Retired teachers called on to return to classrooms as pandemic worsens shortage

Doug Ford Stephen Lecce

TORONTO — The agency that oversees teachers in Ontario is calling on retirees to return to the classroom.

The Ontario College of Teachers sent a letter this week to retired teachers and those whose licences have been suspended due to non-payment, urging them to get reinstated.

The letter says the province is facing a shortage of certified teachers that’s been “magnified” by measures aimed at fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, such as smaller class sizes and online learning.

A spokeswoman for the college says it also reached out to newly licensed teachers and others without current jobs, encouraging them to apply.

Gabrielle Barkany says it’s an opportunity for qualified teachers to provide “critical support to elementary and secondary students in Ontario at this critical time.”

Earlier this week, Canada’s largest school board said it was drawing on its pool of supply teachers as it rushed to meet a surge in demand for online learning.

The Toronto District School Board said it hired 300 teachers on Monday and was working Tuesday to bring on another 100 to 150 to fulfil its staffing needs for virtual elementary school classes.