Ontario Catholic school teachers to hold province-wide walkout next week
An empty classroom is seen in this undated file photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
QUEEN'S PARK -- Catholic school students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12 could be staying at home next Tuesday as teachers across the province plan to stage another one day walk-out.
The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) said a one-day province-wide strike will be held on Feb. 4 unless the union can reach a deal with the government on a new contract.
“We know Ontarians are growing impatient with these negotiations,” OECTA President Liz Stuart said in a new release. “But we cannot allow this government to wear us all down and force us to accept their devastating cuts.”
The announcement comes amid escalating job action by other unions that would affect hundreds of thousands of students in school boards across Ontario.
On Monday, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) said teachers in public elementary schools would hold one-day province-wide strikes as well as rotating school board strikes every week – meaning students would be impacted twice a week.
Despite the escalating job action, contract talks all-but evaporated in the new year as each side seems to have hardened in their positions.
While Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the government “continues to stand at the ready to negotiate,” the talks are currently in the hands of a Ministry of Labour appointed mediator--who has yet to call either side back to the bargaining table.
The reasons for the delay are unclear and a request for an interview with the mediator was declined by the Ministry of Labour.
Here is a list of school boards impacted by the ETFO strikes next week if a deal is not reached by Jan. 31:
- Feb. 3: Bluewater, Grand Erie, Halton, Ontario North East, Renfrew County, Superior Greenstone and Trillium Lakelands school boards.
- Feb. 4: Avon Maitland, Durham, Durham Catholic, Hastings-Prince Edward, Lambton Kent, Peel, Rainbow, Thames Valley and Upper Grand school boards and Campbell Children’s School Authority.
- Feb. 5: Kawartha Pine Ridge, Keewatin-Patricia, Lakehead, Near North, Ottawa-Carleton, Penetanguishene Protestant Separate, Rainy River, Simcoe County and Upper Canada school boards and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre.
- Feb: 6: All school boards across Ontario.
- Feb. 7: Algoma, Greater Essex County, Hamilton-Wentworth, Limestone, Niagara, Toronto, Toronto Catholic, Waterloo and York Region school boards as well as Bloorview, John McGivney Children’s Centre, KidsAbility, Moosonee, Moose Factory and Niagara Peninsula Children’s Centre school authorities.
ETFO’s members include elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals.