Last Update: September 2023

If you have a question, concern, need clarification, want to double-check, or wish to run a scenario by the Bluewater Occasional Teacher Local, please contact our local president.


Call Out Time

The evening callout (or text!) time period is from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sunday to Thursday. You can, however, call into the system whenever you wish to hear of available jobs, or search online. The call-in number is 1-844-251-6720 and the website is You can also download the app - use code ZJJQ. 

The morning job offer period is from 6 a.m. until all jobs are filled. A job will remain in callout even if it has already started until the assignment is 20% over. If you are called for or log in to see, an assignment that has begun or that will begin before you can arrive, you are encouraged to accept the position then call and/or email the Administrator and call and leave a message in the General Mailbox to give them your estimated arrival time for the position. You will only be paid from the time of your arrival until the end of the assignment.

From midnight until 10:30 a.m., you will only see assignments for that day. These settings are also in effect on weekends. Once it is 10:30 a.m., you will be able to see assignments for future days.

Assignment Details

The board will endeavour to ensure the automated callout will include the names of the teacher(s) being replaced, the grade(s) to be taught, the assigned time including scheduled supervision, and any special information including communicable diseases as per Article 21.03 (Collective Agreement Clause 20.03)

SFX Profile

You can list one or all schools, it is up to you (CA Clause 9.01.01) and can be changed on your own when logged into the system. If you completed an ABQ/AQ and would like to add new qualifications (called Classifications in Smartfind) to your profile, please email [email protected] through your O365 Board Outlook Email along with a link to your OCT qualifications.

The following classifications are available to add to your profile:
• JK-Grade 8 (must be certified in Primary, Junior and Intermediate divisions)
• Primary
• Junior
• Intermediate
• French - Core
• French Immersion
• Music
• Special Education

Call-Out Order

SFX calls out first by qualifications (called Classifications in SFX), meaning that if you get a call for a job for which you do not have the qualifications, any qualified teacher wanting to teach at that school has already declined the position or was booked unavailable, and now the job is available to everyone else. This happens most often with French, as there simply are not enough French-qualified OTs in the Board. If you get a call for a French position, even immersion, the teacher will be much happier with an English OT in there than no OT at all, and the fact that you got the call means there are no French OTs available, so if you're at all willing to do it, go for it!

Getting calls from locations that are not on your profile? Once a job has been offered to everyone who has selected a given location, the position is put through a Board-wide "all call" in a last attempt to fill the position. If you wish to be excluded from this last round of calls, you can opt-out by sending an email to [email protected] and ask to be excluded from the Board-wide last round of call-outs. Note that removing yourself from the final, board-wide round of callouts, will also stop the system from calling you for jobs that are at schools on your SFX profile where the classifications (primary, junior, intermediate, French, Spec Ed) do not match your classifications.

Our Collective Agreement provides for Priority Lists (Collective Agreement Clause 21.02), a shortlist of OTs that each school can create that will receive calls to that school first through Smartfind Express. There are limits on how many OTs can be on each school's Priority List. To get on one of these Priority Lists, approach a school's Admin, as they maintain the Lists.

Principals may call to book occasional teachers under the following circumstances: a) Situations on the same day, 45 minutes prior to the commencement of school. b) Self-contained classes if required. c) instrumental Music classes if required (Collective Agreement Clause 21.03)

Unavailable for Assignments

Occasional teachers are to inform the automated call system of any unavailability time (Collective Agreement Clause 21.03).

If you accept an LTO, take a Leave of Absence, or are unavailable for an extended period of time, you need to book yourself unavailable in SFX. Being in an LTO is not connected to SFX, and you will receive calls you cannot accept while in the position. This is another element of making SFX run efficiently by not calling people for a position that simply cannot possibly accept.

Adjusting your General Availability will prevent you from receiving calls for days when you are not available. You will however still see them online and need to be careful not to accept them by accident. Adjusting your Unavailability Dates will prevent you from receiving calls for days when you are not available to work, as well as prevent you from seeing them online. 

Declining Assignment Offers

There are no limits on the number of assignments you are permitted to decline. If you do not want to accept a job for whatever reason, simply decline it. Exception: same-day job offers. During morning callouts, SFX will stop calling you after you have declined 2 assignments, hung up on 5 assignments, or missed 10 calls. SFX will resume calling that night for future assignments. There is no penalty for declining assignments.

Accepting Assignments Offers

You receive an email when you accept an assignment, as well as when a previously accepted assignment is modified or cancelled. This can be a critical way to ensure you stay on top of your assignments. If you are not receiving these emails, or wish to have them sent to a different email address, log into SFX and update your email address.

Be careful when accepting part-day assignments that you are able to arrive on time. SFX only pays attention to start and end times, not locations, so if you are working in Kincardine from 8:40-11:30, you will still receive a call to teach in Owen Sound from 11:45-3:10, even though it is physically impossible to complete both assignments. If you find you have accidentally accepted 2 positions and you cannot really work both, go back and cancel one as soon as possible to give it the maximum amount of time to find a new OT.

OT Cancelling Assignments after Accepting a Job Number

When you cancel an assignment, Admin is not notified. This means that if you need to cancel an assignment the morning of or the night before the assignment, call and/or email the Administrator and give a call and leave a message in the General Mailbox since they may not notice on their own after having seen the assignment filled when they last checked in the system.

An OT cannot cancel an assignment in SFX in the 90 minutes before the assignment begins, as a feature parameter set in SFX. If you need to cancel an assignment within 90 minutes of the assignment starting, call and/or email the Administrator and give a call and leave a message in the General Mailbox and explain you were unable to cancel using SFX.

Principal Cancelling the Assignment after you Accepted a Job Number

An occasional teacher who has been placed on a prearranged work assignment and who arrives for work without having received prior notice of cancellation at least two hours prior to work, shall be paid one half (1/2) a day's pay. If alternate work to replace the original work assignment has been offered to the occasional teacher and the occasional teacher refuses to accept such alternate work, the occasional teacher forfeits the half (1/2) day’s pay mentioned above.

When inclement weather causes school closures or bus cancellations:
a) It is the school administrator’s responsibility to inform the automated call system of the cancellation of the assignment at least two hours prior to the work assignment.
b) It is the Occasional Teacher’s responsibility to verify the work assignment through the automated call system or Office 365.

Inclement weather especially can make people unsure about whether or not they should be going to a job, but the reality is, no matter what the weather is like, how you feel about driving, or whether you wake up feeling ill, the process of deciding whether or not you should be going into your daily assignment is actually always the same.

SmartFind Express is the only system you need to check on the status of your assignment at the two-hour mark before your assignment begins and for every assignment, not just on inclement weather days.

There are many reasons jobs may be cancelled by the school. A personal phone call or email from an Administrator that your job has been cancelled is appreciated, but not necessary, and an assignment is only officially cancelled through SmartFind Express. As a Daily OT, there is no need to listen to radio stations or check online for bus cancellations or school closures, besides of course, for your own personal safety decision-making. If you receive less than 2 hours notice, contact the Local President as payment may be arranged depending on the situation. This is different between Boards and Secondary.