Students at a Vaughan high school are protesting the loss of extracurricular activities stemming from an ongoing labour dispute between teachers and the Ontario government.
The majority of fall sports at Stephen Lewis Secondary School have been cancelled after teachers vowed to stop supervising extracurricular activities in response to the province’s move to legislate a freeze of their pay.
A bill passed in the Ontario legislature this week that imposes a wage freeze on teachers and bans any strike action for two years.
In response to the bill, unions representing both high-school and elementary school teachers have asked their members to withdraw from voluntary duties outside the classroom, such as coaching sports teams and supervising events.
That prompted students at Stephen Lewis Secondary School to stage an impromptu outdoor protest during lunch hour Thursday after learning their school would not field teams in a variety of sports.
CBC’s Marivel Taruc spoke to students on Thursday and said many are angry at the loss of activities they say are a crucial part of their education.
“There’s no prom, no sports and I live for them,” said student Nicole Tomasov, 17.
She said many students are worried that missing extracurricular activities might affect their chances at university admission.
“On university applications, they look at that,” said Tomasov. “If I'm tied with another student with the same marks, extracurricular activities could make or break it for me.”
Some activities, including an after-school soccer practice, were going ahead on Thursday but with students coaching themselves.
The students are planning another lunch-hour gathering for Friday, this time to show support for the teachers.