Public high school teachers and occasional teachers in Durham Region will be on strike beginning Monday.

In a statement released Saturday night, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation says it is “disappointed” to report that negotiations with the Durham District School Board have not led to an agreement.

“Our teachers would much rather be inside classrooms with their students,” says District 13 union president Dave Barrowclough in the statement.

“But this employer’s refusal to engage in real negotiations has really left us no option,” Barrowclough adds. “We have worked hard, in the most sincere way possible, to reach an agreement that meets the needs of both parties.”

In a statement issued Saturday night, the Durham District School Board (DDSB) says that they are “extremely disappointed that the teachers’ union chose the picket line over the negotiations table.”

When the strike begins Monday, all public high schools will be closed and at least 21,000 students will be affected by the labour action.

The DDSB issued a list of how normal activities will be impacted by the strike.

  • All regular instructional programs for Grade 9 to 12 students are cancelled.
  • Students' mid-term marks have been submitted in time for post-secondary applications
  • Extracurricular activities, field trips and school events are cancelled.
  • Buses for secondary students will not operate. Buses will continue their routes for elementary students only
  • All DDSB elementary schools and the Education Centre remain open
  • Community use of schools will continue at all DDSB schools and the Education Centre
  • Childcare at Sinclair Secondary School will continue to operate. Sinclair SS daycare families will be provided with signs to be posted in their vehicle window to indicate they are accessing the childcare facility onsite
  • Parents of students with special needs who have community-based case co-ordination are encouraged to contact their co-ordinator or agency to inquire about supports similar to March break or summer holidays

Students can continue to participate in community volunteer hours provided the activity meets the established criteria and is pre-approved by the school administration.

The Ontario Liberals and unions representing teachers have been on shaky terms since the government imposed wage freezes on contracts three years ago to reduce a $10.9-billion deficit.

However, the OSSTF says that wages are not the only issue they are unhappy with.

DDSB says they have been in negotiations with the OSSTF since January and have met ten times.

With files from The Canadian Press.