Ontario English Catholic Teachers

Statement on Federal-Provincial School Infrastructure Funding Announcement

"This announcement is perfectly illustrative of the Ford government’s approach to the COVID-19 emergency. It is too little, too late, and someone else is doing the bulk of the work.

Thanks to advocacy by the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, the Ford government has had access to federal education infrastructure support since before the school year began. Instead, they have steadfastly ignored or rejected calls from health experts to enact measures for safer schools, including smaller class sizes to facilitate more physical distancing, better ventilation, widespread testing, and more. Their recently released budget actually cuts $1 billion from education over the next few years, even though school-related COVID-19 spread is driving the third wave and students continue to suffer learning losses from constant disruptions.

Ontarians will not be fooled by any attempt by the Ford government to take full credit for this funding. We certainly will not forget how Premier Ford and Minister Lecce have chosen to prioritize financial savings over the safety of students, teachers, education workers, and families. This harmful austerity agenda must end. Now that they have finally decided to take advantage of this federal support, the Ford government must use the funding as intended, to realize the recommendations of public health officials for safer classrooms.”

Liz Stuart, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association