one day strike ontario

High schools closed across Toronto as teachers go on strike

After four days at the bargaining table, teachers and education workers represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) will be following through with a province-wide walkout today.

According to OSSTF, negotiating teams remained at the bargaining table until midnight last night, but an agreement was not reached with the Ontario Government.

Teachers have been without a contract since August.

"After four consecutive days at the bargaining table, during which the government advanced not one proposal addressing major issues that affect the quality of education in Ontario, teachers and education workers represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation began a one day, province-wide walkout at one minute after midnight this morning,"said the organization in a statement. 

It is expected the one-day strike will close a number of secondary schools across the province, as most services will be withdrawn from schools.

According to the union, the main issues in the dispute are government plans to increase class sizes and introduce mandatory e-learning courses.

But according to the government, the issue seems to be compensation. 

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in a news conference late last night that the strike would be "needless escalation," and that it is "irresponsible" for the members to not try to bridge the gap at the table.

"Our government has remained reasonable at the negotiating table, with the objective of keeping students in class," Lecce said.

Many of the province's largest school boards will be forced to close high schools due to the job action.

The Toronto District School Board and the Peel District School Board, west of Toronto, have confirmed their secondary schools, Grades 9 to 12, will be closed to students today.

Some schools where the OSSTF also represents education workers, such as early childhood educators and educational assistants, will close both high schools and elementary schools due to the one day strike.

Teachers and education workers will be participating in information pickets throughout the city today. OSSTF say they are hearing from parents and the public who are ready to join them on the picket lines.

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