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Federation rejects request from Ontario to let retired teachers work more

TORONTO — Ontario’s teachers have rebuffed a request from the Ministry of Education to let retired teachers work longer, saying the government needs to come up with a real solution to staff shortages.

The Ontario Teachers’ Federation says it has “reluctantly” agreed over the last three years to let retired teachers work for 95 days a year instead of 50 to address lingering effects from the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the group advocating for teachers in the publicly funded school system says that was supposed to be a short-term measure and it is not agreeing to the request for this year.

The four major teachers’ unions say today they support that move by the OTF, saying the use of retired teachers was a “Band-Aid” to a teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

They say the crisis is not due to an actual shortage of teachers, rather it is because qualified people are leaving the profession due to deteriorating working conditions, wage suppression and inadequate recognition of teachers’ credentials and expertise.

A spokesperson for Education Minister Stephen Lecce says it is disappointing the Ontario Teachers’ Federation opposed a “common-sense measure” that was supported by provincial trustee associations and the Ontario Principals Council.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 19, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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