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The cuts to education made by Doug Ford's government have recently begun to show that they will be eliminating and compromising multiple essential courses, accommodations, resources and now teachers and staff members in Ontario schools. This is happening in schools across the province, despite Education Minister Lisa Thompson's statement in April of this year in which she claimed “Most importantly, our plan ensures that ... no teachers will be laid off". At the Etobicoke School of the Arts, Michel Charbonneau, our theatre technician, and Michael Vieira, our resident accompanist, play crucial roles in the success of our school and art programs. The two of them spend countless extra hours, in and out of school; Michel with managing all the lighting and sound cues for every single one of our auditorium shows (of which we have more than 10 every year) and staying for every late night rehearsal, and Michael Vieira with playing piano for every single vocal warmup, vocal coaching, individual song performance, class vocal rehearsal, SPLASH show choir rehearsal for 6+ hours each week along with spending many hours outside of school creating and fixing instrumental tracks for performances. Mr. Vieira's job has been put on the line before, and the students, as well as our beloved music theatre teacher and SPLASH director Paul Aikins who has recently passed away just over a week ago, refused to let it happen. Not only does it make it so much more crucial to listen to the students now that we are without the support of Mr. Aikins, but the grieving that our entire school community is facing shows that we cannot suffer yet another loss to our music theatre department, and our entire school. Without these two dedicated and unbelievably talented staff members, the shows and programs that make ESA so distinct and successful would not be able to run. These shows and programs, such as the annual musical, the "Because I am a Girl" fundraiser, our award-winning SPLASH show choir,  give students the opportunity to speak up, express themselves, have a platform and gain hands-on experience in the performing arts, on the stage and behind the scenes. As well, Michel and Mr. Vieira regularly work one-on-one with students to pass on invaluable lessons of how to work lighting and sound for shows, arrange music and instrumental tracks, read sheet music, perfect their craft and much more. This not only helps students get into universities and specialized post-secondary art programs, but also hone their craft and carry incredibly useful knowledge with them for the rest of their lives. We can not stand to lose these incredibly important and committed people from our school and community.

We, the undersigned, call on the education policy-makers to stop Michel Charbonneau and Michael Vieira from losing their jobs at the Etobicoke School of the Arts- to the success of which they are absolutely essential.