TORONTO, ON – Education workers, teachers, parents, students and immigrant rights groups reject recent statements made by Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services Todd Smith, linking increased refugee attendance in schools and education funding. Minister Smith accuses the Federal government of not shouldering its share of the burden for services for refugee claimants, but he fails to mention that his government recently cut $1.4 Billion dollars from public education, directly causing classroom closures, skyrocketing class sizes, widespread program cancellation, and slashes to custodian and special needs support staff for children.

Denouncing inadequate federal funding for services while not taking responsibility for his own government’s aggressive cuts – all while calling for more “order at the border” – is dog-whistle politics. It is the actions of the Ford government that are producing a crisis in our education system, not an increase in refugee children. We will not let politicians stir up anti-immigrant hatred to distract and divide us.

We call on Minister Smith to retract his statement and apologize immediately. We call for quality, public, universal education for all students, regardless of immigration status. Education workers, parents, and students will #UniteAgainstRacism.

Signed by: Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario
Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association
Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation
CUPE Ontario
Ontario School Board Council of Unions
Migrant Workers Alliance for Change
Students Say No
Ontario Families for Public Education
Scarborough Families for Public Education
Toronto Centre Parents for Public Education
West End Parents for Public Education
Hispanic Mothers of Autistic and ADHD Children (HAACO)
Latinx, Afro-Latin-America, Abya Yala Education Network (LAEN)

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For more information, please contact:

Syed Hussan, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, 415-453-3632, [email protected]

COPE491/EW

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