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Thousands of teachers, students and union leaders gathered on the front lawn at Queen’s Park to protest the Ford government’s education cuts on Saturday, April 6, 2019. (Jack Boland/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network) TORONTO — Five unions, representing education workers across Ontario, have organized a rally at Queen’s Park to protest the government’s changes to the province’s education system.

The labour groups say they plan to call on the Progressive Conservatives “to make investments, not cuts, to public education.”

They say thousands of people are expected to attend, and more than 170 buses are bringing teachers to the rally from as far away as Sudbury, Ont.

The event follows mass student walkouts that took place across Ontario on Thursday. Thousands of teachers, students and union leaders gathered on the front lawn at Queen’s Park to protest the Ford government’s education cuts on Saturday, April 6, 2019. (Jack Boland/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network) The Tories under Premier Doug Ford have come under fire for recent changes including increasing class sizes, making students take more online courses and overhauling the province’s autism program.

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In a statement Friday, Education Minister Lisa Thompson said the government would not be “distracted by union tactics” such as protests and rallies.

“The fact is that Ontario’s teacher unions have been handed control of the education system for the past 15 years,” Thompson said.

“Despite what unions say, their priority has not been student success and as a result our province’s math scores are dropping and our students find themselves falling further and further behind.”

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