LegalWills is offering Ontario education workers free wills and Health Care Power of Attorney documents in August as debate continues over how to reopen schools safely in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic. This is to say the pandemic has caused a slow down in the educational system. We wanted to do our part to support the education workers who are returning to school and risking their own health and safety during these uncertain times, as propounded by the Estate Planning Chief Executive Officer and co founder, as he said the pandemic has a great effects on the educational system, its staff, and our children.
Estate planning company has set up a website for workers to apply for the services, with the promotion extended to any education worker that is employed within a school, including principals, librarians, teachers, educational assistants, office administrators and custodial staff.
LegalWills also offered frontline health care workers similar services free of charge earlier in the summer. However Hewson admitted, It is a little bit polarizing, but this is the service we offer, we have a will service. This is what we can do for people we can give it to them for free, if it doesn’t sit right with you then sorry, but we have had 99 per cent of people thanking us for the offer and ofcours more of companies are preparing wills in regards.
How the education system works in Ontario
Publicly funded education is divided into three stages which are the childhood education, for children from birth to age 6; elementary school, for students from kindergarten to grade 8; and secondary school, for students from grade 9 to 12.
There are four types of school boards in Ontario. Under section 93 of the Constitution, Roman Catholics have the right to a publicly funded separate denominational school system, and French-speaking families have the right to attend French-language schools. Depending on their language, religious background or choice, students can attend English Public, English Catholic, French Public, or French Catholic schools.
I have had a lot of conversations with colleagues and friends over the past several weeks, we have been exchanging names of legal firms and lawyers, I think the circumstances right now are making this a lot more urgent for people, one of the big concerns he has as September approaches is about the physical space where he’ll be working and the safety of it.
Where I teach, my classroom is in a wing of a school that was built in the 60s. It’s recycled air. I have great big windows but they don’t open, some of the people in my section don’t even have windows at all and I’ve had respiratory issues. I wrote my will just to have it safe because I had the fear, just like many people, of getting the coronavirus. But Banerji added the promotion may unnecessarily heighten anxiety among the education community. I think it feeds into the fear that many teachers have about going back to school that there is a higher probability of them dying than is really the case, there are many unknowns about the impact reopening schools will have, but the concern, however, needs to be balanced rationally. The teacher is at some risk of getting infected. I think that is a possibility for sure, but as we know more about coronavirus, if they are otherwise healthy, then most of them will have not severe symptoms.
There probably will be a small percentage of them that will have more long-term symptoms, and the ones that have underlying chronic diseases or comorbidities or older age they are at higher risk. I think everyone should have a will, if members can take the opportunity to have that in place, great. However, I think this is somewhat of a fatalistic view.
Before we start writing wills, we need to put pens to paper writing MPPs, writing letters to the editors, writing our trustees in the hopes the government will provide the funding needed to make this a safe reopening. The Ontario government has committed $309 million in new funding for September’s reopening. Enhanced measures include masking for students in grades 4 to 12, additional staffing, extra cleaning supplies, health and safety training and more.
This concern and anxiety is piquing because the government has not put in place the kind of supports Ontarians, not just education workers, but parents too are looking for, the government is not taking those concerns seriously, they would have not have introduced the kind of bargain basement plan if they were taking seriously the concern of families. I think the government is banking on people keeping their kids home — that is not an option for so many families.
If you would like to learn more about the necessity of estate planning, any one of our estate planning attorneys would be happy to assist you.