Ontario will temporarily allow retired teachers to work more days in light of ongoing staff shortages due to the pandemic.
The new agreement will allow retirees to work a total of 95 days, an increase of nearly double the previous limit of 50.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce says even before the Omicron wave, school boards were reporting high rates of teacher absenteeism.
He adds the change will help run remote school and in-person learning when students return to classes.
Nearly 40 per cent of school boards are reporting up to 25 per cent of their teacher absences were unfilled by a substitute teacher.
The Ontario Teachers’ Federation says it does not anticipate many retirees are interested in working “in the current environment” and says more measures should be taken to address the teacher shortage.
Students have been learning remotely since the end of the winter break because of a spike in COVID-19 infections driven by the Omicron variant. The Ford government has said that classes could resume on Jan. 17, but no firm date has been given.