Teachers' fight costing Ottawa businesses

The boycott of some extra-curricular activities, including field trips and sports teams, is putting some Ottawa businesses in the red as they count on students to reach their bottom line.

Ottawa-area businesses are losing money after some teachers stopped leading extra-curricular activities, including field trips, as well as sports teams.

School bus companies are taking the hit because, besides transporting students to and from school, the day-trips have disappeared after teachers responded to a provincial bill that froze their salaries, among other drawbacks.

Ron Grenier says Stock Transportation's bus drivers are working far fewer hours due to the teachers' boycott of some extra-curricular activities. (CBC)

Ron Grenier, the charter co-ordinator for Stock Transportation in Ottawa, says his company lost $45,000 in September alone, which amounts to 50 per cent of its monthly charter revenues.

There are fewer school buses taking students on field trips, charter trips out of town and sports activities, he added.

"I don't like it. I understand what they are doing but I don't appreciate it," he said.

There are not going to be layoffs, Grenier assured, but drivers are working fewer hours and losing money in the process.

"Some of them, it's a matter of $45 a week and some drivers it's $200 to $300 a week ... it's paying their rent or buying their food," he said.

Grenier also said the absence of NHL hockey will take even more school buses off the roads as Stock supplies buses to restaurants as shuttles to the games.

Farmers lose more business

Unions representing teachers have said arranging field trips are done only on a voluntary basis. At some schools, there have not been any trips this year.

The co-owner of Acorn Creek Garden Farm in Carp, in Ottawa' western edge, said school tours are down 40 per cent and he lost $4,000 through September.

Andy Terauds, who is also heavily involved in the Ottawa Farmers Market, said each fall between 700 and 1,000 students visit his farm for his vegetables.

The bigger drawback from the teachers' job action, he said, is losing both parents and kids as future customers.

"If they don't know what a local product tastes like, they're going to think a Brussels sprout tastes like the ones in stores," he said.