Education Minister Liz Sandals says she’s optimistic that an agreement can be reached with the majority of Ontario’s teachers unions before classes resume this fall.
She says talks have already resumed with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers, and are set to start next week with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation. She also says they’re working to get back to the table with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation about finding common ground for a resumption of negotiations.
Sandals told reporters, “In most cases we’ve actually had a lot of bargaining that’s gone on . . . in many cases there are a lot of issues that have already been resolved.”
She is still warning the big four unions that they can’t unilaterally decide what job actions to take take if there are no deals when school resumes and call it a work-to-rule campaign.
“We’re disappointed and frustrated with how long it has taken, we’ve been a full year without a contract. We’re really hopeful that we’ll manage to avoid any disruptions.”
All the unions will soon be in legal strike positions. She also says refusing to administer standardized tests – one of the possible actions teachers have threatened – is a “strike action.”
Other labour actions they’ve proposed include refusing to supervise extracurricular activities or participate in parent-teachers meetings.
The unions represent around 115,000 teachers in Ontario. All contracts for all Ontario teachers expired last August. All of the teachers unions in Ontario say there will be some sort of labour action come September if there is no deal in place.