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Three Ontario teachers’ unions are still without a deal. Here’s what you need to know


The Doug Ford government announced Tuesday that a tentative deal had been reached with Ontario English-language elementary teachers to avert a strike —an agreement that took about 14 months to achieve.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce applauded the agreement when speaking with reporters but also renewed his call to the other remaining unions to “move this process along.”

“Let's get this done. Let's end the delay. Let's get a deal,” he said.

There are three teacher’s unions in Ontario still without a contract or tentative deal with the province. One of them has agreed to binding interest arbitration, which puts the onus on a third party to make final decisions on unresolved issues.

The other two are still in the bargaining stage.

Here’s what you need to know:

Who has a deal?

The Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will schedule a vote shortly to ratify a tentative agreement with the province.

It’s unclear what the three-year deal entails, although Lecce said some of the issues will be going to binding arbitration while others have been resolved.

Prior to the deal, ETFO’s members had voted 95 per cent in favour of strike action. At the time, the union said the government had offered a 1.25 per cent increase for each year of the agreement. The union, meanwhile, was seeking a one per cent increase annually plus a cost of living adjustment.

ETFO was also asking for more supports for students with special needs, an acknowledgement of the staffing crisis, and a plan to address violence in schools.

Who is in binding arbitration?

Ontario public high school teachers agreed in September to avoid a strike by the use of binding interest arbitration.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) said that if a deal could not be reached by Oct. 27 between the union and the province, a third party would be brought in to make the final decisions.

As of Nov. 22, this process is ongoing.

Who is left?

Both the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and the French-language union, L’Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-Ontarients (AEFO) remain in negotiation with the province.

René Jansen in de Wal, president of OECTA, told CTV News Toronto that talks have been moving forward since the union voted in favour of a potential strike.

“The last couple days have actually looked like bargaining,” he said Tuesday.

“We have two more bargaining days coming up next week, so hopefully they’re ready to do what we should have done a year-and-a-half ago.”

In addition to wages, OECTA is hoping for resolutions on growing violence, mental health and stress in schools, cuts in supports and resources, and staffing shortages.

Jansen in de Wal added the union would not be opposed to binding arbitration on some issues if the bargaining teams can get to the “right places.”

OECTA has not moved to conciliation, a formal mediation process that unions engage in prior to a strike or work action.

The French-language teachers’ union says they are also waiting for the government to address staffing shortages, work overload and salaries that take cost of living into consideration.

“For the moment, we continue to negotiate, but the possibility of holding a strike vote, going to binding arbitration or mediation remain options that we are still considering during the negotiations, depending on the way discussions are evolving on topics that are priorities for our members,” AEFO President Anne Vinet-Roy said in a statement.

“Each teachers’ union has a different bargaining process and moves at its own pace. It is important for us to ensure that all our priority topics are addressed and that issues that are specific to the French-language education system are considered.”

AEFO has bargaining dates scheduled for Nov. 29, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. Top Stories

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