There are threats and counter threats coming from all sides in the current education dispute. People want to know what it all means.
Are all the teachers going on strike?
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) says that on December 10, they will begin a series of one-day strikes (full withdrawal of services) in the province’s 31 English public school boards.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) has taken strike votes and announced a withdrawal of services and extra curricular activities, but no plans for a full strike.
The provincial executive of the English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) signed on to an agreement with the province, but local Catholic teachers have been unable to reach agreements with their boards. There have been strike votes in some Catholic boards, but none have threatened actual strikes yet.
ETFO says its members will now begin to “work to rule.” What does that mean?
When teachers work to rule, they fulfill their classroom duties but nothing more; this includes no field trips, no school team meetings and no extra-curricular activities. Working to rule is a form of strike action and cannot continue after contracts are imposed. Many OSSTF locals have begun “job actions” which have a similar effect. Click here to learn more.
How many boards have settled with their teachers?
So far, only one board – the Upper Grand District School Board – has ratified (negotiated and voted on) a settlement with its high school teachers. No other boards in the province – English, Catholic or French – have reached ratified agreements with their teachers.
What’s going to happen next?
There are three possible scenarios:
- All the public boards have one-day strikes and then the Minister legislates them all back to work
- The Minister preemptively bans the right to strike before the strikes happen (a power she has under the new law).
- The Minister allows a variety of local job actions through the first three weeks of December and then, on December 31 – as allowed under the new law – imposes contracts on the province’s public, Catholic and French school boards and employees.
What can parents and concerned citizens do?
Parents across the province are doing a variety of things: they are volunteering in their schools to cover activities teachers are not doing; they are writing to their MPPs, the Premier, their school board leaders, the teachers’ federations and the Minister of Education asking them to find resolutions; they are sending home information to keep parents informed, and they are holding meetings with school councils, teachers and principals to try to ensure that students are affected as little as possible. Some parents have also been asking candidates for the Liberal leadership to outline their plans to resolve the issue.
You can also download People for Education’s Quick Facts on the Education Dispute and share it with your school community.
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