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Statement From The Government House Leader

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Statement From The Government House Leader

Government House Leader's Office

"This morning, the government has advised the Speaker to recall the Legislature for Monday, Aug. 27, in order to introduce the Putting Students First Act.

We've achieved so much in Ontario's school system in the past nine years. Class sizes are smaller, test scores are higher, more students are graduating and our young students are getting a head start on the world with the implementation of full-day kindergarten.

Now, as parents start preparing for the upcoming school year, they need the certainty of knowing that their children will have a full school year, free from labour disruptions. And they need to know that the government will take the necessary steps to protect the gains that we have made in education.

We've been working with our partners in education for almost six months to reach agreements. In less than two weeks, teachers' contracts will expire and roll over, leading to automatic increases in wages of up to 5.5 per cent and two million more bankable sick days that can be cashed out at retirement. Taxpayers can't afford that.

We have a choice. Do we protect full-day kindergarten or increase teachers' salaries? Do we protect smaller class sizes or do we allow contracts to automatically roll over? For the government, the choice is clear. We'll protect Ontario students' education.

That's why we're calling the Legislature back next Monday to introduce legislation that will ask MPPs to stand up to protect our students and our education system, and to put it on a sustainable financial footing for the future.

As you saw in the spring, legislation moves through a minority parliament as slow as molasses.

The opposition parties have allowed just three bills to pass over four months of legislative sittings.

Two weeks ago, we wrote to the opposition leaders to get their input on how we could pass legislation to protect education in Ontario. We asked for constructive input. What we heard back was the same old messaging and posturing. We need the Opposition parties to put politics aside, as well as the delay tactics and game-playing that lasted all spring.

So far, the NDP have demonstrated that they can't say no to unions including one union that has spent a total of one hour at the bargaining table. The PCs want to fire teachers and declare war on them again. We are calling on the PCs and the NDP to step up and support a fair and balanced approach to ensuring stability in schools.

This legislation will ensure peace and stability in our schools. It will address the government's fiscal situation and it will give local boards and unions time to get a deal themselves.

We're bringing the Legislature back early so that students and parents have the certainty of knowing that their school year will not be disrupted and to ensure we have the same peace and stability we have enjoyed for the past nine years."

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