Fall Economic Statement, a step in the right direction
Ottawa, Dec. 1, 2020 – The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE) welcomes the Federal Government’s Fall Economic Statement initiatives to support Canadians during this unprecedented period. Since Covid-19 crossed our borders, much of the pandemic’s burden has been carried by women—who represent the vast majority of teachers— and the measures outlined in the document are a step in the right direction, but more support is needed for teachers, kids in school, and their families.
From balancing childcare and online learning with work, to having to make the decision to give up careers in order to support families, this crisis has laid bare the existing gender gaps that persist in this country. As with childcare, the safe and sustainable operation of schools across the country is key to keeping the economy afloat. “Investment in public education at this time is more important than ever, but Provinces and Territories have not been transparent on where and how they have spent the federal monies and the Federal government did not take this opportunity to outline clearly their expectations,” says President Shelley L. Morse.
Just a few months into the school year, teachers across the country are reaching their breaking point. The CTF/FCE is pleased by new investments for mental health services, and we hope that yesterday’s announcement will allow services offered by distress centres and the Wellness Together Canada portal to address the unique workplace stressors of teachers and other frontline workers.
In addition to having to set up a home office with, at minimum, a computer and camera, many teachers —particularly those working in more remote rural communities— have had to upgrade their internet or increase their WIFI/broadband capacity to ensure they could teach remotely. It is encouraging that the Federal Government simplified the Home Office Expense Deduction; however, it remains unclear whether the cost of internet services and tech devices will become eligible expenses.
The CTF/FCE commends the Federal Government on prioritizing measures that seek to address systemic racism, but we are disheartened that none include a focus on teaching and learning about racism. Additionally, the increased use of online learning has exposed the digital divide and economic disparities throughout communities, disproportionality impacting Indigenous, racialized and Black Canadians. “The CTF/FCE has been calling on the Government to provide a technology subsidy to low income families with school-aged children who need to participate in online learning, and we are disappointed that the Fall Economic Statement did not provide that,” says Morse.
- Founded in 1920, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is the national voice for the teaching profession.
- As the national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations, the CTF/FCE represents over 300,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada.
Canadian Teachers’ Federation