The agreement ups the maximum days retirees can work in a school year without clawing back any of their pension
Retired teachers will be allowed to teach up to 95 days a year to fill a projected shortfall of 7,000 occasional teachers, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced Monday.
The ministry says that almost 40% of school boards report they have no occasional teacher to fill in for up to 25% of their teacher absences.
The government has reached a temporary agreement with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) to up the maximum days retirees can work in a school year to 95 from the current 50 without clawing back any of their pension.
“Well before Omicron came to Ontario, school boards were reporting high rates of absenteeism from education staff,” Lecce said in a statement. “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.”
The government says funding for the additional retiree teaching time will come out of a $304-million fund to increase education staffing by 2,000 or more positions during the pandemic.
Ontario has penciled in Jan. 17 as the date that elementary and secondary students return to in-class learning but families have yet to have that date confirmed.
Dan Kelly, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, tweeted Monday: “Note to the Ontario govt: parents/employees and employers need to know if our kids are back to in person school next week. This decision has a profound impact on the workforce and notice is critical.”