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Tentative deal with Ontario elementary teachers sends issue of wages to arbitration


An agreement between Ontario public elementary teachers and the provincial government will see workers get a retroactive pay bump due to Bill 124 while the the issue of wages move to arbitration.

On Tuesday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that a tentative agreement had been reached with the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario (ETFO,) who represents more than 80,000 teacher and occasional teachers across the province.

Few details about what is within the agreement have been released to the public, with Lecce saying only that some unresolved issues will be moving to binding arbitration.

A copy of the tentative agreement, obtained by CTV News Toronto, shows that the contentious issue of teacher salaries are among those disputes.

The new collective agreement, if ratified, would be in effect retroactive to Sept. 1, 2022. The new deal would expire on Aug. 31, 2026.

As part of the agreement, ETFO will refer the issue of compensation increases; including teacher salary grids and the daily occasional teacher rate, to a third party.

“The parties and the crown agree to refer the matter of compensation to binding interest arbitration for final determination,” a memorandum of settlement says.

Binding interest arbitration is when two parties agree to present their arguments in front of a neutral third party, who will make the final decisions.

The union says it will continue to call for a one per cent annual wage increase along with annual inflation rate adjustments.

It is also calling for an increase in daily occasional teacher pay to a minimum of $275 per day as a base, along with the one per cent annual increase tied to inflation.

The agreement also outlines an agreement with the province about retroactive pay related to Bill 124, which capped public sector worker wages at a one per cent increase for a three-year period.

Teachers will receive an additional 0.75 per cent annually for two years. The retroactive pay for the third year will be referred to an arbitrator; however the union says the increase for that year could be between 1.50 per cent and 3.25 per cent.

The final issue going to arbitration includes a reimbursement of benefit contributions for six strike days taken in the 2019-2020 school year.


A large part of the new tentative agreement deals with violence prevention and safety in schools.

The agreement will include violence prevention training for all permanent and long-term occasional members on one or more PA days starting in 2023-2024.

An empty classroom is seen in this undated file photo.

The government will also be required to provide public-facing signage to schools and school board officers that communicate behaviours expectations for students, parents, staff and community members.

“The government will endeavour to ensure that the public-facing signage is distributed to school boards prior to the start of the 2024-2025 school year,” a document highlighting the agreement changes noted.

Other changes include:

  • ETFO’s base funding for benefits will, if ratified, be increased by 7.62 per cent, followed by a one per cent increase each year of the collective agreement.
  • No change to sick days, although a provincial task force will be formed to “explore sick leave data and factors contributing to the use of sick leave.”
  • Over $42M in funding for 401 permanent, specialist teaching positions related to the province’s new early reading screening
  • Funding to support more than 400 permanent teaching positions in specialist roles to help support students
  • A requirement that teaching experience within the school board be a factor in selecting long-term occasional teacher candidates
  • Teachers will not be required to provide hybrid instruction for students absent from in-person class for discretionary reasons Top Stories

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