Safety on the Job Means Rejecting a 'Business as Usual' Philosophy

TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - Elementary teachers join in the National Day of Mourning on April 28th to commemorate workers whose lives have been lost or who have been injured in the workplace and in the movement to increase safety on the job for all workers.

Safety in the school workplace is a growing concern for many elementary teachers. These school employees are experiencing aggressive behaviour, in the form of harassment, bullying, and physical violence, on almost a daily basis.

"These experiences should not be part of the day-to-day jobs of teachers," stresses Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario President Sam Hammond.

All school boards across Ontario must be in compliance with the provisions of 'Bill 168, Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act, 2009' by June 15, 2010, notes Hammond.

The provisions require employers to implement policies and procedures to address workplace violence and harassment. ETFO welcomes the requirement for school boards to document incidents of workplace violence. This means that school boards will be required to document student violent behaviour more systematically and consistently on the Ontario Student Record.

"Currently we are seeing a real lack of concerted effort in the creation of new anti harassment and violence programs. As well, some Boards seem to think they can't share information about certain students who pose a risk of physical injury. The law is very clear on this point. There are no exceptions," said Hammond.

"We are educating our members and local leaders on the issue and will be carefully monitoring school board policies and programs to ensure compliance by June 15 and to ensure it will not be 'business as usual'," Hammond said.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education workers across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

SOURCE Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information: For further information: Sam Hammond, President, ETFO, (416) 962-3836 (office); Larry Skory, ETFO Communications, (416) 948-0195 (cell), (416) 962-3836 (Office)

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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