Monday, April 11, 2016

Walking It Back: Minister apologizes for comments about Ontario teachers’ sick days

"You say it like it's something bad"
Ontario’s Education Minister has apologized to at least one teachers’ union for suggesting educators are abusing their sick days.

Responding to a Globe and Mail story about a report that said sick days are increasing, Education Minister Liz Sandals told reporters earlier this month that Ontario teachers and other education workers are taking more sick days because they lost the right to bank them for a cash payout upon retirement.

“There’s no reason to believe that they’re actually sicker than they were two years ago,” Ms. Sandals said with a chuckle, according to a Canadian Press report.

Two teachers’ unions immediately demanded that Ms. Sandals apologize.

In a letter to members last week, Ann Hawkins, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, wrote that she spoke with Ms. Sandals. “The Minister acknowledged that her comments were insensitive, and she expressed to me her sincere regret,” Ms. Hawkins wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Globe. “The Minister also assured me that she does not believe teachers are abusing the sick-leave policy in any way.”

Further, the letter stated that Ms. Sandals believed the sick-day report to be misleading, even though she said her office has not been able to obtain a copy of the report and she has not seen it.  (more...)

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