The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) extends our full solidarity to teachers in Ontario and their unions in their fight against the Ford government’s attack on public education.
This spring, the Ford government brought in a program of major cuts resulting in a three-per-cent cut in per-student funding across all Ontario school boards, 10,000 teaching positions lost over four years, raising class size caps, a massive reduction in class offerings to students, and the loss of educational supports and special needs services.
These cuts will serve to further privatize education by continuing to erode the quality of public education. The drive towards privatization has also been accelerated by reduced class offerings, forcing more students to take online education, some of which is provided by private schools.
Teachers’ unions representing 160,000 public education workers are now in bargaining with the government backed by overwhelming strike votes. The government is demanding a 1% cap on wages and benefits (which is in fact a compensation cut now backed by illegal public sector wage cut legislation Bill 124), and the removal of board level class size caps. The move to increase class sizes directly impacts hiring for teachers and it also results in drastic cuts to school funding.
Teachers unions are building solidarity and gearing up to push back on the government’s attacks on education. At the table, they are trying to negotiate improved standards in services and programs offered to students across the province.
The stakes are high for teachers, students and the future of public education in the province. The unions also have to grapple with the fact that the Ford government has already violated labour rights by using back to work legislation and will likely do it again. Building solidarity with the rest of the labour movement and the public as a whole is the necessary ingredient in this fight to defend public education.
It is essential that all progressive forces, especially unions, parents, students, and community organizations work to mobilize solidarity in support of teachers and to defend public education.
The Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) demands the immediate repeal of Bill 124, the reversal of all cuts to education and a new needs-based funding formula for public schools.
Special Resolution of the Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of Canada (Ontario) November 17, 2019.