This letter from ETFO President Sam Hammond was sent to Deputy Minister of Education, Nancy Naylor, on March 18, 2020. In the letter, President Hammond asks the Deputy Minister to provide direction to all public school boards to provide income replacement to all occasional education workers.
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario
Fédération des enseignantes et des enseignants de l'élémentaire de l'Ontario
136 Isabella Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 0B5
Telephone: 416-962-3836 Tollfree: 1-888-838-3836
March 18, 2020
Nancy NaylorDeputy Minister of Education 5th Floor438 University Ave Toronto, ON M7A 2A5
Dear Deputy Minister Naylor:
On behalf of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and our 83,000 members, I want to thank you and your government for the leadership shown over the past week in dealing with the unprecedented crisis posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
ETFO welcomes your government’s decision to keep public schools closed during the two weeks following March Break to help slow the spread of the virus. ETFO also welcomes the recently announced plans to extend job protection for workers who are unable to work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the critically important additional investments in our healthcare system.
One of the consequences of the extended period of school closures has been that many education workers will be left without income during these very difficult times. This is the case for many occasional teachers, occasional designated early childhood educators (DECEs) and other non-permanent education workers. While several school boards have appropriately made the decision to compensate these workers by honouring previous commitments and by providing income replacement based on salary averages over previous weeks, many other boards have decided not to provide compensation or have yet to make a determination.
Deputy Minister, this is a situation that you can remediate immediately. I am asking that you provide direction to all public school boards to provide income replacement to all occasional education workers.
Despite the changes announced by the federal government to Employment Insurance eligibility, many of these workers may not be covered, and many others will be left with insufficient supports. At a time when workers are facing significant challenges resulting from the current public health crisis, the loss of income compounds these challenges for workers and their families.
Over the past week we have witnessed Ontarians coming together to face these challenging times. This is another opportunity for us to work hand-in-hand to ensure the safety and well-being of a vulnerable group of workers. I would be happy to provide additional information if necessary and to work with your office to craft the appropriate policy.
Thank you, once again for your ongoing efforts to safeguard the well-being of students, educators and the public. I look forward to your response.
Copy: Andrew Davis, Assistant Deputy Minister, Education Labour and Finance Division