Rising teacher absenteeism spurs Ontario school boards to hire non-certified replacements

An increase in teacher absenteeism and a shortage of supply teachers in Ontario has forced several school districts to take an unusual approach to filling the gap: They’ve hired non-certified emergency replacements to supervise classrooms.

School boards say the staffing issues come as university training programs in the province were extended to two years from one year, which means a smaller annual pool of newly certified teachers. They also say the last-minute scramble has been caused by higher absenteeism due to changes in sick-leave rules, an issue likely to be raised in teacher contract negotiations this fall. The policy no longer allows teachers to bank sick days until retirement, which some have said resulted in more sick days being used during the year.

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