Strikes to continue in Ontario as dispute with teachers shows no signs of ending
Widespread walkouts are planned across Ontario this week as negotiations between teacher's unions and the province continue to break down.
The three biggest teacher's unions in the province have planned strikes that will impact most of the GTA’s school boards this week, including the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.
In a news release Friday, ETFO President Sam Hammond said mediated discussions between the union, school board associations and the Ford government, which had resumed on January 29, broke down late Friday.
NEW: talks have broken off between @ETFOeducators and province. @Sflecce says— Kristin Rushowy (@krushowy) February 1, 2020
“While the mediator has called off discussions for now, the Government stands ready to meet at any time, to reach a deal that keeps students in class.” #onted #onpoli
"ETFO made every effort over the past three days to move negotiations forward but it became increasingly clear that the Ford government was not willing to address key issues in any meaningful way," Hammond said in the statement.
"For example, the government wants to reduce funding to support the learning needs of special education students, and it wants ETFO to agree to those cuts at the bargaining table. We can’t do that."
Meanwhile, Premier Ford told CP24 he believes most teachers don't really want to strike and that union bosses are pressuring teachers into it — although an overwhelming majority of teachers in all three unions voted for strike action.
ETFO is #RedforEd and standing firm to tell the Ford govt we can not accept education cuts.— Elementary Educators (@ETFOeducators) January 31, 2020
We seek removal of cuts, increase supports for students with special needs, to preserve Kindergarten and maintain fair transparent hiring - this is why there's an #ETFOstrike. #onpoli pic.twitter.com/mLhn9ZD8MX
In a news release announcing intentions to strike on February 4, OSSTF President Harvey Bischof said pending job actions could easily be postponed if the government were to agree to return to, and maintain, the class size ratios and staffing levels that were in place in Ontario schools just one year ago.
"OSSTF/FEESO members are not the only ones who understand the enormity of the damage that will ensue if this government’s education agenda is allowed to unfold," Bischof said.
"It is now clear from multiple polls, and even from the government’s own public consultations, that a significant majority of Ontarians recognize the folly of larger classes, diminished supports, mandatory online learning, and fewer course options for the province’s students."
Parents, students, & ed workers want #NoCutsToEducation but, the gov't & @sflecce won't listen. Their pursuit of cuts has them backed into a corner.#OSSTF's proposals are reasonable & protect Ontario's publicly-funded ed system. Tell your MPP to reverse the cuts.#onpoli #onted pic.twitter.com/CoV78dmdF7— OSSTF Communications (@osstf) February 1, 2020
Seven Ontario school boards that are a part of the ETFO are on strike today, and ten more ETFO school boards will hold walkouts Tuesday.
All Catholic elementary and secondary schools in the province will also shut down Tuesday for a one-day strike as well as 10 school boards in the OSSTF.
On Wednesday, nine ETFO school boards outside the GTA will hold another strike before every English public elementary school in the province shuts down Thursday.
And Friday, members of nine more ETFO school boards, including the TDSB, will walk off the job once again.
Join the conversation Load comments