TORONTO, ON –The Ford government’s education cuts are threatening some of the most highly regarded programs for students from multicultural and Black communities and Toronto education workers are gearing up for the fight to save them.

Members of Local 4400 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will be out in force tomorrow (Saturday) as part of an effort to engage parents in the effort to save the international language learning and the African Heritage programs at Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

TDSB staff is recommending the elimination of the Saturday classes for the board’s International Languages and African Heritage programs. More than 7500 students are enrolled in the programs.

“This is a stealth attack on our city’s most marginalized and racialized communities, but parents and other supporters of these programs have been left in the dark,” said John Weatherup, president of CUPE 4400. “Losing these programs would be a terrible blow to so many of our city’s students, families and communities. We want our trustees to stand up for these students and for these communities.”

Terri Preston, a vice-president with CUPE 4400, emphasized that “international language learning enriches learning across the curriculum, and the African Heritage program has always been a model for inclusion and opportunity. To deprive students of access to these programs would be shameful.”

On Saturday, Toronto education workers will hold information pickets at 30 TDSB schools that offer Saturday programs in international languages and African heritage,

For interview opportunities, media are encouraged to attend information pickets at the following locations on Saturday, 25 May:

Woodbine Junior High School and Georges Vanier Secondary School, 3000 Don Mills Rd East, North York, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Forest Manor Public School, 25 Forest Manor Rd, North York, ON, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

– 30 –

For more information, contact Mary Unan, CUPE Communications, 647-390-9839