Ontario teachers’ strike: last union reaches agreement with government

Details of the agreement remain confidential for the time being

Ontario teachers’ strike: last union reaches agreement with government

Various Ontarian teachers’ unions have been involved in strike action since Nov. 2019 (though disagreements arose from Sep. 2019). This includes the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA), the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) as well as the Association des enseignantes et enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO).

In the last two months, amid school closures due to COVID-19, OECTA, ETFO and AEFO all reached separate agreements with the Ontarian government. The details of these agreements remain unknown until each union votes to adopt the new measures. Some of the sticking points of the strike included class sizes, e-learning initiatives, wages and benefits.

This week, OSSTF announced that it had reached an agreement with the government – it was the last union without a deal – and its teachers had been without a contract since August 2019. As with the other unions, the details of this agreement remain as-of-yet unknown and union members are set to vote on the deal next month.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in a statement: “Our priority has always been to reach good deals with teachers’ and education workers’ unions, that advance the priorities of students and parents. That is exactly what we have done by reaching deals with every education union in this province.”

Harvey Bischof, president of OSSTF, said:

“Our main priority has been to protect the education system by reaching a deal that respects our members and ensures students get the best education possible. We thank our members for their support, solidarity, and sacrifice during these many months of negotiations. Our union remains stronger and more united because of their demonstrated commitment on the front lines across this province […] While this tentative agreement does not satisfy all of our concerns, we recognize the current environment we are in and the need for students to have stability once this emergency is over.”

Premier Doug Ford previously announced that schools were to re-open in May, though the exact date remains subject to discussion.