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Stephen Lecce says teachers will no longer be hired based on seniority

Last Updated Oct 15, 2020 at 1:41 pm EST

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce speaks during the daily update on COVID-19 at Queen's Park in Toronto on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. Ontario says it will end streaming in Grade 9, a practice critics have called discriminatory towards racialized students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A controversial teacher hiring rule is being scrapped in Ontario to make way for the next generation of educators.

The province’s decision, announced by Education Minister Stephen Lecce, puts an end to a rule that has, for nearly a decade, allowed teachers with the most seniority to be prioritized for any new part-time, or full-time positions.

“Every young person in Ontario deserves to have the best, most qualified teacher at the front of their class,” Lecce said on Thursday.

“Moving forward, merit will lead hiring within our schools. Parents deserve a system that is built for their kids, not to advance the interest of some.”

It’s a process the Ford government has long been openly been against and hasn’t been able to scrap in their negotiations with teachers unions.

Lecce says that is, in part, what this is about as the province also moves to focus on diversifying the hiring process, so teachers more accurately represent the communities they work in.

Lecce says it’s making this decision was more crucial now than ever.

 

RELATED: Lecce defends back-to-school plan, disputes teacher pictures of packed classrooms

 

 

 

“Thousands of educators continue to be hired. To keep our schools safe, we need to give our principals the latitude to get it done,” Lecce added.

“We have an issue with supply. We cannot find teachers. Some schools have had to send in non-qualified educators to essentially watch the class. We cannot allow that to happen.”

While reaction is mixed, the move is not permanent and will be going into effect at the end of this month.

School boards will have until the end of the year to update their hiring guidelines.

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