The issues being discussed and the talking points from the two sides have not changed much in all of the months these disputes have been going on. The Teachers’ Unions continue to say they would go back to work if the Province agrees to go back to 2018 class sizes, staffing ratios, full-day kindergarten, and hiring practices. While the Government has backed away slightly from saying that the only issue is the 2% vs. 1% pay difference, they still say Benefits are a key issue, and that hiring practices are a concern. With this stalemate in discussions here is how the different Unions are responding.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is sticking to their plan to give the Province until March 6th to make a deal before they escalate their job action again. If nothing gets settled by Friday there is a phase 7 slated to begin on Monday, March 9th, which could see rotating strike action resume. Details will be released on March 7th, should they be necessary.
Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), the union that represents French-language teachers and education workers was in negotiations with the province on Friday. They say that very little progress was made in those discussions and then announced another Province wide strike; set to take place on Thursday, March 5th.
The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), which had cancelled their rotating strikes for last week in order to resume negotiations with the Province on good terms, seemed unimpressed with how those conversations went. Negotiations stalled and the OECTA announced earlier in the week that they would have a Province wide strike, also scheduled for Thursday, March 5th.
A previously announced strike action by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) does have the possibility of being postponned – the union is the only one with a possible negotiation with the Province. It’s all depending on how an informal conversation on Sunday went. While no word has been heard about that meeting yet, should they decide progress can be made, a mediator will call them to negotiations Today. If those go well it could mean they call off their next strike action.
But as of now, the OSSTF planned rotating strikes on Thursday, March 5th for:
- Rainy River District School Board
- Near North District School Board
- Grand Erie District School Board
- Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board
- Toronto District School Board
- Simcoe County District School Board
- Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board
- Trillium Lakelands District School Board
- Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board
This could make for a very quiet Thursday this week in Brantford and Brant County as only ETFO students (Grand Erie Elementary school students) would be in school. Both the Grand Erie District School Board (GEDSB) and the Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Catholic District School Board (BHNCDSB) have made announcements on the scheduled strikes. Find them here, and here.
It would be a good idea to make preparations for your kids to be home on Thursday.