This morning the Ontario government announced new changes to high schools in the province. In doing so, Minster of Education Lisa Thompson promised that no jobs would be lost, but the Ontario Secondary Student Teacher's Federation (OSSTF) says over 5000 education workers will lose their jobs as a result of these changes.
The biggest change the government announced was to high school class sizes. Previously, the average class size in Ontario was 22 students, now it's rising up to an average of 28. While announcing these changes this morning, Lisa Thompson at first was hesitant to address teaching jobs and told reporters "It is too early to tell at this point but certainly we will be working with school boards."
However, she later said, "not one teacher will lose their jobs because of our class size strategy." The teacher's union, OSSTF says otherwise though. In a statement posted on Facebook, union president Harvey Bischof revealed that these are "devastating changes to Ontario's education system."
Bischof stated in their statement, that despite the changes being spread out over four years, 3630 high school teacher jobs would be lost due to the increase in class sizes. Reporters also said that according to Bischof, on top of those OSSTF jobs being lost, thousands of education workers will lose their positions as well, for a total over 5000 jobs being lost.
OSSTF president @HarveyBischof said class size increases in high school will affect 5,500 positions in public, Catholic and French boards (incl 3,600 OSSTF positions). Also says class size increases will lead to “massive resistance.”— Caroline Alphonso (@calphonso) March 15, 2019
To put the numbers in perspective, it would be a reduction of over 20% of high school teaching positions over the four years across all publicly-funded systems.— Caroline Alphonso (@calphonso) March 15, 2019
If this job cut were to happen, reporters say these numbers indicate that 20% of high school teaching positions would be lost.
In his statement, Bischof also says that this potential job cut is "a loss that cannot possibly be absorbed without a significant impact on student learning and success."
He went on to say: "these moves, along with other measures announced today, amount to an appalling betrayal of the public trust. Not only do they make a mockery of the claim that there is fat to cut in Ontario's public education system, but given the premier’s repeated election promises that no jobs will be lost, the government quite simply has no mandate to make the changes they have announced this morning."
These changes come only months before OSSTF contracts are up for negotiations in August of this year.
Disclaimer: Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.