Kathleen Wynne won’t weigh in on teachers’ snow...
Bookmark and Share
Aug 14, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Kathleen Wynne won’t weigh in on teachers’ snow day exemption request

Wynne says union push to close schools on snowy days if buses cancelled is up to local boards


Premier Kathleen Wynne is sticking to the middle of the road on a teachers’ union push to exempt school staff from showing up to work if school buses are cancelled for snow days.

“Those are the kinds of decisions that need to be made at the (school) board level,” Wynne said Thursday, a day after facing flared tempers at the annual meeting of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario over the government’s suspension of collective bargaining two years ago.

“The boards and the schools know their geography, they know their population,” added Wynne, who was asked about thousands of Ontarians who find their way to school and work in snowy winter weather.

“The fact is, most schools have a mix of kids . . . who walk and take buses. You know, there’s usually a mix,” she acknowledged.

Progressive Conservative MPP and education critic Garfield Dunlop (Simcoe North) said the union’s push sounds “unreasonable” at first glance because many children in rural villages and hamlets walk to school.

Closing schools on snow days could be “costly,” he added.

Members of ETFO, the union representing elementary school teachers, voted at their annual convention this week to recommend boards close schools whenever buses are cancelled for the day because of bad weather.

The idea is to spare staff from driving on dangerous roads and the union is yet to decide if it will ask Wynne’s government to look at such a snow closure policy.

It’s already in place at the Hamilton-Wentworth school board but most boards try to keep schools open if buses are cancelled to give students whose parents have to get to work a place to go and learn.

The problem crops up most often in rural areas, with, for example, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board cancelling buses three days last winter for all schools, but 12 in the windswept Orangeville area.

ETFO’s chief negotiator, Rob Smolenaars, cited the case of a teacher who was killed in a car accident near Peterborough on her way to work in bad weather on February 5.

At the convention, Wynne heard from teachers still angry about the Liberal government’s Bill 115 that imposed contract deals as her predecessor Dalton McGuinty tried to curb costs to fight the provincial deficit.

Toronto Star

Bookmark and Share

(1) Comment

By redbaron | AUGUST 20, 2014 07:23 AM
Natural Wynne tactic: let others take the heat for making unpopular decisions. She is definitely afraid of appearing to back peddle on showing support to those that supported her in getting her elected, namely the teacher's union. The unions now demand unwavering and complete loyalty from Wynne in return for their support. See u sleep with dogs, and u catch fleas. Scratchy, scratch, scratch.
( Page 1 of 1 )
Join The Conversation Sign Up Login

Latest Local News

In Your Neighbourhood Today