CORNWALL, Ontario – Dozens of teachers came out to protest the reforms made by the Progressive Conservative Ontario Government under Doug Ford. The protest took place on the afternoon of Friday, May 10, 2019 in front of MPP Jim McDonell’s office.
As a part of reforms to the education system, the Provincial government raised the limit on class sizes from 22 to 28, meaning that less teachers will be teaching more students.
Dale Fobert, a teacher of 27 years and President of the Eastern Ontario district of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) said that a limit of 28, does not mean that there will be only a maximum ratio of 28 students to one teacher in the classroom.
“The concerns I have and I want the public to be aware of is that it won’t be a cap of 28,” he said. “A lot of high schools already have 20 to 30 students per classroom. We are looking at an average class size of 40.”
Fobert said that the increase student-to-teacher ratio will mean that it will be more difficult for students to get their needs met and this becomes more difficult in classrooms with multiple high needs students.
There were not only teachers present at the protest however, support workers were there too.
Liz Harrision is the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4154 which represents secretaries, school librarians and teachers aids.
“These cuts will only be harmful for students and will be felt for generations,” she said. “If you have less classrooms because of the higher ratio, then you will see less secretarial support time, less Educational Assistant time, it all suffers.”
She pointed out that most support staff make around $38,000 dollars a year.
Louise Lanctot, President of the Cornwall and District Labour Council (CDLC) and one of the organizers of the protest said the Jim McDonell’s office had not reached out to them to discuss their concerns.