A union representing supply teachers in Ottawa doesn't agree with a plan to bring in more occasional teachers because it says there isn't enough work for everyone.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board is looking for more candidates to place on its list of occasional teachers for elementary schools, which principals use when they need to call in a replacement teacher.

To make up for attrition over the summer, the board is looking to add about 100 people to its list of less than 1,400 occasional elementary teachers.

But the Ottawa-Carleton Elementary Occasional Teachers Association said a big list forces some teachers to find part-time work elsewhere, which can then make them unavailable for teaching shifts.

"I think that the number on the … list is too many, and I'd like to see the list shrink through attrition," said Dave Wildman, president of the association.

"I know right now, many occasional teachers have to hold other jobs to make ends meet and therefore aren't available all the time, so we run into a bit of a catch 22."

Board trying to avoid shortage of supply teachers

Wildman said occasional teachers who are already on the list shouldn't be losing hours to help new graduates make the list.

"I understand that there are a lot of new grads who are coming out and would like to have a position ... But the hiring situation in Ontario has not been a secret," Wildman said. "Those people knew when they went to university that there weren't very many openings."

Janice McCoy, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board's superintendent of human resources, said the board is trying to avoid having problems bringing in enough supply teachers, which happened last year.

"It's part of that balancing act of what is the right number of occasional teachers to have on the list. Our priority is ensuring that we're meeting the needs of our schools when they need occasional teachers," McCoy said.

"We have peaks and valleys in terms of our needs. What we did realize as we were coming to the end of last year though is that, we did need to look at opening it up, particularly in some areas."