Layoff notices were issued to 25 para-professionals with the Upper Canada District School Board. The board approved a $1.3 million cut in funding for para-professionals, including child and youth workers and behaviourists, on Wednesday.
The layoffs represent a 53% cut in para-professionals for the UCDSB, according to a press release sent out by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) yesterday.
The OSSTF says the front-line workers provide services that are critical in student suicide prevention, mental health, engagement strategies and facilitating connections between families and outside agencies.
Jim Mulville, Professional Student Services Personnel bargaining unit president for OSSTF, says it’s a shattering number of para-professionals who are losing their jobs. He noted with the provincial priorities around violence in schools and the rise of student mental health crisis, the front-line workers are critical in empowering youth and resolving violent incidents.
Adrienne McEwen, District Officer with OSSTF, says there is absolutely nothing routine about the number of para-professionals declared redundant.
The UCDSB is looking at $11.7 million in cuts for its 2019-20 budget. The board has been contacted for further information and updates will be provided as they become available.