Group says thousands of teaching jobs at risk

Students listening to teacher in a classroom. © Can Stock Photo / 4774344sean

Over a thousand teaching jobs will be lost in the London, Chatham-Kent, and Windsor areas because of larger class sizes and mandatory e-learning brought on by the Ford government, according to a report from a Canadian research institute.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which bills itself as an independent, non-partisan research institute concerned with issues of social, economic and environmental justice, crunched the numbers and determined that 561 teaching positions will be lost at schools boards in the London region, which includes Middlesex County, Oxford County, and Elgin County. In Windsor-Essex, 377 positions will be lost, according to the CCPA report. Boards in the Chatham-Kent area will see a loss of 225 teaching positions.

The new provincial policy announced in March has class sizes in high school going from 22 students to 28 and requires high school students to earn four (out of 30) credits online instead of in the classroom. Grades 4 to 8 class sizes will also increase slightly to 24.

Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office (FAO) released a report in September showing the changes will result in 10,054 fewer teachers in Ontario’s classrooms by 2023-24. The vast majority of these losses will be in high schools due to the scale of the increase in class size and the four mandatory online credits. The financial accountability office estimates the move will save the province about $2.8 billion until 2023-2024 and almost $1 billion a year after that.

Ricardo Tranjan, a senior researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario, said some teachers have already lost their jobs and many students have already lost their teachers. But the full impact of these changes will be felt in the 2023-2024 school year.

“We built a comparable model to the FAO, using publicly available data, and arrived at a similar estimate for teaching jobs lost province-wide (9,984). Then we calculated job losses board by board,” Tranjan said.

The analysis released on Wednesday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives was based on Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office findings.

“Our teachers and education professionals are working hard to provide high-quality instruction, assessment and engagement to meet the needs of every student. With larger class sizes, the Ford government is cheating students of the education they need and deserve,” said Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.