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Quebec’s education minister admits scarcity of teachers represents challenge for 2020

The hearings for Bill 40 are underway at Quebec's national assembly.
The hearings for Bill 40 are underway at Quebec's national assembly. Jean-Vincent Verville/Global News

Quebec’s education minister said one of the biggest challenges facing the province’s education system is a shortage of teachers in 2020, as the hearings into Bill 40 resumed on Tuesday.

Jean-François Roberge admitted it could take “a few years” before schools have enough teachers to fill their classrooms. Earlier in the school year, he said the scarcity of teachers is particularly acute in Montreal and Laval.

The remarks come as the Quebec government resumes hearings into its proposed legislation to reform the province’s education system.

READ MORE: Education Minister Jean-François Roberge says many anglophones in favour of CAQ government

Bill 40 would eliminate school boards and replace them with service centres administered by a board of directors comprised of parents, community members and staff.

Alain Fortier, president of the Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec, was present at the hearings at the national assembly. He described Roberge’s proposed overhaul as an “extremely bad bill.”

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“We are asking the minister to stop it,” he said.

READ MORE: Bill 40 under fire as public hearings into Quebec’s education reform begin

While Fortier disagrees with the province’s plan, he is holding out hope that Roberge will take into account stakeholders’ perspectives.

“He said he’s going to listen and work with us… instead of against us,” he said.

In December, more than a dozen groups within the education sector and unions called on Roberge to delay the adoption of the bill until more consultations are held about the future of schools and public education.

— With files from the Canadian Press