Franco-Ontario teachers begin job action Thursday

Published On January 15, 2020 | By Madison Raye | News
Riverdale high highschool students protest Ford’s education cuts. The cuts to education could have a long-lasting impact on the lives of students in TDSB’s French Immersion programs. (Twitter/Paula Fletcher)
Madison Raye

School trips, a day of packed learning and scheduled routines could be disrupted on Jan. 16 as French Ontario teachers begin work-to-rule job action.

Next week parents will have to make arrangements or stay home from work to watch their children if teachers and unions proceed with one-day strikes.

Some parents are taking action into their own hands by joining a group to speak out about the changes that are making a weak education system.

As of next week, a total of four unions, The Catholic teachers, the French teachers, public high school teachers and public elementary teachers unions, will be taking action to fight the government’s new curriculum.

The AEFO announced Tuesday that their next actions will result in a work-to-rule, which means they will be executing the bare minimum and that could slow down production. 

Remi Sabourin, the President of AEFO spoke on behalf of the French-language union and said that the voting results show that Franco-Ontarian teachers are determined to fight for their rights. 

“We need to find some solutions and right now we are having trouble finding solutions,” Sabourin said. 

He said that AEFO wants to be a part of making a change but due to the government’s decisions it has become impossible to come to an agreement.

“We are trying to put some pressure on the system, on the school boards and on the government with the hopes that we can get a deal with all parties involved,” he said. 

Sabourin said that parents should be concerned with the ongoing strikes and the constant back and forth as the AEFO has never gone on strike before.

“Over the past 20 years, there has never been anything like this in the education system,” Sabourin said.

Education Minister Stephen Leece agrees that the strike is negatively impacting students but thinks e-learning and larger classes are the keys to the education system.

“Premier Doug Ford has been very clear about his expectations of me, that we remain constructive and reasonable and student-centric to get deals so that parents of this province are able to keep their children in class,” Leece said.

“While I am disappointed in the teacher unions’ continued focus on escalation that hurts our students, our government will remain focused on improving public education and keeping students in class,” he said.

The Franco-Ontarian teachers said they will legally be in a position to strike as of January 16, 2020, and the union for Catholic teachers will be taking part in a one-day strike on January 21, 2020. 

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