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Ontario economic update is a precursor to privatization

November 15, 2018

After today’s economic update, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is urging the government to rethink its agenda of cuts and privatization that will erode the public services Ontario families rely on.

“Today’s government announcement is misleading Ontarians about the deficit. The real problem in Ontario is revenue generation. For example, the recently cancelled Cap and Trade program would have generated $3 billion in three years to fund public services,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “The slash, burn and privatize approach outlined by this government has proven time and again to be destructive to life in Ontario. It will be felt for decades to come.”

Since June, the government has made a number of cuts or taken what it refers to as “a funding pause” in key areas. In the education sector, parents, children and schools have already felt the impacts. Parents Reaching Out grants were cut, funds for planned retrofits and infrastructure repairs in schools were cut, funding for teacher professional learning in math was cut, Indigenous writing lessons and curriculum updates to implement recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission were cancelled, and at the post-secondary level funding for three new campuses was cut.  

In 2017, ETFO commissioned an independent study that showed public education is already significantly underfunded in Ontario. Funding for public education, health care, child care, transit and other public services provide people with the supports they need to contribute as working families. The union urges the government not to sacrifice public services to fiscal ideology. 

“Under the umbrella of ‘Open for Business,’ the government is putting the lives of families at risk. Reductions to public spending only increase the wealth gap to put more money into the hands of corporations and the wealthy. As educators we know that these types of cuts are felt most among children,” added Hammond.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is committed to building better schools. Its Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at buildingbetterschools.ca. The union represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact ETFO Media Relations: Denise Hammond via email at dhammond@etfo.org or call 416-948-2428 (cell).