Please find attached the update from the President’s Townhall meeting last week – thank you to everyone who are participated.
Since our meeting our world has yet again changed. The Ford government’s lack of leadership on many fronts, but most notably COVID 19, has prolonged the province wide emergency. We received the information regarding the proposed shift to virtual schooling through social media and the press conference.
We quickly requested a conversation with Ministry to discuss key issues. We were able to speak to the Deputy Minister this morning. I wanted to share the updates that I have.
- While we were successful in having our members including on the list of folks who are eligible, we heard clearly in the previous wave that spaces were limited and often our members could not be accommodated. The government has committed to ensure our members are included on the eligibility list. If there are service areas that are a concern (eg limited spaces, unable to accommodate children, etc) please let us know so that we may address these directly.
- In short, the government’s plan is a mess. We took the opportunity to suggest that the Ministry acknowledge that the best path forward is prioritize ALL education workers who must report in person to brick and mortar schools. At this time the ministry contends that the issue is a supply issue. We are hearing (and seeing) that some members are getting in to get their vaccines in areas. We continue to push for more inclusive language when addressing the vaccinations.
- Last year, when this pandemic started the government put in place language that directed the boards to maintain employment for permanent workers. Today, I pressed the government to provide the same language in the face of the “indeterminate duration” of this current wave. Unfortunately, they were not forthcoming with this. While they remind us that the GSN funding is continuing, this alone is not good enough! To date we have had boards layoff our members. Today one of our locals received notice that 45 of their members would be layoff as a result of the recent announcement. While we continue to fight this at the Ministry level, we encourage locals to be on the look out and let us know immediately.
Take care, stay safe
Ontario School Board Council of Unions