Some Ontario teachers are refusing work over COVID-19 safety concerns

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Some Ontario teachers are refusing work over COVID-19 safety concerns now that in-person classes have resumed with less information about virus cases.

Work refusals are taken by individuals workers when they feel unsafe on the job.

The Labour Ministry says investigators looked into 11 work refusals initiated last week at Ontario schools in Peel, Toronto, Hamilton-Wentworth and Simcoe County boards.

Five of them were resolved as of Monday and a spokeswoman said issues involved safety precautions like physical distancing and contact tracing.

The province has stopped reporting data about COVID-19 cases in schools after changing its virus testing policy, and teachers say that's one of the things making them feel less safe at work.

Brampton teacher Mary Fraser-Hamilton says she refused last week because she was didn't have clarity on her school's ventilation system.

She was also concerned about student masking standards but says labour inspectors didn't find student-related issues relevant to her safety as a worker.