November 19, 2014 3:28 pm

Minister Sandals walks away when grilled about AG education report

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TORONTO – Education Minister Liz Sandals walked away from reporters Wednesday who were asking questions about the cost of renegotiating teachers’ contracts in Ontario.

The auditor general released a report Wednesday that concluded reopening the teachers’ contracts in 2013 cost the provincial taxpayers approximately $468 million.

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“The auditor said that the bottom line was that our estimates were accurate and that we saved $2.1 billion in savings for the taxpayers of Ontario,” Sandals told reporters at Queen’s Park. “I think this is a good news story.”But Sandals walked away when reporters began asking if the additional costs had any political motivation.

The report confirmed the changes made to teachers’ ability to bank sick days and cash them out upon retirement mode would amount to $2.1 billion in savings. However, those savings were reduced by changes to sick leave, retirement benefits as well as more professional development days and increased maternity leave – which took $355 million away from the $2.1 billion. Eliminating differences between teachers’ unions stripped another $113 million from the savings.

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