Ontario’s four teacher unions are filing formal appeals with the labour relations board over the Ford government’s back-to-school plans.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) and The Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) announced their intention to file the appeal in a press release issued on Monday morning.
In it, they argued that the Ministry of Education’s plans for the resumption of in-person instruction ”does not take every reasonable precaution to protect workers” as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The joint communique argues that the province is not adhering to the COVID safeguards that are in place for other workplaces across the province. The statement also took issue with Ford Government for suggesting “that by raising concerns about the government’s school reopening plan teachers and education workers are failing to do their part to help Ontarians navigate the COVID19 pandemic.”
The Bay Observer contacted all four union as well as the NDP to find out specifics of their request for smaller class sizes, asking how many teachers would need to be hired, the cost and what would happen to the teachers at the end of the pandemic. The NDP, the EFTO and the AEFO did not respond. The OECTA could not provide any specifics. The OSSTF as of last week said boards in the GTHA have reduced secondary school class sizes to 15 and suggested they would give it a try.
The full communique follows.