Expanded Access to Retired Teachers to Support In-person Learning
Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement today on Ontario’s agreement with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) to nearly double the number of days a retiree can work:
“We are seeing staff shortages impacting all sectors of the economy. Well before Omicron came to Ontario, school boards were reporting high rates of absenteeism from education staff. We need staff in order to continue providing live teacher-led remote learning and safely operate our schools when students return to in-person learning. That is why we have now secured an agreement with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation that will deliver access to thousands of teacher-qualified educators that will help keep schools open and safe.
This is being done as we continue to make the teaching and learning environment as safe as possible. We went above public health requirements and are providing non-fitted N95 masks as an optional alternative for all staff, accelerated access to booster shots for education and child care staff, and are supporting school-focused vaccination clinics, and continue to make ventilation improvements in schools across Ontario. These measures are both part of our proactive planning to limit learning disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To support school safety, Ontario has invested $304 million which is projected to support the hiring of over 2,000 staff – while expanding access to second-year teacher candidates and nearly doubling the number of days retired teachers can work within our schools. Together, these actions will provide unprecedented access to more teacher-qualified educators and staff to keep students safe and learning.
Through enhanced ventilation and masking, more funding to hire additional staff, and new access to thousands of retired educators, we are helping to stabilize the workforce to ensure students receive the mental, physical, and academic benefits to support their learning.”