Toronto, April 30, 2019 - The government should be ashamed of the games they are
playing with the collective bargaining process and our publicly funded education
system, says the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA).
"The inflammatory statements made by Minister of Education Lisa Thompson about teachers'
organizations being unwilling to begin bargaining are a childish, desperate attempt
to shift blame for the damage the government is doing to publicly funded education
in Ontario," says Liz Stuart, President of OECTA.
"This statement is further evidence that this government has absolutely no grasp
on the collective bargaining process and what ‘good faith' actually means. It is
stunts like this that erode public confidence and create anxiety," adds Stuart.
The government is currently in the midst of consultations around class size increases,
compensation for public sector workers, and the fair hiring process for teachers.
"These are matters that should properly be dealt with through collective bargaining,
but discussions cannot begin while the government is still pretending that the matters
are up for debate with other parties," says Stuart. The government also has not
released the full Technical Paper for the 2019-20 Grants for Student Needs, which
means teachers and school boards are not able to properly assess how schools will
be funded in the coming school year.
"The government needs to step up and start acting responsibly. Nothing they have
done thus far concerning education has been in good faith, and with their statements
over the past few days they are obviously trying to bully teachers and mislead the
public. Our Association wants to reach a fair agreement that will serve our members'
interests and protect quality working and learning conditions, but we can only do
this when we have all of the necessary information. I want parents to know that
Catholic teachers want to be in their classrooms teaching come this September, despite
the disruption this government is causing by the elimination of thousands of classes
across the province of Ontario."
OECTA represents the 45,000 passionate and qualified teachers in Ontario's publicly
funded English Catholic schools, from Kindergarten to Grade 12.