Elementary teachers ratify provincial deal
DAN CEARNS Local Journalism Initiative, for The Standard
NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA LAKES: Elementary teachers in Ontario have ratified a central bargaining agreement they recently reached with the province, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA), and the Council of Trustees’ Associations (CTA). News of the ratification was announced on Tuesday, April 28th. ETFO reached the deal with the province on Friday, March 20th. “Our goal was to defend public education and the working and learning conditions that have made Ontario’s education system one of the best in the world,” ETFO President Sam Hammond stated, in a press release. “While these negotiations were prolonged and difficult, our educators, with the support from parents and other community members, stood firm in the face of planned government cuts to education.” The release explained, the union’s “teacher and occasional teacher members voted 97 percent in favour” of the deal that runs until 2022, and “ETFO’s education worker members voted 94 percent” in favour of the deal. According to ETFO, the deal includes “no class size increases during the life of the agreement”, an increase in “professional development/learning funds”, and preservation of the province’s current Kindergarten model. Ontario’s Minister of Education Stephen Lecce made a statement, following the ratification announcement. “I would like to congratulate ETFO, OPSBA and the CTA for the ratification of the 2019-22 central agreements,” he said, in a press release. “Like our deals with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Education Workers’ Alliance of Ontario (EWAO) and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) our primary objective was to reach good deals with teachers’ and education workers’ unions, that will advance the priorities of students and parents.” ETFO members still have work to do, as their local divisions still need to negotiate collective agreements with school boards.