program and numerous shelters across the region.

These organizations support families in Waterloo Region. Their services are crucial to families in crisis and are in high demand in these difficult economic times. We know that these services are necessary to many of the children we teach each day.

Supporting our community through donations is just one more way ETFO-WR and our teachers do to improve the lives of children and families in Waterloo Region.


Nomination packages, including nomination form and supporting information is due at the ETFO office no later than Thursday, April 13, 2017 by 4:30 p.m. Nominations received after this date will not be considered.

Nominations must be made and seconded by an ETFO member (active, associate, honorary) with exception of the Environmental and Distinguished Teacher Awards in which nominations may be received from members of the educational community (parents, administrators or other school personnel).

The nominee may not have won the same award previously.

The awards committee strongly encourages members to nominate suitable candidates to recognize the excellent educators we have in Waterloo Region. Nominees must be active members of ETFO, with the exception of the School Volunteer Award. An active member is an ETFO member and is covered by the collective agreement for the elementary teachers for the Waterloo Region District School Board.

Questions regarding the awards may be made to Joanne Threndyle through WaterWorks or by calling the office at 519-896-7172 ext. 225 or any of the Committee members.




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