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Ontario teachers who face losing their jobs are ‘more than welcome’ in B.C., minister says

Teachers who might soon be out of work in Ontario are being welcomed in B.C.

A provincial memo in Ontario laid out plans this week to eliminate 3,475 full-time teaching positions through attrition over the next four years.

The decision by Doug Ford’s government has sparked widespread demonstrations, with thousands descending on Queen’s Park in Toronto for a protest last weekend.

B.C., meanwhile, is going in an opposite direction.

The province has been grappling with a teacher shortage for years, and the government is now inviting anyone looking for a job out east to head west instead.

“Anyone from Ontario who finds themselves looking at a B.C. school district that might be hiring is more than welcome,” said Education Minister Rob Fleming.

Ramping up recruitment

A Supreme Court of Canada ruling ordered restored limits on class sizes in B.C., leaving 3,700 positions to be filled in since the fall of 2017.

The government has been on a hiring blitz ever since and will look to ramp up recruitment efforts in Ontario.

“We’ve seen an 85 per cent increase in teachers coming from Ontario in 2018 [compared to] just seven or eight years ago,” Fleming told reporters at the B.C. Legislature on Monday.

“So we’re starting to see Ontarians with a teaching certificate come to British Columbia — and they’re coming from other provinces as well.”

Ten school districts from across B.C. will be recruiting at a hiring fair in Toronto later this month.

At the start of this current school year, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation said 300 teachers were still needed province-wide.

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