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Unions hold rally at Ontario legislature to protest education cuts

TORONTO – Throngs of demonstrators covered the lawn in front of the Ontario legislature Saturday afternoon to protest the Progressive Conservative government’s changes to the provinces education system.

Many in the crowd carried signs declaring “Cuts hurt kids” or “Standing together for students,” while others banged on drums or chanted slogans denouncing the government’s measures.

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Ontario students stage provincewide walkout to protest education changes

Students at one downtown Toronto high school chanted “Doug Ford has got to go” as they walked out of class on Thursday, marking the beginning of a protest planned by students at some 600 Ontario schools who oppose changes to the province’s education system.

The walkout at Bloor Collegiate Institute was among hundreds scheduled for 1:15 p.m. ET. The provincewide protest by both elementary and high school students was organized by students on social media, mainly Instagram, with the hashtag #StudentsSayNo.

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CUPE marks World Water Day 2019

Public water and wastewater services are vital to our lives and are fundamental human rights. These services are the foundation of safe and healthy communities. On March 22, CUPE members and our local and international allies recommit to protecting water and wastewater services from privatization and strengthening these services for future generations.

CUPE works in coalition at the community level to keep our water systems publicly owned and operated. We will keep organizing to stop the spread of privatization through public-private partnerships (P3s) and contracting out. Municipalities need reliable public funding to strengthen and expand water and wastewater systems.

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Rainbow Board, special education committee and teachers unions pan changes in education system

SUDBURY—A loss of teachers due to increases in class sizes, as well as funding cuts to the provincial autism program are two of the many concerns that the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) have raised with the changes being made by the provincial government to the education system. And, the issue of cuts is something that concerns the Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) as well.

At an RDSB board meeting this past Tuesday, Manitoulin trustee Margaret Stringer told the board that at the recent board special education advisory committee meeting, “we discussed the changes and cuts in funding for children with autism and the effects it will have on them. A large group of local parents have held rallies against the cuts that will create substantial challenges for families and those with autism and a petition is being sent to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario,” said Trustee Stringer. The petition calls for the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services to invest in equitable, needs-based autism services for all children who need them.

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Air Canada flight attendants welcome the decision to close the Canadian air space to Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes

TORONTOMarch 13, 2019 /CNW/ – The union representing Air Canada’s flight attendants welcomes Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s decision to close the Canadian air space to Boeing 737 Max 8 airplanes.

“In light of the new data received by the federal government, we welcome the Minister’s decision to err on the side of prudence until the analysis of the causes of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash is completed,” sayd the president of the Air Canada Component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Wesley Lesosky.

The Air Canada Component of CUPE represents more than 8,500 flight attendants at Air Canada mainline and Rouge.

SOURCE Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

For further information: Philippe Gagnon, Communications Officer, 613-894-0146, pgagnon@scfp.ca

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Ontario Continues to Support Students with Autism

The Ontario government is working for the people by setting students up for success as they transition into school. We’re increasing supports for educators and building on existing programs, so school boards will be prepared to help ensure students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) feel safe and supported in their classrooms.

Through Enhancing Education Support: A Plan for Students with Autism, the government will:

  • Promote professional learning by fully subsidizing an ASD-specific Additional Qualification course for teachers;
  • Double funding to the Geneva Centre for Autism to provide online training opportunities for educators;
  • Fund behavior expertise and student supports by continuing special education funding, including components responsive to enrollment of students with high needs;
  • Expand after-school skills development programs for students on the Autism spectrum by providing funding to all 72 school boards;
  • Support students transitioning into school through the Connections for Students model with autism service providers, educators and families; and
  • Fund school boards for each new student with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) entering the school system in the remaining months of the 2018-19 school year with an average of $12,300 to make sure there are proper supports available during the transition from therapy to school.

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Ford government to boost school funding to deal with influx of students with autism

Boards will be getting additional funding to help with hundreds of new students with autism expected to arrive in classrooms next month, as critics accused the province of downloading kids’ behavioural therapy needs onto Ontario schools.

The Ford government was warned by boards about the impact of the new autism program that reduces funding for thousands of families who are now expected to turn to their local schools looking for services — starting in two weeks’ time.

In anticipation of the imminent influx of students with autism, Education Minister Lisa Thompson announced that the government would provide schools about $12,300 per new student. Schools receive that amount for every kid enrolled; however, under previous rules they could be eligible for the funds only up to March 31. But school boards had been writing to Thompson, as well as Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod, with their concerns about how the controversial autism overhaul could create an unsustainable burden on schools as of April 1, when the new program takes effect.

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Ontario Protecting Those Working At Heights

Ontario’s government is working to keep those who work-at-heights safe. The government’s working-at-heights training program is preventing worker injuries and saving business up to $36 million in health, lost productivity and other costs, says a study by the Institute for Work and Health.

“Our mandatory training program is saving lives in Ontario,” said Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour. “Our government’s goal is to improve health and safety and prevent injuries and deaths of workers when working at heights.”

Falls from heights are a leading cause of work injuries and deaths at construction projects in Ontario. Working-at-heights training program standards are mandatory for workers who use travel restraint, fall restricting, fall arrest, safety nets, work belts and other fall protection systems in the construction sector. As many as 20 per cent of learners are in other sectors. This training prevents many falls in the construction sector as well as in other sectors.

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Ontario to ban cellphones from classrooms next year

TORONTO – Cellphones will be banned in Ontario classrooms during instructional time, starting in September – news that some suggest is meant to distract from ongoing criticism over autism funding.

Education Minister Lisa Thompson said in a statement Tuesday that a formal announcement is coming soon.

“Ontario’s students need to be able to focus on their learning – not their cellphones,” she wrote. “By banning cellphone use that distracts from learning, we are helping students to focus on acquiring the foundational skills they need like reading, writing and math.”

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Memo from Ontario’s education ministry recommends school boards freeze hiring

TORONTO – Ontario’s education ministry is recommending school boards freeze hiring ahead of the provincial budget and as the government consults on class sizes and hiring practices.

Deputy minister Nancy Naylor sent boards a memo Thursday noting that the government implemented a hiring freeze in June and that school boards may wish to institute similar measures.

When that public service hiring freeze was instituted, the government said it didn’t apply to front-line staff such as police and fire services, and Premier Doug Ford said it also didn’t apply to nurses or teachers.

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