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NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – Educational Assistants (EAs), working for Niagara’s public and catholic school boards, say the lack of adequate provincial funding, resources and policy supports for special education, makes it difficult for them to meet the high needs of hundreds of special needs students in the region, and exposes them to health and safety risks on the job.

Gaps in provincial funding have resulted in cuts to the time EAs are able to spend in the classroom supporting special needs students. The shortened workday has created untenable workloads that, coupled with the needs of students with severe physical and behavioural challenges, exposes EAs to injury, abuse and burnout.

EAs who work for the District School Board of Niagara and the Niagara Catholic District School Board will be joined by Sid Ryan, the Ontario President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) at a media conference focused on what the Ontario Liberals must change to provide quality supports for special needs students and improve working conditions for EAs.

WHO: Niagara area educational assistants CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan

WHAT: Media Conference Improving Special Education What the Ontario Liberals Must Change

WHERE: CUPE 4156 Office 2601 Hwy 20 East – Unit 4 Fonthill, Ont.

WHEN: Tuesday, January 30, 2007 – 2:30 p.m.

At 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Ryan will be the guest speaker at a special meeting of Niagara area special education workers scheduled at Holy Rosary Hall, 35 Queen Street, Thorold.

CUPE represents nearly 700 EAs in the Niagara Region and 17,000 EAs province-wide.

For further information, please contact:

Sid Ryan
President, CUPE Ontario
(416) 209-0066

Frank Ventresca
President, CUPE 4156
(905) 932-6884

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774