Rob Hammond, President of the Near North Elementary Teachers Union is not on board with the revoked Regulation 274.

“It takes away the transparency in the hiring process. We have been asking for that for years to avoid nepotism which a lot of the school boards do have,” Hammond said.

The Ontario government announced on Thursday that it will be revoking Regulation 274 which ensures that teachers in the province be hired based on seniority.

Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Education Minister says that the revoked rule will allow for the teachers best suited for each job to be hired, while also allowing schools to fill vacancies quicker.

Regulation 274 was originally filed in 2012. Hammond admits that the rule wasn’t perfect, but still necessary.

“There were definitely flaws in the language but it was a good start. It was a really good idea to put in. So the idea was to massage it and make it better instead of scrapping it,” he said. “It allowed for teachers who had a lot of experience with seniority in teaching within the board to have the opportunity to get hired permanently.”

Now, Hammond fears that the teachers who have put in years of occasional teaching will not be adequately considered for open positions.

“We may have some who have been working for a long time and a kid right out of university has the right connections they get the job and the other person who has been working LTO’s (long term occasionals),” Hammond noted.

According to David Piccini, a member of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs as well as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Colleges and Universities, an interim provincial policy will establish a fair and transparent process.

“The policy will set out clear conflict of interest rules to avoid favouritism. People can’t hire buddies or family members. It’s not going to happen. This will enable boards to consider teachers’ experience, skill sets, backgrounds, and a variety of work experience valuable to specific positions. For too long, newer younger teachers have been left behind. We feel that they deserve equal opportunities for progression and that’s what it’s going to do.”

Just because school boards are not obligated to hire based on seniority, Piccini says that it will still be considered.

“I think we will maintain consideration of seniority in the interviewing process with exemptions of the things mentioned before. Ultimately, our boards and administrators want to ensure the best teacher at the front of the classroom. Obviously, experience gained year over year is so valuable,” finished Piccini.