Toronto, March 01, 2019 - The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA)
is extremely alarmed by a government memo to school boards, recommending that boards
stop hiring teachers and other staff, including hiring needed to fill vacancies
for retirements and leaves, pending further announcements on education funding.
"The memo uses vague language like ‘prudence in hiring,'" says Liz Stuart, President
of OECTA, "but the message is clear: the government is asking schools to do more
with less. This will have a negative impact on student achievement and the learning
More concerning are indications that the government plans to make additional cuts,
including failing to maintain funding negotiated as part of OECTA's collective agreement
that provides additional supports for students with special education needs.
"It would be egregious enough to disregard collective agreements that were negotiated
in good faith, and that benefit Ontario students," says Stuart. "But to implement
more cuts that hurt students with special education needs is unconscionable. We
all understand this government's desire to reduce expenditures, but that cannot
come at the expense of student learning and well-being."
This direction is the latest in a series of troubling announcements by Premier Doug
Ford's government, which signals drastic cuts to the education sector, and specifically
target vulnerable youth. It follows dramatic reductions to autism supports, as well
as cuts to specialized education programs for at-risk students, and the loss of
the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth.
OECTA represents the 45,000 passionate and qualified teachers in Ontario's publicly
funded English Catholic schools, from Kindergarten to Grade 12.