The deadline for Ontario public teachers to reach agreements with their local school boards came and went Monday night, with many major unions still without a deal.
That means parents should expect more labour unrest, said one union official.
The Head of the York Region Elementary Teacher’s Federation said his members are prepared to leave the classroom again in order to find a fair resolution.
Under Bill 115, which the teachers are fiercely fighting against, Education Minister Laurel Broten now has the power to impose contracts on these teachers.
The minister has not said whether or not she will act on that legislation and impose a contract, however.
Broten says 65 ratified local agreements have been submitted so far, adding that she’s hoping others will follow.
Under Bill 115 most teachers will have their salaries frozen, something which the teachers’ unions say they have long agreed to.
More controversial is the loss of banked sick days and a limit on how many sick days can be banked in the future.
Most controversial, however, is the limited right of teachers to strike and the ability for the government to impose a contract. That, the teachers argue, is the main reason they are fighting the government, saying the legislation is unconstitutional.
Tory education critic Lisa MacLeod says the provincial government should have used Bill 115 to impose contracts on teachers unions and restored order in our public education system. The battle between the teachers and the government prompted the rolling one-day strikes seen across elementary school boards in the province.
MacLeod says by ignoring their own law, the Liberals have emboldened union leaders who are threatening more strikes and instability when school returns next week.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation says it will end rotating strikes to protest Bill 115 if Broten agrees not to impose new contracts on them until a new premier is selected later this month.