The unresolved contractual dispute between the Ministry of Education and the CUPE-
represented, non-teaching, education workers of the province breathes more life into the
proposition that the education funding structure in Ontario is anachronistic and in need of
In an article published last week in The Hub, Brian Dijkema, vice president, external affairs of
Cardus, provides a digest-like primer of the legal and societal issues at play in the conflict.
Dijkema points out that there have been over 100 education strikes in Ontario since 1975.
Without derogating in any manner from the historic societal importance of collective bargaining
rights or from the imperative of governments to wisely manage taxpayers’ monies, it is not
unreasonable to conclude that Ontario’s current education structure is not working in the best
interests of the wide diversity of all Ontario families. Dijkema implies that in these recurring
contractual disputes, the collateral damage falls upon parents and the children.
Dijkema identifies the structural flaw within the province’s education structure that leads to the
sector’s predictably cyclical industrial strife. “Governments of all stripes have increasingly
centralized Ontario’s education system over the years. This leaves it at the mercy of province-
wide labour disruptions. By building what is effectively a centrally controlled monopoly on
education provision, the government itself is to blame for the concentration of the power it
decries. It has the power to reshape the system. It has failed to distribute that power within the
Of course, he also suggests how the government can reshape the current system. “A more
pluralist educational system—which gives various school options to families—would act as a
check on strikes. An education system that had a range of provincially regulated and funded
independent and public school board options would distribute power and place the balance
of power in the hands of those who are currently powerless: parents. It would also remove
significant parts of education, from the sphere of the state, and into the realm of civil society
where it appropriately belongs.”
Dijkema’s prescription makes a great deal of sense. It is time for Ontario to also provide funding
to independent schools. That is the substantively appropriate thing to do. It is also the fair and
equitable thing to do.
Dijkema’s article is available at:
If you wish to contribute to GAJE’s lawsuit for fairness in educational funding, please click here.
For further information, please contact Israel Mida at: firstname.lastname@example.orgCharitable
receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your
donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.
Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)
November 18, 2022