Education Minister Liz Sandals says talks with the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario have halted.
In a statement released Saturday, Sandals said there had been been some progress in talks, but the negotiations were put on hold to look over some remaining issues.
She says ETFO has not specified how long the negotiations would be on hiatus.
Sandals also said she was disappointed, saying “Although we were prepared to work through the weekend, the ETFO has advised they need some time to consult on the remaining issues. They have not indicated when they will return to the bargaining table.”
Later Saturday, the ETFO responded to Sandals. “Talks were not suspended, contrary to what the Minister of Education has inferred today,” ETFO President Sam Hammond issued in a statement, “ETFO was prepared to bargain today if OPSBA and the government could develop a revised proposal addressing our concerns. Although we waited all day, they were not able to do that.”
“This is the nature of bargaining and it is not helpful to have the Minister of Education making statements to the media that portray the process as other than what it is,” added Hammond.
The ETFO represents 78,000 elementary public school teachers and workers in Ontario.
Elementary teachers have been without a contract for over a year, and have been under a work-to-rule strike since May. The second phase of the campaign was launched last month at the beginning of the school year.
Under the work to rule, teachers are not participating in field trips or school fundraising. They are also not performing some administrative duties, including collecting or distributing paperwork to students on behalf of the schools or school boards.