Monday, December 10, 2012

Bill 115 for Dummies

I realize this blog is supposed to be about my transition to a more kosher life, however, as my journey has somewhat come to a bit of an end (let's call it a waystation), I'd like to visit what is important in my little part of the world these days.

Bill 115 was passed in Ontario, and this week, teachers are taking their job action to the street. They are staging a 1 day strike.

I have been very open about the fact that I am not a union supporter.  As a matter of fact, I plan on specializing in Labour Relations when I finish my HR certficate.

But I digress.

I don't support unions - I do support employees.  So in this case, I am on the teachers' side. 

What does Bill 115 do?  What does it mean?

Well, first and foremost, it takes away the union's right - and therefore the teachers' right - to strike.  "But that's a good thing" some might say.

Well, no.  As Danielle S. McLaughlin said in an editorial in the Huffington Post it's like telling children that they can't go out to play at recess, because they might misbehave.  It's punishing them for not doing anything.  It's punishing the teachers before they've had a chance to exercise their rights.

Bill 115, has removed a significant measure of dignity from our precious resource, our teachers. Rather than offer these important people the respect that Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees people under section 2 (d), Ontario has shown such disrespect that teachers have not even been given a chance to do what each of the children in the groups above have been prepared and expected to do -- negotiate and find a workable solution to their conflicts. (Danielle S. McLaughlin, Huffington Post)

Add to that that the teachers have lost their accumulated sick days.  "Awww, poor them.  I don't get any sick days" some of you may be saying.  Well, yes.  Poor them.  Because when your kid is sick, but you send him to school because if you take time off to take care of your child, you don't get paid, so you decide to send them to school, where they infect their classmates and their teachers, who are then exposed x20, they deserve the time off.  They NEED the time off.

As for having time off to take care of their family responsibilities?  Well, I don't know that I agree with 20 days total to  use for this sort of thing.  No one else does get this. 

But so many people say they don't have sick days, 20 days paid a year to use and roll over if needed in the future, or anything even remotely similar.  Well, maybe instead of asking why the teachers get it and why they're fighting for it, you should be asking yourself - why don't I get these benefits?

And don't get me started on the "2 months off every summer".  Teachers don't get PAID for those 2 months "off" where they are thinking about what to do for your children come September.  "Oh yes they do" you may be thinking.  Only because they are getting pro-rated salary.  Why prorate their salary?  So they can't claim EI during the summer months.   EI is for people who are truly unemployed.  Though fishermen and farmers and other seasonal workers can claim EI when their industry is "off" for a season.  So maybe teachers should be able to claim EI over the summer.  September to June is their "season".

What other industry delegates when their staff can take holiday?  Teachers can only go away during the  most expensive times of the year - when their students are also off.  Christmas, March Break and the summer.

Do you go away any other time than then?  Possibly not, because your children are in school, right?  I know some people take their kids out of school to go away (I've done it - the week before a holiday).  So because most of us take our kids away during the holidays they're off from school, it drives the prices up.  Therefore, the people who educate our children can only go away during the most expensive travel times.  Boo hoo, you say?  Well, if you can go away any other time of the year, when it's cheaper, why don't you?  Oh, right, your kids are in school.

So, this Thursday, when the teachers are picketing at my children's school, I will not send my children to school to cross the picket line and sit in a classroom watching movies all day.  We can do that at home.  We'll be out, possibly walking the line in solidarity with our teachers, and if not, making a big pot of hot chocolate and bringing it by the school.


  1. Thank you for this post. I walked the picket line today in Northern Ontario. There seems to be more bashing than support. So, thank you!

    1. You are very welcome, anonymous teacher(?) from Northern Ontario :)

      Not everyone is against the strike, but the media (and Dalton McSquinty himself) are misfeeding information to the public and making this job action seem to be about wages. It's not. If you (and by you I mean the general public) were to actually read and listen to what the issues are, I'm willing to bet more parents would be more supportive. As it is, I'm doing what I can to help out friends who have noone to watch their kids on Thursday. And doing what I can to show our teachers we support them. Good luck to all the teachers!!

  2. Teachers do get paid for the 9 weeks that they are off during the summer. That is exactly what a prorated salary means. If they would like to collect EI that is fine. We will then not prorate their salaries and they can collect 55% of their wages up to a max of $485 a week like the rest of us when we are laid off. With 121852 teachers and administrators across Ontario with an average salary of $83500 we could save over $1.22 billion dollars of the tax payers money by doing this in Ontario alone.