Ontario’s inept premier government wants to “reopen” schools – in-person teaching – but has a shortage of qualified teachers. Ontario is so desperate for warm bodies that people I know in the ESL trade from Ontario are receiving emails and messages like this:
Teaching in person? In an era of COVID-19? With Ford and Ontario’s incompetent response to the pandemic? And that’s before we talk about budget gouges (they’re not cuts). And the failure to provide basis maintenance of schools.
Then there’s the issue of non-union wages (as if Ontario would pay them decent wages, let alone union wages) that likely won’t include hazard pay, safety equipment or benefits. There’s no word on how the Ontario Teachers’ Federation feels about hiring non-union staff, but the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation sounds ready to toe the line in order to keep it a union shop. Those I’ve talked to who are qualified teachers and have ambitions of unionized jobs when they eventually return home are saying, “Not just no, HELL no!” Nobody wants to go back.
From the World Socialist (WSWS) Web Site:
By Matthew Richter
8 September 2020
In an interview with Toronto-based CP24 television last week, the head of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), Harvey Bischof, admitted that the government-big business drive to reopen schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic is endangering teachers’ health and even lives.
He pointed to the lack of social distancing measures, the Ontario Conservative government’s refusal to reduce class sizes, and the failure of the government and school boards to provide teachers with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to substantiate this assessment.
Yet when Bischof was asked what the trade unions intend to do about these life-threatening work conditions, his answer was unequivocal. “If the question is whether we are planning some illegal job action, the answer is a flat out no,” he asserted.
At the end of July, Beau of the Fifth Column did this “light hearted” video about a shortage of teachers in the US. Ontario may not be recruiting Canadian military members, but a lot of this still rings true.