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Waterloo Region early childhood educator Lisa Tonner wins ETFO Health and Safety Award

Her work has improved health and safety in before- and after-school care programs.

August 13, 2019

TORONTO - The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has presented Waterloo Region designated early childhood educator (DECE) Lisa Tonner with its 2019 Health and Safety Activist Award for her work in ensuring the health and safety of children and DECEs.

The award is presented to an ETFO member to recognize outstanding commitment and involvement in health and safety activities.

As vice-president of the Waterloo Region DECE Local, Lisa identified that there was no process to support DECEs should they feel the need to refuse unsafe work during the Extended Day and/or Youth Development programs offered by the school board. Lisa also noted that her members were not reporting violent incidents in these programs, making it difficult for them to advocate for additional support for children.

As a member of the Joint Health and Safety Committee at the Waterloo Region District School Board, Lisa worked closely with the board's Manager of Health, Safety and Security. She initiated the creation of the Work Refusal Process for DECE Workers in before and after-care programs and has taken every opportunity to explain to her members the importance of completing all relevant forms that apply to violent incidents with children. The result has been an increase in support for both children and DECEs.

"The implementation of Full-Day Kindergarten, particularly the before- and after-school care programs, left some gaps in supports that Lisa readily identified," said ETFO President Sam Hammond. "By being proactive, Lisa has done a huge service to young children and DECEs, ensuring that their health and safety are better protected."

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. ETFO's Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at