Rob Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario of the Near North Teacher's Local, today blasted Premier Doug Ford over comments Thursday claiming that labour leaders are the reason why schools remain closed to in-person learning.
The premier made the comments at a news conference.
“The school situation remains a critical concern for many parents,” Ford said. “On the one hand, we have some doctors saying they want to open the schools. On the other hand, we have the teachers' unions saying we can't do that right now.
“We have some doctors that are saying yes, but then we have the teachers' union that wants to potentially put an injunction against opening the schools. I just need the labour leaders to sit down with the doctors and come up with a solution.”
But Hammond says the union is not aware of any injunctions filed.
"It's just another attempt by the Premier to deflect responsibility for his government's lack of direction, planning and implementation of his handling of the pandemic and botched vaccination plan," Hammond told BayToday.
"We were actually floored by this. We are out because the government has ordered the schools closed. Can we come back? Not unless the government orders us to come back."
The teachers were ordered out in January and came back when they were told to says Hammond.
"We're under contract. We do what the government tells us to do. We're not seeking injunctions. The government is just trying to deflect from its own failings in the polls."
Hammond calls Ford's statement "absurd and reckless."
"It's an attempt to score some political points when the Premier really doesn't know what he's talking about. He says we need labour leaders to sit down with doctors and come up with a solution. We've been doing that since June."
Yesterday Ford extended all of the current public health restrictions until at least June 2. Schools will continue teacher-led remote learning.