Even though nearly 2,000 teaching job cuts have been announced, the province continues to insist that not one teaching job will be lost as a result of class size increases. Ontario Education Minister Lisa Thompson's reassured the province that not a single job will be lost due to attrition. But, a teacher in Brantford, Ontario, has calculated that Ontario teacher job cuts are already nearing the 2,000 mark.
Grade 5 teacher Andrew Campbell has been rigorously tracking the job cuts on a board-by-board basis, claiming that almost 2,000 teaching position cuts have been announced so far. Campbell, a teacher at Major Ballachey Public School, spoke to CBC News about how hundreds of Ontario teachers are receiving redundancy notices every single day.
"Yesterday was a typical day. Local people will send me things. Yesterday there were stories about 250 teachers receiving redundancy notices. That's 250 teachers who were on permanent contracts and were told they don't have permanent contracts for next year," Campbell reported.
On Tuesday, it was announced that nearly 100 jobs within Hamilton's public school board and 50 jobs within Sudbury's public school board would be lost. Over 360 teachers with Peel District School Board have received layoff notices and no longer have job security for permanent teaching positions come fall.
Campbell said, "When I add them all up we're pretty close to 2,000 teachers now that have been told they don't have a permanent contract right across the province and there are still lots of school boards that we haven't heard from yet. That number's going up."
Although Campbell admits to CBC that receiving redundancy notices is not an uncommon practice for this time of year, the scale and the number of boards issuing the notices are abnormal.
For example, Halton District School Board issued redundancy notices to over 250 teachers this year. Considering the school board hadn't declared a teacher redundant for over 25 years due to growing enrollment, the job cuts were unexpected and unfamiliar.
Peel region has experienced a similar phenomenon. This year, the district's school board declared over 300 teachers redundant; the last time teachers were issued redundancy notices was 2014, and the cuts were limited to 42 positions. "So, it's boards that have never done it before or haven't done this in a long time but it's also the scale. The numbers of teachers", Campbell reported.
Campbell warns that the consequences of the education cuts could be dire for students. Students in Peel have been forced to re-select their courses for next year since many of the elective courses students wanted to enrol in are no longer available.
The Ontario government announced plans to pledge up to $1.6-billion in order to prevent teacher layoffs across the province. Yet, teachers' unions remain skeptical as estimates forecast nearly 5,000 of the province's education workers will be laid off over the next four years as a result of classroom size increases.
Campbell informed CBC News that students are not keeping quiet about the impacts of the education cuts. "The stories coming out of these assemblies in schools where students are being told that they have to give up on certain courses tells us those students are certainly feeling the impact."