Vulnerable students in Provincial Schools to suffer from layoffs

The layoff of 56 full-time staff from Ontario's Provincial Schools will hurt the province's most vulnerable students with disabilities and severely impact the families' rights to accessible education.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said that the these students, who are blind, deaf, deaf-blind and learning disabled deserve far better from the Ministry of Education.

"The Ministry is moving this work to contingent part-time workers, and away from support workers who have over 20 years' experience and who have made significant impacts in the lives of parents and students with disabilities," Thomas said. "The move to part-time work will cheapen important programs that accommodate students in Ontario. Meanwhile, full-time Social Workers, Residence Counsellors, Maintenance Workers and Support Staff will be forced out the door."

Chris Cormier, Region 4 Vice-President, said that the government agreed that part-time work was an issue and agreed during the latest contract talks to discuss this problem.

"Before these talks can even occur, senior management in the Ministry is clearing out full-time workers," Cormier said. "Premier Wynne recently supported a study that proved part-time work is a huge problem in Ontario and is preventing an economic recovery. Apparently the Provincial Schools Branch disagrees and is willing to dispose of long-time full-time workers. This will not only weaken Ontario's ability to accommodate vulnerable students, but the economy as well."

The Union is calling on the Minister of Education to stop these cuts, and is asking the Premier to support her own beliefs of full-time vs. part-time work.

"Let's talk about building quality public education for students with disabilities," Cormier said. "That includes full-time support services for these students…services by dedicated people with the experience in the schools. These students deserve no less."

More information:
Chris Cormier 613-921-5346s