Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I feel, Mr. Speaker, that it is important for us to speak about reports that are issued by this government and especially when we do extensive community consultations. I feel that it is important for us as MLAs to address them and the questions in the House so that
there is public clarification on this. Mr. Speaker, yesterday I dealt with pupil/teacher ratios and resources to deliver new programs in relationship to the report on the Minister's Forum of Education.
Today I want to speak on teacher recruitment and retention. The Budget Address, which Mr. Dent announced the other day, provided for $3 million for a strategy to retain and attract health care workers. As in the health care area, we face a potential similar problem in the education field. Health has become a focal point and it is certainly needed, there is no question about that, but we must also address the education issues. Mr. Speaker, the 1990s have not been kind and good to teachers because there have been rollbacks of salaries and benefits and there are pressures to deliver more programs with fewer dollars. Like nurses, we face a similar potential shortage in teachers.
The Canadian Teachers Federation sees teacher shortages as the biggest issue facing the profession. It is not restricted to Canada. Great Britain has set up offices in various countries to recruit teachers including one in Canada. Nova Scotia graduates are being attracted to the United States, Great Britain, Asia and the Middle East. The forecasts indicate that there is going to be a very serious teacher shortage in Ontario. There is a supply and demand gap coming. Teachers are retiring, the forecast indicates 25 percent in four years and 50 percent in the next eight years. These are very serious implications for us here in the north, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to later, during question period, address some questions to the Minister about teacher retention and attraction. Thank you.