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News · Stephen Lecce continues to inflate the numbers and rhetoric

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Stephen Lecce continues to inflate the numbers and rhetoric

December 11, 2019 — Over the past few weeks, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce has continuously stated that OSSTF/FEESO is asking for a $1.5 billion increase in compensation during the current round of negotiations.  That number is grossly inaccurate and misrepresents what we have put on the bargaining table.

We estimate that our proposal for an annual cost of living increase, tied to inflation, would cost approximately $200 million – NOT $1.5 billion as the Minister continues to assert.  Our costing figures were confirmed by the Minister’s own calculations, which were released to the media on December 10.  

We asked the government to provide data to us on the costing of our proposals, as well as how the Minister arrived at his numbers in an effort to move negotiations forward.  Instead of providing that data at the bargaining table, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce chose to email us his hyper-inflated numbers at same time he held a media event.  

Minister Lecce now claims that OSSTF/FEESO’s proposals will cost the government billions more if agreed to.  This is clearly nowhere close to what OSSTF/FEESO is proposing at both the Education Worker and Teacher/Occasional Teacher central tables.  

OSSTF/FEESO asked the Minister’s representatives for the true cost of just our union’s proposals.  We have not received any response to this question.  Instead, Stephen Lecce continues to assert that OSSTF/FEESO is asking for this new, over-inflated dollar figure, which is categorically FALSE.

While the Minister may assert that this new figure would cover the entire education sector, he continues to state publicly that this is what OSSTF/FEESO’s proposals would cost the government.  The Minister is conveniently avoiding any real discussion about regressive changes he has imposed on our world-class education system, including:

Larger class sizes
Fewer education workers supporting our most vulnerable students
Cuts to specialized programs and supports for students
Mandatory e-Learning for students in high schools in order to graduate

This sort of inflamed rhetoric and hyperbole from a Minister of the Crown does nothing to move us closer to a negotiated settlement.  We will continue to focus on issues that are important to parents, students and our members – preserving the high quality education system we have in Ontario.

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