Thousands of Ontario school support employees will get a one per cent raise, job protection guarantees, and millions of dollars in funding to create and restore jobs — thanks to a last-minute agreement with the government to avert a general strike.

During a tense 48-hour negotiation last weekend — during which the union said it was ready to leave the bargaining table entirely — the Progressive Conservative government put significant amounts of money on the table to secure a deal.

“Thanks for opening up the piggy bank,” Laura Walton, head of the school bargaining unit for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), said.

While the contract still has to be ratified by employees, here are some of the highlights of the deal:

Job Protection: $20 million per year for 3 years.

The government will spend up to $20 million each year on 300 full-time equivalent CUPE jobs across the province.

Local Priorities fund: $58.3 million per year for 3 years.

The one-time fund approved by the former Liberal government in 2017 during a contract extension, expired in August with no guarantees that it would be continued. The Doug Ford government agreed to restore the funds, which will help restore more than 1,000 CUPE jobs.

Compensation: CUPE employees get a one per cent increase per year for three years.

They are still among the lowest paid with an average salary is $38,000 a year.

Sick Leave: Status quo - 11 sick days at 100 per cent pay, 120 short-term leave days at 90 per cent pay.

Government sources say a “big win” for them was including a provision in the contract that gives school boards the ability to request a doctors note for short-term leave.

Currently, the standards were set regionally, whereas the government wanted to create a centralized and standardized template for a “proof of illness” doctors note.

School boards would still have discretion as to whether or not to request for one.

Job Security: The government and the union agreed to include a “side letter” in the contract which stipulates that unless there are major economic changes, a dramatic drop in student population, or major changes in funding, the current complement of employees (55,000) will remain for the course of the contract.

Contract Expiration: Aug. 31, 2022

While the government was pushing for a four-year deal, CUPE convinced the province to sign a three-year deal. The contract will expire two-and-a-half months after the next provincial election, scheduled to be held on June 2, 2022.