OTTAWA – For the first time in its history, a sitting Prime Minister has addressed the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) Board of Directors in Ottawa. The CTF teacher leaders of 16 teacher organizations from across Canada welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to their meeting at their national office today, on his six-month anniversary of being elected to power.

“We appreciated his openness and insightful perspective on the challenges faced by teacher colleagues and in public education today,” says CTF President Heather Smith. “The Prime Minister acknowledged his first career as a teacher and his passion for social justice especially in the context of public education.

“We were also heartened when he expressed concern about the previous government’s cuts that ended support for CTF’s international cooperation program which involves Canadian teachers in professional development and capacity building partnerships with teacher organizations in developing countries.

“CTF Board members asked him very specific questions about student mental health and wellbeing; ending child poverty; seeking an education exemption in the TPP; and ensuring quality education for all indigenous children and youth,” says Smith.

As a token of appreciation Smith presented him with a special T-shirt that recognizes his leadership skills both in the classroom and in Canada. It reads “I Teach. I Lead. Une classe. Un pays.”