Ontario teacher shortage looming, educators warn

Just three years after the Ontario government cut teachers college enrolment in half, the province may be heading toward a teacher shortage.

“We’re seeing a reduction in oversupply and that’s going to continue.” warned Richard Barwell, the dean of education at the University of Ottawa.

“I think there could be a shortage in a few years.”

In 2015, the Ontario government cut enrolment at teachers colleges by more than half, with the number of graduates dropping from 12,399 in 2015 to 5,480 by 2018.

The Liberal government also extended the programs to two years from one in a bid to stem more than a decade of bleak job prospects for teacher grads, with many choosing to leave the province or abandon the profession altogether to avoid languishing on supply lists.

“[That change is] providing a chance for the pool of teachers to get absorbed,” Barwell said.

“That’s what’s happening now, but we need to think ahead. Once they’re all absorbed, what are we going to do?”

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