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Lecce rips Toronto teacher that tested positive for COVID-19 after not wearing mask

Last Updated Oct 28, 2020 at 8:59 pm EDT

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce speaks at a press conference at Queen's Park in Toronto on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Education Minister Stephen Lecce was not happy following news that a Toronto catholic teacher was reportedly charged by the Ministry of Labour for not wearing a mask.

The itinerant music teacher tested positive for COVID-19 at the start of the month, leading to the weeklong shutdown of St. Charles Catholic School.

Lecce says the only way we can keep the schools open is if everyone follows the rules.

“There has to be absolute compliance with the protocols set out by the Chief Medical Officer and local public health,” Lecce maintained on Wednesday.

“Given that the province, this government, funded the training for health and safety of every single educator – including supply teachers in the province on these protocols. We all have a duty to uphold them,” he added.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton said the case is “deeply concerning.”

“Just abide by the rules that are out there, they’re common sense. If your employer is requiring PPE and a mask, in this case, wear it,” he told reporters.

McNaughton said there have been 22,000 orders issued by the labour ministry after 25,000 investigations during the pandemic.

Premier Doug Ford, meanwhile, said he received a message from a student’s mother about the teacher who was charged.

“Talk about angry, oh my goodness,” said Ford. “Not angry at us, but angry that the teacher would not follow proper protocols.”

RELATED: TCDSB closes St. Charles Catholic School due to COVID-19 concerns

Health inspectors stopped by St. Charles Catholic School on Friday and charged the teacher who is now on leave while the investigation is carried out.

A spokesperson for the labour minister said the teacher is set to appear before a justice of the peace in February.

The maximum fine is $1,000, plus victim fine surcharges.

Itinerant teachers travel from class to class or among schools — and this teacher had contact with three classes in the school of 250.

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