Ford government wants more people going into trades in Ontario
There is currently a critical shortage of skilled tradespeople in Ontario and that is a top priority for Labour Minister Monte McNaughton for the province in 2020, according to Chatham Daily News.
During an interview Tuesday regarding a year-end MPP for Lambton-Kent said, “My mission is to get more young people into the skilled trades.”
One of the things that would help get more people into the skilled trades is to end the stigma around working in them as well as encouraging business to bring on apprentices and that is the effort McNaughton hopes to put forward.
“We know that one out of every five jobs in the next five years is going to be in the skilled trades,” McNaughton said. “We also know that one in three journey-persons today are over the age of 55, so we’re reaching a crisis point in the shortage of skilled trades in Ontario.”
One of the ways to McNaughton the stigma can be reduced is to reform the education system to expose the trades as an option as early as kindergarten.
“We want to introduce the skilled trades at a younger age than is currently happening today,” said the minister. McNaughton often uses the example of an elevator mechanic whose starting wage is $108, 000 annually. “There’s a huge shortage of elevator mechanics in Ontario.”
The government hired a polling company to conduct focus groups and to survey millennials ages 18 to 34, polling them about the trades industry. Their results showed a great lack of awareness about these options.
“Time and time again, the young people would say, ‘I know how to become a doctor … but I have no idea what constitutes a skilled trade and I have no idea how to become one,’” McNaughton said. The survey results “really highlighted, to me, the broken system that we have,”
One of the initiatives the minister is pushing for is a “multi-million-dollar” investment into a marketing campaign for the trades. The number one problem the government hears from Ontario businesses is the shortage of skilled trades workers.
“Every single day in Ontario, 200,000 jobs go unfilled,” he said. “Just think, if we could fill those jobs … the GDP of the province would be greater, government would have more money to invest in health care and education, and more people would have jobs.”
“I think we have to look at every opportunity to find workers for businesses in Ontario, and businesses have to respond by bringing on apprentices,” he said.
The Ontario Electrical League released a report in November that showed 75 percent of contractor members that they surveyed have hired at least one apprentice.
The credit for this comes for the government’s Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act according to the Ontario Electrical League. The bill established a one-to-one journey-person to apprentice ratio which was a change from the previous ratio which was more restrictive in the past.
President of the Ontario Electrical League Stephen Sell responded to the announcement by saying, “Now more than ever, one of the most emphasized topics of conversation among the trades is preparing today’s generation for the future,”
“One-to-one ratios not only allow people to land coveted apprenticeships, but it may just influence those that could be considering a career in the skilled trades–who are now much more inclined to pursue one knowing that a major roadblock has been lifted.”
Bringing in skilled immigrants and working to get more Indigenous residents and women into the trades is also part of McNaughton’s initiative in rounding out the gap in tradespeople.
The Ontario teachers’ strikes are proving to be more acrimonious than anyone expected. Elementary teachers have now opted out of writing report cards and have already begun to engage in rotating strikes.
The Ontario government, on the other hand, have offered up to $60 per day for parents who are feeling the fiscal consequences of the strike, and rumours of back to work legislation is being floated around the corridors of Queen’s Park.
The teachers’ strikes are deeply consequential and have affected the day-to-day lives of 13 million Ontarians who live in the most populace province in Canada. Due to the vast impact this strike, and the mainstream media’s lack of balance in the coverage (often siding with the unions and tecahers), The Post Millennial has compiled a list of things you need to know about the Ontario teachers’ strikes.
1. Ontario’s teachers are among the highest paid in the country
Ontario’s teachers are among the best paid in the country. In the Greater Toronto Area, for instance, top teachers can expect to get paid up to $96,000 a year. The average salary for a teachers in Ontario is $89,300 for elementary teachers and $92,900 for high school teachers. In contrast, the average Ontarian earns $55,000 per year.
2. Ontario teachers are taking more and more sick days
A 2017 study found that teachers have been taking more and more sick days over the past five years. On average, sick days have increased by over 30 percent. In 2020, another report revealed even starker results with teachers taking 70 percent more sick days than over a decade ago.
3. Teachers get a whole lot of time off
Ontario’s teacher’s have a pretty great job. Not only do they get paid a wage that is far higher than the average Ontarian, they also get a lot of time off. Due to breaks in the school year, teachers are allowed three whole months off, on top of the aforementioned sick days.
4. Teachers’ Unions are spending big bucks to win the PR war
So far, the OSSTF has spent $336,389 on Facebook ads alone. These ads usually attack the Ford government and have been running since June. In one week alone, they spent over $40,000. They’re also waging a war of words against Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce through the mainstream press.
