Quebec teachers push back over funding ahead of talks

Quebec teachers are calling on the province to ramp up its spending on education, saying the commitment made in the government's latest economic update doesn't go far enough.

Province says it will re-invest $100 million into education in coming months

Quebec school teachers have been protesting this year against what they argue is a lack of funding for education. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Quebec teachers are calling on the province to ramp up its spending on education, saying the commitment made in the government's latest economic update doesn't go far enough.

"We need real investment. We want to hear what that investment will be," Richard Goldfinch, the president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers, said alongside fellow union leaders in Quebec City. 

On Thursday, Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said the government will re-invest $100 million in education over the coming months: $20 million this fiscal year and an additional $80 million annually, beginning in 2016-2017.

Those amounts represent an increase in education spending of just 0.12 per cent for the rest of this fiscal year and 0.5 per cent next year. 

The finance minister made it clear that the new spending will go to front-line services for students most in need – and not to teachers' salaries.

'Rethink your stance'

Teachers, who have been already been on strike for several days so far this school year, have been without a contract since last April.

Goldfinch said the teachers' fight is about more than their own salaries.

"We're saying to the province, rethink your stance, your austerity measures," Goldfinch said.

"Parents have joined us in many human chains across the province."

Talks between teachers and the province are planned for the weekend.

Another strike day is planned for Dec. 9.


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