The Band-Aids have come out, and thanks to back-to-work legislation, this week, striking high school teachers in Durham Region and their students will head back to the classroom to close out the school year.
Unfortunately, the measure in no way addresses the causes of the labour dispute that has seen classes in the area disrupted over the past six weeks. The main issue is that it appears that the Liberal government hasn’t got any money to pay teachers, who ironically enough, not that long ago were leading the charge to help push them back into power at Queen’s Park.
Teacher’s unions have been without a contract since last August, and while this school year has apparently been salvaged. It’s alarming to think what may happen in September if there is still no resolution to the labour disputes in education.
There appears to be nothing but doom and gloom on the horizon for Ontario taxpayers, either through potential binding arbitration which could lock Ontario into unsustainable spending for education paid for by higher taxes. Or, through the government bowing to the demands of the unions and handing over more millions collected from taxpayers.
Students also stand to lose, not only from the current labour action, but in the months to come, as teachers grow more and more dissatisfied, leading to the same drastic decline in education quality seen during the darkest days of the Mike Harris administration 15 years ago.
This labour catastrophe has been brewing for years, and unfortunately all of us living in Ontario could continue paying for these fiscal missteps for generations to come.
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