TORONTO - The union representing Ontario’s public high school teachers says it will be moving forward with strike votes this month as the union claims there is “no indication” that the government is willing to discuss substantive issues.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) issued a statement Tuesday morning saying it has “no choice” but to take a step towards job action – a little over a week after the union first began negotiating with the Progressive Conservative government.

“They are simply refusing to engage in meaningful discussions about the most important issues,” OSSTF president Harvey Bischof said. “Through five days of bargaining they’ve brought absolutely nothing of substance to the table.”

While members will vote on whether to give the union a strike mandate by Nov. 15, it doesn’t automatically mean that teachers will walk off the job.

The union said it will continue talks at the bargaining table.

OSSTF represents 60,000 public high school teachers, occasional teachers, education assistants, early childhood educators, social workers and university support staff.

In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said his message to labour partners is " to always put kids first, and continue to work with us in good faith to make sure kids remain in class each and every day.”

“As families across our province know, strike action disproportionately hurts our kids, especially the most vulnerable in our classrooms," he said.