Some Ontario teachers are refusing work over school COVID-19 concerns

2022-01-26 7:00:00 AM

Some Ontario teachers are refusing work over school COVID-19 concerns

Toronto News Live, Toronto

Some Ontario teachers are refusing work over school COVID-19 concerns

Mary Fraser-Hamilton spent part of last week sitting in her car instead of teaching in her classroom.

People have a right to refuse work they believe is unsafe under Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act. Once reported, the Ministry of Labour dispatches an inspector to look into whether a hazard exists and, if so, what can be done to correct it. Investigations vary depending on the workplace and type of issue being raised.

Fraser-Hamilton said the issue of ventilation is still being looked into and she's not ruling out another work refusal depending on what is discovered. In the meantime, she said she's frustrated that concerns over student masking don't fall under the ministry's purview.

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oh its a covid issue this time, usually they refuse to work because of class sizes are too big or there's not enough ' prep time ' or the standardized testing is inhumane or the classrooms are too hot or the classrooms too cold or they haven't had a raise in a week. yawwwwwnn Fire them Fire them. Let them get another job. Imagine if doctors and nurses did this!

So teachers should definitely just quit their jobs and maybe go work in the health care system🤪🤪 Ridiculous. They are refusing to work over a sniffle. Start hiring ones that will.🤷🏻‍♀️ So most work refusals in Ontario have been by teachers? Why is this not surprising? I hope their paycheques were adjusted or sick days were taken away

What do you expect when MSM keeps the nation in fear. You’ve created this monster. What are all of the teachers so whiney? Great. Then we know which teachers to fire and strip of their pensions. Cowards. Replace them. They are at less risk that a grocery store clerk, and far better protected and paid. Get over your irrational fears, and either support our kids, or get out of the way.

Sounds about right, wasn't lazy JustinTrudeau a teacher then found a job that requires less days of work

Some Ontario teachers refuse work over COVID-19 concerns at schoolsTeachers say they’re concerned about lack of information on cases now that the province has cut back on testing and contact tracing, as well as ventilation standards and student mask quality I think this is perfectly fine. We all have, and should have, the right to refuse unsafe work. She followed the process, her environment was found to be safe, all good. Shocking! A teacher not wanting to work All the wacko comments lol… have no idea about health and safety… look it up under the occupational health and safety act…

Well surprise surprise... They first want the most money in the name of children and now they don’t want to work. WTF!? Ontario has a serious problem all because the law is too soft on these BS. Teaching, once a VOCATION, and now a PROFESSION… like so many other professions, they are all about DOING LESS and MAKING MORE! So, very, very sad!

Fire them: they as public employees were pampered through the covid pandemic and now not refusing to work - enough.

Ontario reports 615 COVID-19 patients in ICU, 3,861 patients hospitalizedOntario reported 4,790 new COVID-19 cases today but Public Health Ontario has said the actual number is higher because of changes to the province’s testing policy This is total and not net new right?

Concert, theatre organizers in Ontario face new COVID-19 hurdlesMany in Ontario’s live music and performing arts industries say they’re being treated unfairly as new rules go into effect on Jan. 31

Ontario confirms 64 deaths related to COVID-19 with 626 people in ICUAnother 64 COVID-19 related deaths have been confirmed in Ontario as the number of people in intensive care reaches 626. Give right numbers. The 64 deaths in Ontario is a count from January 1st. Not a daily count Once again 'related' the CTV Ministry of Truth LMAO 🤡 Fake News at it again, reporting old numbers to fluff up the total. Where is your journalistic integrity? tellthetruth Accountability lies GameOver TruckersForFreedom TruckersConvoy2022

Ontario's COVID-19 death toll surpasses 11,000 todayCOVID-19 NUMBERS : Ontario confirmed another 36 net new virus-related deaths today, pushing the province's COVID-19 death toll past 11,000. Net new? Did Sflecce write this headline? Very disrespectful way to state this…..

The Brampton, Ont...Create Free Account Some live music advocates fear upcoming concerts – among them performances by Billie Eilish and Elton John – could hang in the balance as Ontario’s plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions hands them a tougher set of rules than those facing other entertainment events.

, drama teacher was one of 11 education workers in Ontario who initiated work refusals over COVID-19 safety concerns as students and staff members returned to in-person learning with less transparency about the virus in schools. Teachers say they're concerned about lack of information on cases now that the province has cut back on testing and contact tracing, as well as ventilation standards and student mask quality. “We aren’t organizing or anything. They consider individual labour action one of the last options they have to advocate for stronger safety standards in schools -- but remain worried that student safety issues are falling through the cracks. Sign up for the. “We aren't organizing or anything. People have a right to refuse work they believe is unsafe under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. We're all just fed up,” Fraser-Hamilton said in an interview. Erin Benjamin, head of the Canadian Live Music Association, says it’s the latest setback for live venues and their owners, who are confused by provincial policies that deem it safe to eat maskless in a packed restaurant but less safe to gather masked for a concert.

People have a right to refuse work they believe is unsafe under Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act. Investigations vary depending on the workplace and type of issue being raised. Once reported, the Ministry of Labour dispatches an inspector to look into whether a hazard exists and, if so, what can be done to correct it. Investigations vary depending on the workplace and type of issue being raised. She said she was also worried about the lack of a safety plan for lunchtime when students are unmasked. Fraser-Hamilton initiated a work refusal on Wednesday, based on concerns about ventilation, student mask quality and adherence, lack of access to virus tests and contact tracing. She said she was also worried about the lack of a safety plan for lunchtime when students are unmasked. Fraser-Hamilton said the issue of ventilation is still being looked into and she’s not ruling out another work refusal depending on what is discovered. artists who may decide it’s not worth the cost of entering Canada to play a half-full venue.

