Bill 115 hurts students and undermines democratic rights to bargain

For Immediate ReleaseJanuary 4, 2013

Toronto, ON – The Liberal government’s use of Bill 115 undermines democracy, local bargaining, and has created an unnecessary crisis in education. Students deserve better.
“Our kids deserve an education with all the usual activities. This could be happening now if the government had accepted the teachers’ wage freeze proposal and bargained in good faith,” says Green Party leader Mike Schreiner. “A responsible government doesn’t need a law that undermines democratic rights to get the job done. To use Bill 115 and then repeal it is an admission of failure by the Liberal government.”
By taking away the democratic rights of teachers to negotiate, Bill 115 has left Ontarians with disgruntled teachers and the continuing threat of reduced extracurricular activities for students.
The Green Party has proposed a number solutions to use tax dollars more efficiently in order to improve education while balancing the province’s budget deficit. Bargaining in good faith for a wage freeze is the first step. The Green Party’s plan to merge the school boards and eliminate the redundant EQAO testing would result in additional savings of over $1.5 billion. 
“Our children deserve the best education we can give them, in schools in their neighbourhoods,” says Matt Richter, Education Critic for the Green Party. “The Green Party has a plan to save money and improve education, while maintaining the rights of teachers to bargain in good faith with their employers. The people of Ontario should expect better from their government, and get better from their school system.” 
With the continuing turmoil in education as a result of Bill 115, it is time for a sensible and forward-looking approach to resolve the conflict between the unions and the McGuinty government.