Jeff Burch MPP, Niagara Centre

Government of Ontario

Burch: Ford government needs to make decisions based on evidence – not make evidence based on their decisions

Published on September 24, 2020

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Jeff Burch (Niagara Centre) was at the Ontario legislature this week to urge the Minister of Education to follow the evidence and cap class sizes at 15 students, following an outcry from parents in Niagara. Burch shared the story of a local parent, Angela Gamsby, whose two children attend elementary school in Port Colborne. 
“Angela is a front-line health care worker and unable to keep her children home from school because she is busy being a hero at work. Her son’s class has 29 students. Her daughter’s has 28 students. The Kindergarten class has 30 kids in one classroom,” said Burch during question period Thursday.  “Will the Minister listen to the people in Niagara and across Ontario, stop fudging the numbers, and commit to keeping our children safe by capping class sizes at 15 students?” Burch asked the Minister of Education. 
Burch told the education minister that the Niagara Public Health pandemic hotline has been overwhelmed with parents concerned about their children's safety. Yet, the Minister appeared unconcerned with the growing number of cases in our schools.
“No one knows where this minister is getting his numbers from. If we’re going to keep our kids safe, the government needs to make decisions based on evidence – not make evidence based on their decisions. Just this week, a high school in Niagara, Eastdale Secondary School in Welland, declared an outbreak,” 
“This minister and this government had a chance to do the right thing last week and vote with us to cap class sizes at 15. They chose not to. My constituents are telling me that they trusted this government to keep their children safe, and this government has let them down.”
Why is this Minister unwilling and unprepared to solve this crisis in our classrooms?,” asked Burch.