Striking Ontario teachers REFUSE to send report cards to parents
Striking elementary teachers in Ontario are refusing to produce the normal report cards or send them to parents, 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.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that teacher’s were refusing to issue any report card at all. Teachers are providing school administrators with a skeleton report, which parents will not see. The Post Millennial regrets the error.
Ontario has come out with a new licence plate that is being criticized by many on social media as the plate is virtually unreadable at night. Many have been posting pictures and videos of the plates at night showing only a blue rectangle with illegible letters and numbers on it when light shines on them.
The new design is supposed to be on the road on Feb. 1. The plates are blue and have white letters and numbers across them.
Sgt. Steve Koopman of the Kingston police took a photo of a car with the new plate and posted it to social media with the caption: “Did anyone consult with police before designing and manufacturing the new Ontario licence plates? They’re virtually unreadable at night.”
Another officer for the OPP, Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, disagreed noting that he was monitoring Highway 401 on Tuesday and said that he can see the plates during the day as well as the middle of the night.
“They’re something to get used to. I haven’t had any problems,” said Officer Schmidt.
He also mentioned that the old plates could be hard to read when the blue chipped off over the white background.
A Minister of Government and Consumer Service spokesperson emailed CBC saying: “We have been made aware that some Ontarians are reporting concerns with readability to the naked eye under certain light conditions. We take this feedback seriously, value the input of Ontario drivers and law enforcement stakeholders and are currently looking into this.”
The government said that before they went through with the new plates they talked to “key stakeholders, including our law enforcement partners, to test the readability, reflectivity and functionality of the new high-definition plates.”
Ontario Safety League president Brian Patterson said that being able to read the plate at night should be a basic requirement. He added that he was unable to see the plates in clear daylight sometimes.
“You have to be fairly close to read them with precision,” he said. “If you’re calling in an impaired driver you want to make sure you give the licence plate correctly… [this] multiplies the complexity of doing that and it may discourage people from reporting [drunk drivers] to police.”
Ontario Liberal Party Interim Leader John Fraser said that the new change was “a poorly thought out decision, done too quickly.”
The Ontario teachers strike has been going on for a while, and the teachers’ unions continue to escalate the situation.
Ontario’s four largest teachers’ unions will be staging a one-day strike across the province on Feb. 21 if there is not an agreement reached with the provincial government. The four teachers unions involved in the strike are the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, and the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens.
Rotating strikes have been going on in my neighbourhood in the past few weeks. I have driven by these demonstrations.
Some people honk their horns or cheer to show support for the teachers. I do not honk my horn or cheer. I roll down the window of the vehicle I am in and make some blunt comments.
“Quit complaining!” I shout at the crowds of teachers. “You have the best part-time jobs in the world!”
Ontario’s teachers should not be striking, because they already have amazing jobs.
Ontario’s teachers receive fantastic health and dental insurance. This health and dental insurance allows teachers to avoid paying certain health care costs.
The ETFO Benefits Plan Guide says Ontario’s public elementary school teachers receive health insurance that includes up to $12,000 for fertility drugs per lifetime, two pairs of custom orthopedic shoes per benefit year, and up to $1,000 for massage therapy if a doctor’s note is provided. Their dental insurance covers 100 percent of dental check ups, x-rays, and fillings, 100 percent of root canals and related services, and 50 percent of child and adult orthodontics.
Vacation time is abundant for Ontario’s teachers. They have eight weeks off for summer vacation, two weeks for winter break, and one week for March break.
This vacation time applies to new employees. Can you name any other jobs that receive 11 weeks of vacation time when employees first start?
One reason why Ontario’s teachers are striking is salary. The Ontario government hopes to provide a one percent pay raise per year for the next three years, but teachers want two percent. Teachers should not be complaining, because they already make a substantive amount of money.
The Toronto District School Board’s salary grid shows that effective August 31, 2019, more experienced teachers can make $73,071 to $100,034 per year.
A poll done by Campaign Research found that the majority of Ontarians are opposed to giving teachers a two percent pay raise.
Ontario’s teachers have a pension. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) said that teachers are eligible to retire with an unreduced pension when their age and qualifying years equal 85 years old or when they turn 65 years old. This means that a teacher who started working at 25 could retire by 55 if they work for 30 years.
Statistics Canada reported that the average age of retirees in Canada in 2019 was 64.3 years old, so teachers can afford to retire earlier than most people.
Their pensions are cushiony. The OTPP said that until a teacher turns 65 years old, his or her pension is calculated by multiplying two percent, the amount of years worked, and the average salary of their best five years. A teacher who worked for 30 years and earned an average of $85,000 in their best five years would earn a pension of $51,000 per year.
There are teachers who claim that they are striking to help students. However, if these teachers are passionate about supporting students, why were they not striking during the summer?
Premier Doug Ford was right when he said that there is a pattern when the teachers go on strike.
“They went on strike under Bob Rae, they went on strike under Mike Harris, they went on strike under Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne,” said Ford at a press conference in April 2019. “They strike under every single government that’s in there.”
Ontario’s teachers and students belong in the classroom. Striking is unproductive and selfish–it’s not for the kids.
Two protestors have been charged after they allegedly dumped a load of manure on the sidewalk in front of Doug Ford’s constituency office in Etobicoke, according to CTV News.
The incident itself occurred on Dec. 22, as two men were recorded shovelling manure from a pickup truck in front of Ford’s office.
It later turned out that Extinction Rebellion organized the protest—saying that they were upset by the Progressive Conservative government’s environmental policy.
An Instagram post showed Extinction Rebellion taking credit for the incident, saying “from killing Hamilton’s LRT to the (expensive!) cancelling of clean energy projects to his attempts to open the Greenbelt for development, it’s clear the premier is putting our children’s future in danger.”
“We think that’s bullsh*t,” they added. In the post, they also used a photograph of the manure and an eco-radical with a shovel.
Two Hamilton residents have been charged in relation to this incident. Cameron Topp, 49, and Dennis Alvey, 55, were charged with mischief under $5,000.
The four largest education unions of Ontario are planning on striking starting Feb. 21—a shutdown that will cause a full shut down of Ontario’s public education system.
According to Global News, Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-Ontarians (AEFO) were all in attendance Wednesday at Education Minister Stephen Lecce’s speaking event.
Those four unions represent over 200,000 teachers province-wide across over 5,000 schools. The strike will result in the absence of education for nearly 2,000,000 students starting Feb. 21.
The event was heavily picketed by some of those 200,000 outside the Royal York Hotel.
AEFO president Remi Sabourin told Global that “It is clear to all four Ontario education unions and our members that the Ford government and Education Minister Lecce care nothing about students or educators and everything about taking money out of the publicly funded education system.”
A statement from ETFO president said, “Educators in every school board will not stay silent as the Ford government proceeds to decimate our publicly funded education system.”
Walkouts have already taken place amongst teachers from the four unions in the form of one-day protests. ETFO members recently took an Ontario-wide strike Tuesday, and on Wednesday, rotating strikes continued at school boards throughout the province.
As of now, the union representing French schoolboards are the only ones still at the negotiating table.
ETFO representative Hammond said that the province was close to reaching a deal with the government, but that provincial negotiators tabled a last-minute new proposal which the union declined.
The Ford government offered compensation of up to $60 a day to parents who were affected by the strike and needed child care kickbacks.