Jeff Sanderson of Sydenham, Ontario writes:

"Bill 115 is not about wages.

It is surprising the lack of understanding many people have on Bill 115, which has pitted teachers against the government. This is not about wages, or even sick days and grid movement. This battle is being waged by teachers in a response to a bill that is neither liberal nor progressive. It is not democratic and perhaps not even constitutional. Should people not stand up when faced with something they believe to be unconstitutional?

If the Bill’s goal was just a wage freeze, then why proceed with it when the teachers had agreed to a wage freeze eight months ago?  The Liberal government refused to negotiate on any other issue, even when the teachers’ unions had presented other cost-saving measures.  It is also worth noting that all workers in the education sector are included in this bill, not just teachers.
This bill is dangerous. It attempts to place education workers on the side of ignoring a provincial deficit, while placing all other taxpayers on the other side. Teachers and educational workers also pay taxes and they are deeply concerned about the provincial debt.

The initial bargaining meeting included a proposal by teachers that was far from what they would have ever started negotiations with. That meeting was attended by lawyers on behalf of the government; not their traditional negotiating team – a clear sign that the road ahead would be a path not previously travelled by employees in Ontario.

Where is the democracy in a bill that gives one person, the Minister of Education, complete power to add or delete any terms to any bargaining agreement in the education sector whenever she wants? She can do so without recourse, as the bill is exempt from review by the Ontario Labour Board and from Employment Standards Act.

The Minister of Education can unilaterally make changes to any “agreement” at any time over the next two years. No one knows what to expect over the next couple of years, so it is not unreasonable to be concerned when you have no bargaining rights and no protection from a potentially abusive employer – the Liberal government. The education sector is now without the bargaining rights that other employees are afforded.

If this bill successfully avoids a constitutional challenge, it will be open season on all Ontarians. Every citizen should be appalled by this piece of legislation.

Negotiations that lead to huge financial savings for the people of Ontario are possible. Education workers and the Liberal government don’t need to be locked in this battle, solutions exist. Instead of arguing perhaps it is time to start problem-solving."



Posted: 5 years, 3 months ago by Cambrian #74
There ARE educational financial cost saving measures availble. OSSTF suggested taking over both their sick day and benefit liabilities at a savings to taxpayers of $417 million. But for reasons that the government has not explained, they refuse to allow this. Why not?

There is also the EQAO $105 million/year expense that the government refuses to let go of. Originally when EQAO was implemented in 1995, this testing was mandated until 2005. It is now 2012. What the test was originally meant to measure is now so different that it is not like comparing apples to oranges, but apples to pineapples. For instance, in 1995 a child was required to actually write his/her answers in the writing component of the test. In 2012, a child who cannot write can be accommodated by having an adult scribe the writing component for him/her. This testing has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. This testing should be canned.
Posted: 5 years, 3 months ago by YinYang #73
Even more dangerous to the democratic process than having legislation like Bill 115 is having politicians who do NOT understand what they are doing.

Can you imagine the Minister of Education not knowing the difference between and the Elementary ‘Progress Report’ and the Elementary ‘Report Card’? Well, she doesn’t!

The October 29, 2012 memorandum sent to ETFO members from President Hammond giving an update on a meeting with Minister of Education Broten stated: “A Lesson for the Minister about Progress Reports – Minister Broten acknowledged the government knows how angry ETFO members are about Bill 115, but said she was disappointed about ETFO’s ‘direction’ about the preparation of the ‘report cards’ (her words) …The General Secretary and I [Sam Hammond] gave the Minister of Education a detailed lesson about the history of the ‘Progress Report” and how it differs from report cards, as well as an overview of her own Ministry’s policy document, Growing Success.

This is truly mind-numbing that we have a politician like Laurel Broten helping to make the laws that affect the lives of the people of Ontario spouting off in the media when she clearly does not even understand the details of her own education portfolio!
Posted: 5 years, 3 months ago by Cambrian #72
Even Broten’s abhorrent suggestion that teachers would place children in harm’s way through any legal strike job sanctions underlines that she does not understand the heart and soul of teachers. Shame. Broten should resign along with McGuinty.

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