“Premier Doug Ford has failed. His inappropriate use of the notwithstanding clause to override the Charter and silence Ontarians is a thinly veiled attempt to hide the magnitude of his failures and the pain they have caused.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Ford government’s underfunded and mismanaged COVID-19 response has led to extraordinary suffering across the province. In our schools, instead of implementing the health and safety measures called for by public health and education experts to keep classrooms safe and open to in-person learning, Premier Ford favoured austerity and cuts.
Where is the urgent around the clock legislation for smaller class sizes to allow for proper physical distancing and the individual attention students need? For improved ventilation and air filtration in schools? To prioritize teachers and education workers’ access to the vaccine?
At more than 23 weeks, Ontario students have suffered the longest learning disruption in all of Canada. Why is Premier Ford’s personal image more important than keeping schools safe and open to in-person learning?
We know the answer: partisan self-interest. As Catholic teachers, we have seen firsthand, time and again, the detrimental impact on our classrooms wrought by this government’s flagrant partisan self-interest and neglect of pressing issues facing staff and students in the middle of a public health crisis.
Faced with difficult questions and lagging fortunes it should surprise no one that Premier Ford has invoked the notwithstanding clause to attack democracy and trample on Ontarians’ Charter rights.
Ontarians will not forget this government’s abuse of power and attack on our Charter rights next spring at the ballot box.”
Liz Stuart, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association