Terminated education workers didn’t meet work day or criminal background requirements in Mississauga and Brampton: Peel school board
Published September 12, 2023 at 10:32 am
The Peel District School Board is defending a move to remove some 500 education workers and early childhood educators, saying they either didn’t work for the board, failed to meet working day requirements or didn’t disclose their criminal background.
The union representing nearly 500 education workers recently let go by PDSB has raised concerns about the cuts as the back-to-school season comes into full swing with reports of overcrowded classrooms and worsening facilities.
But the board says the terminated workers either “did not work for the Board at all,” “had not met the minimum working days requirement, or “were non-compliant with the annual obligation to disclose their criminal background.”
The PDSB also says casual EAs and DECEs “were offered flexibility” to lower the number of days required to work, as per the collective agreement.
Of PDSB’s more than 16,000 staff members, more than 2,000 are permanent education assistants (EA) or designated early childhood educators with a pool of more than 960 Casual EAs and DECEs “who have continued dedication for our students,” the board says.
“We are grateful for our staff whose care and diligence every day has a positive impact on our students,” the board said in a statement. “Peel District School Board values and recognizes the vital importance of ensuring student safety, learning and well-being.”
But with the board struggling with a 30 per cent vacancy rate for EAs and DECEs, the union has raised concerns as cold and flu season approaches, which they believe will spell disaster for schools and families in Peel Region.
“These cuts hurt kids the most – kids who are already suffering with out-of-control class sizes and crumbling infrastructure,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick in a statement.
“Especially the youngest and most vulnerable students, and potentially making classrooms less safe,” Hornick added.
Per pupil funding has declined since the Ford government took office in 2018 according to the union, which is calling for a reversal of the board’s decision while urging the province to prioritize students and education workers by negotiating for fair wage increases and ensuring safe staffing levels.
With files from Suzanna Duttinsauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising