Teacher strikes happening across Ontario this week
TORONTO -- Three of the province’s major teachers’ unions will be hitting the picket lines this week as contract negotiations with the Ford government stall. This means that several schools in the Toronto area and beyond will be shutting their doors as a result.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), which represents some 83,000 educators, will participate in the lion’s share of the school closures with planned job action every day of the upcoming school week, including a province-wide strike on Tuesday.
Some of the 60,000 members represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) will walk off the job on Thursday. The union will also continue its province-wide limited withdrawal of services that was introduced in November.
Two French-language school boards will also be affected by the job action as Association des Enseignantes et des Enseignants Franco-Ontariens (AEFO) plans to hold its first one-day walkout of 2020 on Friday.
Here is a list of the planned job action taking place across the province:
Monday, Feb. 10
Avon Maitland, Durham, Durham Catholic (designated early childhood educators only), Halton, Hastings-Prince Edward, Lambton Kent, Rainbow, Thames Valley, Upper Canada and Upper Grand school boards and Campbell Children’s School Authority will all hold one-day strikes.
Tuesday, Feb. 11
All 83,000 ETFO members will walk off the job for a one-day strike as union president Sam Hammond pushes the Ford Government and Education Minister Stephen Lecce to return to the negotiating table prepared to “support public education”.
““From ETFO’s perspective, fair contract talks must include: appropriate funding for Special Education; a strategy to address classroom violence; maintaining our internationally recognized Kindergarten program; and fair hiring practices,” Hammond said in a news release issued last week.
Wednesday, Feb. 12
One-day strikes in Algoma, Greater Essex, Limestone, Niagara, Renfrew County, Toronto, Toronto Catholic (designated early childhood educators only) and Waterloo school boards, Moosonee and Moose Factory District School Authorities and Bloorview, John McGivney Children’s Centre, KidsAbility and Niagara Peninsula Children’s Centre School Authorities.
One-day strikes will be held at Bluewater, Grand Erie, Hamilton-Wentworth, Keewatin-Patricia, Lakehead, Ontario North East, Ottawa-Carleton, Peel, Penetanguishene, Protestant Separate, Simcoe County, Superior-Greenstone, Trillium Lakelands and York Region school boards, and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre.
Algoma, Huron-Superior Catholic, Superior-Greenstone, Greater Essex County, Avon Maitland, Peel, Niagara, Limestone and Renfrew school boards will take part in a one-day strike.
The union has published a full list of OSSTF related closures on their website.
Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario as well as the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est will be closed for a one-day strike.
Friday, Feb. 14
Kawartha Pine Ridge, Near North and Rainy River school boards will all be closed for a one-day strike.
Catholic Teachers’ union to enhance job action
The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) has not yet announced any plans to strike this week. However, on Wednesday, the union said it would be “enhancing their administrative job action” beginning Tuesday, February 11.
As a result, OECTA says members will only undertake their scheduled “teaching and supervision duties”.
“They will not accept additional tasks or assignments. Parent-teacher interviews will go ahead if they have been scheduled. Teachers will continue to participate in extra-curricular activities,” the statement reads.
Education Minister responds to job action
Education Minister Stephen Lecce released a statement on Friday ahead of this week’s planned job action.
"Continued escalation of job action by the teachers' unions has gone on far too long,” Lecce said. “Students across the province are being hurt by the withdrawal of services and loss of classroom time.”
The statement goes on to say that parents expect all parties to meet at the negotiating table to have “meaningful, student-centric discussions.”