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2021 President’s Message to Ontario CEC

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Happy New Year and welcome to Ontario CEC 2021!

As dedicated professionals connected to the field of special education the need for us to communicate and collaborate in creative ways has never been greater.  As the global pandemic continues to impact our daily and work lives to a significant degree, we are experiencing a challenging time in our careers. 

In the spring of 2020 educators, paraprofessionals and all forms of support staff created and developed, in-class, synchronous and asynchronous methods of teaching and delivering supports and services to the most vulnerable children and youth in Ontario. Although many challenges exist for our children, youth and families related to online and blended forms of learning, educators and support staff continue to enhance and improve these complex and creative approaches to teaching with dedication and passion. The success of these varied approaches is due to the commitment of all who work in the special education realm.  

The contacts, connections and resources provided by CEC are essential for professionals who work in this field, as we navigate new ways to develop and apply programs and materials.  Members of CEC have access to webcasts, podcasts, journal articles, resource links, and communication tools that are Canadian-wide and world-wide, to explore and use to enhance their practice. As a member of one of the many Divisions CEC has to offer, you can dig deeper into issues that are more specific to your professional experience.
Advocacy and progressive change is a cornerstone of our Ontario CEC mission. The Ontario Council for Exceptional Children has and will continue to advocate for the needs of exceptional children and youth through communication and consultation with the Special Education Branch of the Ministry of Education, the Minister’s Advisory Council for Special Education (MACSE) and the Ontario Council of Administrators of Special Education (OCASE - a subdivision of  the CEC Council of Administrators of Special Education).

Our annual Ontario CEC conference is a popular, well-attended event. Due to public health guidelines our 2020 conference was postponed until the Fall/Winter of 2021. We expect this conference to be a hybrid event which will be held in a yet to be confirmed location. Visit our website for more information as it is released.

We have a yearly awards program, celebrating adult and youth from our schools, businesses, and Special Education Partnerships throughout Ontario.  Local CEC chapters in Ontario host a community wards event   each year, and provincial awards are presented at the annual conference. Take a look at our Awards tab on the Ontario CEC website for more information regarding the type of awards we offer and to view past award recipients.

Part of the mission of Ontario CEC is to maintain and grow our membership across Ontario. As a member of CEC you have a role to play, by reaching out to colleagues, explaining the benefits of a CEC membership, inviting a colleague to attend our conference and guiding them towards the Ontario and International CEC website and the Ontario CEC Facebook page. We encourage you to stay in touch with us through these sites; comment with colleagues through your Canadian Community found on the CEC website, and post/share information on our Facebook page.

Ontario CEC currently has an opening for a Member at Large position on the Board of Directors. It is a 2-year term of office. If you are interested in applying for this position, contact our Nominations Chair, Amy Shannon at by February 28th.  This is a wonderful opportunity to become involved in the important work of Ontario CEC, sharing your skills and expertise. You can meet our current Board of Directors at and view the President’s goals below.

As your president I extend my appreciation and best wishes to all those involved with exceptional children and youth in Ontario, as we move forward together in 2021.

Donna Zuccato                                                                                                                                                      
President, Ontario Council for Exceptional Children                                                                        

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President’s Goals 2021

Quality Teaching and Learning

  • Enhance interest and use of our online resources on our website and Facebook page, including links to Canadian and international research-based information 
  • Continue to utilize connections with professional staff and students at post-secondary institutions
  • Increase awareness among board members of the needs of our membership and all those who work with exceptional children in Ontario


  • Focus our efforts towards advocacy and progressive change through communication and consultation with the Special Education Branch of the Ministry of Education, the Minister’s Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE),  the Ontario Council of Administrators of Special Education (OCASE) and other organizations and individuals who work on behalf of children and youth with exceptionalities

Collaborative Partnerships 

  • Communicate effectively with educators, service providers and families in all geographical areas in Ontario 
  • Maintain and build membership across Ontario, including in post-secondary institutions
  • Expand diversity among board members and Ontario CEC membership
  • Recruit and support new board members through connections and mentoring by the board of directors and all Ontario CEC members

Organizational Vitality

  • Enhance communication and adherence to timelines and processes 
  • Utilize a cloud storage system to support teamwork among committee members 
  • Develop leadership skills through the use of the Skills Assessment, Competencies and Experiences Survey 
Posted:  22 January, 2021
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Author: Donna Zuccato

President, Ontario Council for Exceptional Children  

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