April 8, 2019 6:10 pm

Out-of-work Ontario teachers ‘more than welcome’ in B.C.: education minister

Thousands of union members gathered at Queen's Park on Saturday to protest the Ford government's cuts to education.

Matthew Bingley / Global News

British Columbia’s minister of education says the door is wide open for Ontario teachers seeking a job in the wake of Premier Doug Ford’s education cuts.

A memo from the Ontario Ministry of Education revealed last week that the province hoped to save $851 million over the next four years by eliminating 3,475 full-time teaching positions.

READ MORE: Ontario to lose 3,475 full-time teachers over 4 years — ministry memo

On Monday, it was also revealed that as many as 1,000 Toronto high school teachers have had their positions declared “surplus.”

“Anyone from Ontario who finds themselves looking at a B.C. school district that might be hiring today is more than welcome,” said B.C. Education Minister Rob Fleming.

WATCH: Ontario teachers to lose 3,475 full-time jobs over next 4 years — ministry memo

B.C. has faced staffing shortages since a Supreme Court of Canada ruling ordered the province to hire more than 3,500 teachers to restore class sizes to 2002 levels.

In September, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation said another 300 teachers were still needed across the province.

READ MORE: Nearly 300 teachers still needed across the province: BCTF

WATCH: Education students worry about Ford government teacher cuts

Fleming said the province has been conducting recruitment efforts in Ontario and in 2018 saw an 85 per cent increase in applications from Ontario teachers compared to seven or eight years ago.

“We’ve been in Ontario already for the last couple of years. I note that 10 districts — both urban, suburban, rural, large and small districts — will be at a teaching job fair in Ontario at the end of this month,” Fleming said.

“Obviously, we’re going in a vastly different direction than Ontario is; we’re reducing class sizes here.”

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