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Another week, another one-day walkout by local teachers and EAs

Educational assistant says strike isn't about money: 'We are here for the right issues and money is not fogging the issue at all'

Ontario teachers staged another one-day strike today with nine boards walking picket lines.

Teachers and educational assistants (EAs) from the Simcoe County District School Board and Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board joined seven other boards on Wednesday as they walked outside their schools holding signs of protest against the provincial government.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) and the province have been at a stalemate in their contract negotiations for weeks, and there seems to be no end in sight.

Educational assistant Nancy Villemaire, who walked the picket line in front of St. Joseph’s Catholic High School all day Wednesday, told BarrieToday that despite the bitter cold wind, she and fellow staff were getting their message out.

“The spirits are great and the support from the community is nothing short of inspirational,” Villemaire said.

“People know what we’re here for and it is not money," she added. "It's all about kids and everyone understands this government is not supporting students. They’re doing everything but.”

The OSSTF has said the strike is to protest bigger class sizes, something they say will harm the education of students and deny them one-on-one time needed by some.

Villemaire dismissed claims the government has made that teachers are striking due to money issues.

“They’re trying to appeal to the most divisive thing they can think of and that is to make teachers and educators look like it is all about money,” she said. “If it was all about money, there would be no EAs here. We are here for the right issues and money is not fogging the issue at all.”

Villemaire says she's unsure if there will be another strike next week or in the short term, but said she hoped to the provincial government would meet with meet with the OSSTF and work out a deal that helps the students get back to learning.

Classes at all schools will resume as normal on Thursday.

Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based in Barrie
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