Brampton Students Grappling with Cancelled Classes

 

A union representing Region of Peel (Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon) educators has spoken out against cuts to the education system and is asking residents to reach out to MPPs to express concerns about job losses and cancelled classes. 

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF)—District 19 Peel (one of the unions that is currently bargaining with the province to come up with a new labour collective agreement) recently released a statement outlining challenges it believes students are facing. 

"Here in Peel, the school year has begun with 73 fewer secondary teachers who no longer have permanent positions, which has resulted in over 420 fewer classes for secondary students. All this despite an increase in secondary student enrollment," the OSSTF said in a news release. 

The union says the job losses—which were lower than anticipated because of the Ontario government's $1.6-billion attrition fund, which was rolled out after the Peel District School Board (PDSB) announced it would have to lay-off 300 staff members without help from the province—is a direct result of the Ministry of Education's funding cuts. 

The permanent job losses and cancelled classes are the result of the province's decision to increase class sizes in certain grades. 

Most recently, the Ontario government said class sizes would be increased over a four-year period. Initially, there was no indication that the cuts wouldn't be immediate. 

"…Schools have been implementing these cuts, and at the end of the first week of classes, secondary students are seeing first-hand what effect the cuts have already had," the statement reads. 

The union says that while the PDSB has been able to offer temporary positions to most surplus teachers (meaning teachers who lost their permanent jobs but still are employed by the school board), the government has not kept its promise that no front-line worker would lose his or her job. 

The OSSTF warns the cuts will "continue to have a negative impact on students and on the economy." 

"They will limit the opportunities for students and will have negative personal, social and fiscal impacts for Ontario. And this is only the first of four years of planned cuts to public education," the release reads. 

The union is asking residents to contact local Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon MPPs and urge the province to reverse the cuts. 

The OSSTF is one of several unions negotiating with the province to, ideally, prevent a labour disruption.

As of now, no union is in a legal strike position. That means that, for the time being, classes will continue as usual. 

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