Ontario Received 12,000 Applications Within Hours Of Announcing School Strike Compensation
The provincial government had quite the day on January 15. With the Ontario teacher strike action causing students to miss more days of school, the Progressive Conservative party announced it would be compensating parents of children who should be in class. And, by the afternoon of the day of the announcement, nearly 12,000 applications had reportedly already been received.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said on Wednesday the PC government is willing to "spend a few bucks" in order to help out those moms and dads during the one-day strikes.
According to CBC's Mike Crawley, the Education Ministry says it received close to 12,000 applications on Jan. 15 for the money.
As of 5 p.m. on Jan. 15, per CityNews, 11,524 submissions for school-aged children and 467 for kids in child care centres have been sent in for what the Ford government is calling the “Support for Parents Initiative."
By 11:30 a.m. the following day, Thursday, Jan. 16, that number had tripled to over 33,000 applications, according to CityNews' Cynthia Mulligan.*
According to Lecce, via CBC, this could potentially cost the government up to $48 million a day.
It should be noted this figure only applies if every teachers' union is on strike at the exact same time and the parents of all of the eligible children apply.
In a tweet sent out by Lecce, he lists how much each child would get depending on their age, grade, and whether or not they require special needs support.
"While teacher unions escalate and hurt students, our government is providing child care relief & #SupportForParents," reads the tweet.
For children aged 0 to 6 who aren't in school yet but are enrolled in a school-based program affected by the strike, they are entitled to $60.
The breakdown continues at $40 for those from junior kindergarten to senior kindergarten, $25 for grades one to seven, and $40 for JK to grade 12 students who have special needs.
Lecce added that the government hopes this scheme "will provide some relief to families."
Meanwhile, every single teachers' union in the province is in a legal position to strike as of this week.
Although striking is at the top of the agenda, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has also said that teachers won't supervise extra-curricular activities or participate in field trips anymore.
According to City News, the ETFO says the strike will go through if there isn't a deal by the end of this week.
ETFO President Sam Hammond has accused the province of trying to try to bribe parents.
Hammond said, as quoted by CTV: "Rather than deciding to get to the table... negotiate things that are important to our members and parents and students in this province, what (Lecce) decides to do is let this drag out and provide a subsidy for parents if and when they need that subsidy,” he said.
"How appalling that is, how insulting to parents in this province that he’s trying to transparently bribe them for support."
Parents are able to register for their compensation from the provincial government here.
Narcity has reached out to the office of Stephen Lecce for comment.
*This article has been updated.