For the first time since 1997, teachers and education workers in Ontario’s elementary and secondary school will all participate in job action on the same day, according to the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).
Members of the Association des Enseignantes et des Enseignants Franco-Ontariens (AEFO), the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) will all strike on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.
“It is clear to all four Ontario education unions and our members that the Ford government and Education Minister Lecce care nothing about students or educators and everything about taking money out of the publicly funded education system,” AEFO President Rémi Sabourin said in a statement. “To achieve their cuts, they have knowingly thrown students, families, educators and the system into chaos.”
The one-day strike action will account for nearly 200,000 teachers and educators striking across 72 school boards, affecting nearly 5,000 schools, and is occurring in protest of the government funding cuts to education, the ETFO said.
“Educators in every school board will not stay silent as the Ford government proceeds to decimate our publicly funded education system,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “Our unions and members helped build Ontario’s world-class education system. By not seriously addressing the issues critical to students and student learning, the Ford government has made a sham of contract talks over the last seven months.”
This strike will take place after three days of strike action affected schools in the Kingston area this week, including the OSSTF strike tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, affecting all secondary schools within the Limestone District School Board.
“We are already seeing the effects of this government’s reckless education cuts,” said OECTA President Liz Stuart. “The Ford government is reducing supports for students with special education needs and mental health issues. It is squeezing students into overcrowded classes and forcing high school students to take e-learning courses. If we allow the government to implement its plan fully, thousands of teaching positions and tens of thousands of course options will be lost.”
“It is now evident that the Ford government’s agenda is entirely ideological and not at all concerned with providing quality education,” agreed OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof. “They are pulling resources out of the public education system and, with schemes like mandatory e-learning, laying the groundwork for private interests to profit from our students’ education. We are heartened that so many parents are standing with us against the dismantling of Ontario’s public education system.”
Here in Kingston, this means all schools across both the Limestone District School Board and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board will be closed on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.