June 17, 2024
Ontario teachers' union is stirring up fear with exceptionally weak arguments
A scene from a recent Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario commercial.
A scene from a recent Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario commercial.

Ontario’s elementary teachers’ union has a scary message for parents. “Doug Ford’s cuts hurt our kids,” the union claims in a big ad campaign that includes a TV commercial, newspaper ads, social media, flyers mailed to homes, a truck displaying an electronic billboard and even a plane that flew a banner over Ford’s annual picnic.

Wow. Nobody wants to hurt kids, so what are these cuts the union is talking about, and how will they harm children?

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario points to what it calls three key priorities at the bargaining table. The first is protecting full-day kindergarten, which it says the government is “putting at risk.” This is likely to be an easy victory for the union, because there is no government plan to eliminate full-day kindergarten or to expand class sizes or increase caps. To be fair, the premier did create some confusion back in January, when he refused to guarantee the program after this school year. That was subsequently walked back by the education minister and the no-change policy was confirmed again this week.

It is interesting to note that the original plan for full-day junior kindergarten called for a teacher working a half day and the rest of the day to be covered by early childhood educators, who are trained specifically for that work. Then-premier Dalton McGuinty let the teachers’ unions persuade him that a full-time teacher was necessary, adding $500 million annually to the program’s cost. Changing back to the originally proposed staffing would be a way to save money without hurting kids. The teachers’ union wouldn’t like it so don’t expect it to happen.

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See Also:

(1) Ford government asking public to weigh in on proposed photo radar changes

(2) Wait times at Ontario hospitals climbed to record high this summer, data shows

(3) You can now show your proof of auto insurance electronically in Ontario

(4) New school year, new strike threats

(5) Fiscal restraint? Doug Ford’s Ontario government spent billions more than Wynne had planned in 2018-19

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