Ontario’s Catholic teachers have received a no-board report, putting them in a legal strike position just before Christmas.
Their union had made the request of the conciliator last week, as talks continue to stall with the provincial government.
This latest move is yet another sign of growing unrest in the education sector, following a one-day strike Wednesday by the 60,000-member Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and amid an ongoing work-to-rule by both the OSSTF and the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario.
The union representing teachers in the province’s French language boards are conducting a strike vote later this month.
The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association is in a legal strike position as of Dec.21.
At this point, no job action has been planned but union president Liz Stuart warned the Ford government that it needs to reverse course.
“As has become abundantly clear this week, Ontarians recognize the Ford government is not listening to their concerns, or treating publicly funded education with the respect it deserves,” Liz Stuart said in a statement Thursday morning.
“This ‘no-board’ should serve as another wakeup call for Premier (Doug) Ford and (Education Minister Stephen Lecce) that it is time to get their act together.”
The Catholic teachers have two days of negotiations this week, and another two next week.
“We sincerely hope the government’s negotiating team will come to the table with a mandate to abandon the cuts and reach an agreement,” Stuart also said.
She noted that international test results released earlier this week show that Ontario’s education system is among the best in the world, and “Catholic teachers have been working hard to negotiate an agreement that will keep it that way.”
“Unfortunately, while they claim to be bargaining in good faith and making reasonable offers, the reality is the Ford government continues to focus more on public posturing than reaching an agreement.”
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Education Minister Stephen Lecce said he is “disappointed that OECTA has decided to take another step on the path to job action. I’ve been clear — I want to get deals that keep the children of this province in school.”
He said his team of negotiators “is ready to continue meeting to negotiate a deal that puts our students first and provides the predictability parents deserve.”