Jim Grieve’s Response to District 04-Sudbury-Manitoulin`s Inquiry on Name Change

Dec 06, 2023

Hello to all,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts about the organizational renaming process that RTOERO is undertaking.

Change can be difficult – so why are we looking to change a name that has served our organization for 55 years? Here is a bit of context and background:

In 2018-2019, we engaged in extensive consultation with members and districts to define our “brand” – the unique value we bring to members and Canadian society. As part of that process, we heard very clearly that our name – The Retired Teachers of Ontario/Les Enseignantes et Enseignants Retraités de l’Ontario – no longer accurately represents our organization for the following reasons:

  • We now have members and districts all across Canada – not only in Ontario.
  • Our members are from the broader education community – early childhood education, schools and school boards, post-secondary and more, in academic, administrative and support roles.
  • Members don’t have to be retired to join – they can begin to enjoy the member benefits while they are working.

In 2019, we launched the new brand visuals and materials, but we knew that we would need to complete the rebrand by addressing the organizational name. In the interim, we have been using RTOERO as our name.

Our organizational name is our calling card, and it has a big job to do:

  • Our name needs to help us tell our story today and in the future.
  • It needs to express who we are and create a sense of what we believe.
  • It needs to suit our current members, but it also needs to help us connect with future members in an increasingly competitive landscape.

A new name for our organization needs to meet a number of vitally important criteria. A new name will:

  • Need to “work” in both English and French
  • Need to feel like us
  • Be distinctive and “ownable” – we must be able to legally register it for our use across Canada
  • Remain apt as our organization grows and evolves in the future

Some members might think that we can continue to go along using “RTOERO” as our name. Here are some of the reasons this is not a workable long-term solution:

  • RTOERO is unwieldy as a name – it’s six letters, so it’s cumbersome to pronounce. Many people try to turn it into a word – and try to pronounce it as Arturo or Arteero, for example.
  • When people see RTOERO, they ask what the acronym stands for – and we’re right back to the name that does not fully fit our organization any longer.
  • Many people get confused between RTOERO and RTIP – and end up joining our competitor when they think they are joining us.
  • The Retired Teachers of Ontario/Les Enseignantes et Enseignants Retraités de l’Ontario is still the legal name of our organization – we need to have consistency between our legal name and the name we use day-to-day.

A few other things to consider:

  • This is not the first time our organization has undergone a name change. Until 1998, we were known as The Superannuated Teachers of Ontario.
  • Members have strongly told us that “inclusion” is an important value of our organization. So, we really need a name that includes all current – and future – members.

I want to assure you that the process we are using to develop a new name prioritizes the perspectives of our members and districts. Throughout the fall, we are gathering members’ perspectives in many ways:

  • Session at Presidents Workshop in September to gather input about concepts important to our identify as an organization
  • Session at Fall Forum in October to gather input on key questions related to our organization
  • Member survey in November
  • District input on discussion questions in November and December

All of this input will help to shape the next steps of the process. And we will continue to communicate with districts and members throughout the process.

The passion that our members have for our organization is truly one of our strengths. You can be assured that everything about our organization that matters to you will only be enhanced by a new name that helps us to be more effective in telling our story to current and future members – as well as to our many partner organizations, government officials and other stakeholders.

Again, thank you for sharing your perspective. I encourage you to continue to be part of this renaming process.

Warm regards,

Jim Grieve

Chief Executive Officer/Directeur général

t: 416-962-9463 ext 222  | 1-800-361-9888  m: 647-502-7443