By Friday, she was back in the classroom, after Ministry of Labour inspectors visited and determined that most of her concerns regarding student PPE standards weren't relevant to her individual safety as a worker, she said. Fraser-Hamilton said the issue of ventilation is still being looked into and she's not ruling out another work refusal depending on what is discovered. “If my students can’t be safe, I don’t understand how anyone thinks that I can be safe,” she said. In the meantime, she said she's frustrated that concerns over student masking don't fall under the ministry's purview. “If my students can't be safe, I don't understand how anyone thinks that I can be safe,” she said.” There were 11 documented work refusals in Ontario’s education sector over the week of Jan. “That for me was the most frustrating part about it. Both of those artists are booked to perform before full capacity is permitted on March 14.

” There were 11 documented work refusals in Ontario's education sector over the week of Jan. Inspectors responded to them in boards covering schools in Peel Region, Simcoe County, Toronto and Hamilton-Wentworth. 17, according to the Labour Ministry. Inspectors responded to them in boards covering schools in Peel Region, Simcoe County, Toronto and Hamilton-Wentworth. “The nature of the issues received involved COVID-19 safety precautions such as physical distancing, and contact tracing,” Ciara Nardelli said in an email. A spokeswoman for the ministry did not speak to specific cases, such as Fraser-Hamilton's, but said one closed investigation was resolved internally and another four were found not to meet the criteria of a work refusal or unlikely to endanger the worker. “The nature of the issues received involved COVID-19 safety precautions such as physical distancing, and contact tracing,” Ciara Nardelli said in an email. Between Jan. Those shows are now slated for July 25 and 27.

The 11 education-sector refusals made up more than half of the total 18 pandemic-related work refusals that the ministry has investigated so far this month. Between Jan. 2021, the ministry said there were 53 virus-related work refusals in Ontario schools. 2020 and Dec. 2021, the ministry said there were 53 virus-related work refusals in Ontario schools. But Ryan Harper, president of the Peel bargaining unit for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, said members anecdotally appear more willing to take that action at this point in the pandemic. Work refusals are launched by individuals, not organized by unions. Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music resumes performances at half capacity in early February, with an Aretha Franklin tribute show and Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson on the calendar.

But Ryan Harper, president of the Peel bargaining unit for the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, said members anecdotally appear more willing to take that action at this point in the pandemic. “It just doesn’t make sense to a lot of people that the provincial government would go ahead and remove whatever protective layers were in place in our schools at a time when we are most at risk of exposure to the virus. “We have far weaker standards now in place in Ontario than what we had in December and at the same time, we have way more cases in the province,” Harper said in an interview. “It just doesn't make sense to a lot of people that the provincial government would go ahead and remove whatever protective layers were in place in our schools at a time when we are most at risk of exposure to the virus. Classes resumed in-person this week but the province has stopped reporting information on virus cases in schools and PCR tests aren’t available to most students and staff due to a restricted provincial testing policy.” The government ordered a two-week period of remote learning this month, citing the likelihood of virus-related staff shortages from the fast-spreading Omicron variant. Classes resumed in-person this week but the province has stopped reporting information on virus cases in schools and PCR tests aren't available to most students and staff due to a restricted provincial testing policy. Lindsay Pareja, who teaches English at a Mississauga, Ont.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has maintained that schools are safe despite the recent policy changes, pointing to the availability of vaccines, three-layer cloth masks the province is offering to all students and rapid tests being offered to students and staff - though there wasn't enough supply for high school students to receive the tests last week. Lindsay Pareja, who teaches English at a Mississauga, Ont. Like Fraser-Hamilton, Pareja said she was discouraged that her concerns about student mask quality didn’t appear to fall under the inspectors’ scope., high school, also refused work last week. Like Fraser-Hamilton, Pareja said she was discouraged that her concerns about student mask quality didn't appear to fall under the inspectors' scope. She said N95 masks being provided to teachers by the province this month are an improvement, but she was disappointed that students haven’t been given the same level of protection. She has since returned to work while an investigation into school's ventilation system continues, an agreement she said was reached because the portable she teaches in has a HEPA filter installed.

She said N95 masks being provided to teachers by the province this month are an improvement, but she was disappointed that students haven't been given the same level of protection. “The Ministry of Labour doesn’t see that as under their purview, so I feel really lost as far as, how do we protect kids?” The Ministry of Education didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. “What I've learned through this process that is kind of upsetting to me is that I really thought my job is to maintain student safety,” she said. “The Ministry of Labour doesn't see that as under their purview, so I feel really lost as far as, how do we protect kids?” The Ministry of Education didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. “It really is boiling down to, what individual action can I take? Because that’s the only thing that’s left at my disposal,” she said. Despite the setback around her student safety concerns, Fraser-Hamilton said she was motivated to do something because she feels the government hasn't listened to union pushback throughout the pandemic. “It really is boiling down to, what individual action can I take? Because that's the only thing that's left at my disposal,” she said. Sign up today .

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2022. It has not been edited by Globe staff. .