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Liberals repeal Bill 115

TORONTO, Ont. – The provincial government has officially repealed Bill 115.

The contentious law that imposed contracts on public school teachers and limited their ability to strike was repealed shortly after midnight Wednesday.

Education Minister Laurel Broten would have preferred the contracts be negotiated versus imposed but she is making no apologies.

“As a government — in order to live within our fiscal realities and have a sustainable public education system — we need to have collective agreements that allow us to protect full-day kindergarten, protect those small class sizes and keep teaching and support staff jobs,” she said.

“So we’ve done that. Those collective agreements are in place.”

Broten is hoping by repealing it, teachers will resume extracurricular activities.

“We will have the debate in the courtroom but let’s allow our students to have a good year of extracurricular activities because all of the adults know how important it is for our students.”

Conservative leader Tim Hudak is not thrilled that Bill 115 has been repealed.

“I worry that this a signal that the next Liberal leader is simply going to open up the floodgates for more spending,” he said. “Taxpayers just can’t afford it.”

The head of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation calls the scrapping of the bill a good first step but makes no promises about extracurricular activities  returning.

“The repeal of Bill 115 is a first step in the right direction,” president Ken Coran said in a statement.

“The new leader of the Liberal Party needs to sit down with OSSTF/FEESO immediately to begin the process of rebuilding the trust and respect that has been damaged by the actions of the current Minister of Education and her government,” he said.

Teachers’ unions plan to protest at the Liberal leadership convention this weekend.