Ontario school boards file legal challenge against extracurricular boycott
In this file photo, students work in an Ontario classroom.
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013 4:26PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 24, 2013 8:27AM EST
Two Ontario school boards have filed a legal challenge against the union representing the province’s elementary teachers, arguing that it is counselling its members to partake in unlawful strike activities, including the boycotting of extracurricular activities and filling out the bare minimum on student report cards.
The Trillium Lakelands District School Board and the Upper Canada District School Board filed the challenge with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, stating that the union’s demands are disruptive.
“We find the impact of recent tactics by our local and provincial union representatives very troubling,” TLDSB chair Karen Round said in a statement. “Their actions are affecting students, classroom and school activities, as well as relations between staff, and are seriously undermining public confidence.”
Ever since the Ontario government passed Bill 115 – a bill that froze teachers’ pay, cut certain benefits and limited strike activity -- The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario has advised its members to stop leading extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs, as well as refrain from supervising field trips.
The McGuinty government repealed Bill 115 Wednesday morning, making good on a promise made earlier in the month, after it used the controversial bill to impose contracts on teachers on Jan. 3.
The two boards will present their case to the OLRB at a hearing scheduled for Friday.
They say the bill is interfering with normal school activities.
“Our teachers are having their ability to participate in activities they have traditionally been involved in taken away,” Round said. “These activities have always been seen as part of the overall school experience for all members of the school community including students and staff.”