Teachers: August Panic Explained

Teachers: August Panic Explained

There is a lot of collective concern over the fact that, on the eve of the start of classes in August, about 8,000 teachers are missing.

Education Minister Bernard Drainville seemed almost as confused as when his leader, last winter, abandoned the third link.

Then the number 8,000 began to melt away. And despite a real shortage of teachers, we find ourselves far from the disaster that was feared two weeks ago.


This traumatic experience has led many, both the government and the population, to demand that from now on, the work will be done at the end of May or in June. Which seems to make sense.

This will avoid a lot of unnecessary stress for parents, school principals, ministers … and of course the teachers themselves! (In my short career as a college professor, I remember the shock of learning, in mid-August, that I would, a few days later, begin teaching a course on “Political History of the West.” )

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Distributing tasks earlier seems to be appropriate for everyone. François Legault and his Treasury Board president, Sonia LeBel, made it an example of “sought flexibility” last week.

Where it sticks

Liberal MP Marwah Rizqy found himself lifting a ban on Thursday at Salon Bleu, in one of the main reasons for handing in assignments at the last minute. He told Sonia LeBel: “Can you accept that, if you ask teachers to be available from June 30 (…) they have to reject unemployment? Can you say that?”

LeBel dodged the question, both in and out of the room. In the union camp, we are cautious while saying that the simple solution is to increase the number of permanent positions. Where the government camp is not closed.

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If you are a teacher with a dangerous situation, but full time, you will receive 10 months as much as permanent teachers, but the emoluments of the latter are distributed over 12 months.


So many workers are used to claiming “unemployment” for the summer months, by checking a box on the forms in which they confirm that they are not sure that they will be offered one you work soon. “It was true when the number of teachers increased,” a source familiar with the matter explained to me. “But now, with the staff shortages, all the bad workers will almost certainly be back in August.” These people are jealous: they get their full salary for 10 months, with a “bonus” of two months of unemployment. Hence the “financial compensation” that a union is thinking of asking for at the tables. “Because a job is almost guaranteed, we can’t even be sure if it’s legal” to receive employment insurance this way, one informant told me.

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Some issues prevent tasks from being assigned earlier, but no source seems to have any other examples to give me than this matter of missing “unemployed”. In any case, it seems that we are far from the official madness according to which only the student is the center of concerns…