KITCHENER -- The province has opened booking for its math proficiency test, something that all new and incoming teachers will need to pass in order to teach.

"A minimum 70 per cent proficiency demonstrates that all teachers, regardless of the grade of subject taught, understand a continuum of fundamental pedagogy and math content knowledge," read a statement from a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education.

The test is based on math curriculum for Grades 3 through 9, according to the ministry.

"I've got five or six former EQAO tests to printed off to practice for this week," said WRDSB teacher Emily Maw.

However, the province's rollout is being criticized as teachers and recent graduates say they were given little notice that testing would begin May 10 and run until Aug. 31.

"I like the idea of improving teacher's ability to do math, but I think this has to be re-thought," said teacher candidate Cameron Hall.

"It was a very confusing situation, not a lot of people knew it was open," explained Sara Penner, member of the Ontario Teacher Candidates' Council.

Candidates will be  given three attempts to pass the test within that period, but booking was quickly overloaded.

"There are such limited spots for the test, just for the first one, there's questions of whether or not teachers will have the opportunity to do the re-test," explained NDP MPP for Kitchener Centre Laura Mae Lindo.

The ministry said that there is a waitlist teachers can join and more slots will continue to be added as needed.

However, some question if now is the right time given the pandemic and a teacher shortage.

"For a couple of school boards that I have worked for, and am working for, we need teachers so badly," said Jennifer Daniells, who holds positions with both the UGDSB and the WRDSB.

Teachers risk losing their certification and job opportunities if the test is not completed in time.

"Which adds a lot more difficulty and stress to an already stressful time for everyone," explained Hall.