Minister of Education offers financial assistance during teacher union strike actions

SIMCOE — The Honourable Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, has announced the government’s plan to offer parents up to $60 per day if strike actions close schools or school-based child care centres.

“Our aim has always been to reach a negotiated settlement that keeps kids in class, which we have done successfully with multiple labour partners to date,” said Minister Lecce. “We recognize the impact of union escalation on families is real, and unions expect hard-working families to bear the costs of their cyclical labour action. While unions impose hardship on families and students, our government is taking proactive steps to ensure students remain cared for — and families supported — in the event that unions decide to further escalate job action in their fight for enhanced compensation and other demands. The contrast could not be clearer.”

“Increased job action by teacher union leaders means increased child care costs – our Support for Parents initiative puts money directly into family coffers,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett.

To address these potential realities, the Ministry of Education launched its Support for Parents initiative to make sure that child care and other safe spaces are as accessible as possible for any family impacted by strikes. It will also provide support to parents who are facing increased costs.

Financial support will be provided to parents for each day of school that a child misses on account of a labour disruption, or each day of child care that is not available if offered from a closed school.

  • $60 per day for children aged 0-6 who are not yet enrolled in school but attend a school-based child care centre that is required to close on account of the strike.
  • $40 per day for students in Junior Kindergarten (JK) and Senior Kindergarten (SK).
  • $25 per day for students in Grades 1 up to and including Grade 7.
  • $40 total per day for students in JK up to and including Grade 12 with a special need(s).

Eligible parents of children up to age 12 (Grade 7), or up to age 21 for children and youth with special needs, in a publicly funded school, qualify for:

Funding will also be retroactive for qualifying parents to cover costs already incurred due to labour disruptions that have occurred during the current 2019-20 labour negotiations.

More details about this financial support can be found by visiting Ontario.ca/SupportForParents or by calling the Support for Parents Helpline at 888-444-3770.

QUICK FACTS

  • During a strike, licensed child care programs, including before- and after-school programs, will be allowed to extend their hours, request temporary relocation to avoid labour disruptions and request an increase to the number of children they are licensed to support. 
  • The province also intends to allow day camps to open to school-aged students without it counting against their 13-week per-year operating limit. 
  • The ministry is also considering other ways to support students with special needs during any strike action by teacher federations and/or education worker unions.
  • Parents can use the licensed child care finder to contact local operators about available licensed programs in their area.
  • On November 4, 2019, a central agreement was ratified between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Council of Trustees’ Associations (CTA), with the agreement of the Government of Ontario.
  • On December 10, Minister Lecce announced a tentative agreement with the Education Workers’ Alliance of Ontario.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Education contract talks: stay updated

Support for Parents – Access application at Ontario.ca/SupportForParents

Preparing Students for the Future