5. The Ontario government has already made concessions, but unions won’t meet in the middle
Premier Doug Ford has offered numerous concessions to the teachers’ unions from the government’s initial demands. Ford, for example, offered to meet the teachers half-way on classroom size. This, however, was not good enough for the teachers, and they walked away from the negotiation table. They’re also refusing to do report cards and help out in after school activities, despite claiming the strikes are primarily for the students, not their pay cheques.
6. Ontario’s students are flunking math tests
If you’re going to teach mathematics to a new generation of students, you should probably have to prove that you have some basic ability to do so. This hardly unreasonable request, however, created some tension with the teachers’ unions. Despite EQAO tests showing all-time lows, the unions were upset that teachers had to score at least 70 percent in a math test.
7. Ontario’s debt is astronomically high
After a decade of Liberal government, Ontario’s debt stands at over $350,000,000,000. This figure constitutes one of the highest sub-national debts in the world. Due to this, the Ford government is trying to cut back public sector salaries, which means slowing down the rate at which teachers are paid. Teachers in Ontario also have what many experts consider to be a great pension package.
Shawn Lewis, city councillor for London, brought forth a motion to move the annual London Santa Claus Parade at Tuesday’s Community and Protective Services Committee meeting. The idea for the move is due to its proximity to the Remembrance Day Parade according to CBC.
The motion Lewis introduced was to restrict any parade permits on public streets between Nov. 1-11, the idea being so that the public doesn’t lose focus on the veterans and the sacrifices they’ve made. Lewis serves as chair on the committee.
“As a member of the Royal Canadian Legion myself, I think it is important that Remembrance Day and the lead up to it have a public focus on our veterans and the sacrifices they have made for us,” Lewis wrote in a letter.
The London Santa Claus Parade has taken place on the second Saturday of November in the past, a date that often falls just before Remembrance Day, leaving many veterans feeling unappreciated.
The organizers of the Santa Claus parade agreed to move the date in the future but Lewis wanted to ensure that this didn’t become an issue down the line.
“As time goes on, people retire from organizing events, other people take over, councils change, mayors change, and I think it’s just a good idea to formalize it in our procedures and policies with respect for our veterans,” he told the committee.
Much to Lewis’ delight, the motion passed 4-1.
Ward 3 Coun. Mo Salih voted against the decision however stating, “Me personally, I’m supportive [of the motion], … but I’m struggling on restricting people from choosing to make their own decisions,”
He went on to add, “Many of those people who have served, served to ensure people can make whichever decisions they want to make and do what they want to do on certain days, but I recognize where this is coming from,”
“It seems like a simple solution,” said Ward 1 Coun. Michael Van Holst, who voted in favour of the motion. “[It’s] surprising that someone hasn’t thought of it before.”
Lewis stressed the importance of dealing with this procedurally, saying it’s the only way to address the issue but the decision will still require approval from city council.
Striking elementary teachers in Ontario are refusing to produce reports cards due to the ongoing work-to-rule action.
In a statement produced by the Toronto District School Board, they reminded everyone that “ETFO members have been engaged in legal job action, which includes sanctions related to report cards.”
They went on to add that, “as per the sanctions, teachers will not complete term one report cards … [nor] undertake the role of report card administrator … [nor] file the progress report.”
As well as this, the Toronto District School Board informed it’s members that the teachers will also not conduct parent-teacher interviews, creating severe disruptions for parents.
These latest disruptions follow a long list of strike action that teachers have been engaging in throughout the province. Teachers, for instance, have been conducting “rotating strikes,” thereby forcing parents to look after their children who would otherwise be in school.
In response to the strikes in the province, Premier Doug Ford vowed to compensate parents who would have otherwise felt the financial strain. Ford offered parents up to $60 a day, depending on the age of the child and other factors.
Despite concessions from the Ontario government, the negotiations between the teacher’s unions and the government have remained acrimonious.
Beloved Canadian Mike Sloan, who made his fight with cancer public on Twitter, has passed away.
Sloan had been suffering from Stage 4 Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer, initially being given only six months to live, outliving the diagnosis by four months.
Sloan was known for his clever observations, which included everything from his cat to Canadian politics.
The deeply personal tweets gave insight into what it was like to stare death in the face, and the perspective of someone who knows their days are numbered.
The London, Ontario native was followed by several Canadian personalities and political figures, including This Hour‘s Rick Mercer, Arlene Dickinson, Bill Morneau, and Michelle Rempel.
In a tweet, it was announced that Sloan passed peacefully at 1:25 pm EST via MAID (medically assisted in dying.) His last words were “Tell Chub (his cat) I love him.”