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English Catholic teachers the latest to hold strike vote


DARRYL KNIGHT, The Standard


Another group of Ontario educators are moving closer to job action this fall, as Ontario’s Catholic school teachers recently announced they will be holding a strike vote this fall.

On Monday, August 21st, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) announced it would conduct a poll amongst its members in mid-October to consider the option to strike.

In a statement regarding this move, the union said it had “become necessary to conduct a strike vote” to continue progress in negotiations.

“We have reached a critical moment in the bargaining process,” OECTA President Rene Jansen said in a statement. “The Ford Conservative government has failed to demonstrate real interest to engage in meaningful discussions about the critical issues facing publicly funded education in Ontario.”

The English Catholic teachers are the latest union to voice their growing frustration with the bargaining process, which has dragged on for more than a year after teachers worked the 2022-23 school year without a contract. This has set the stage for strike votes to also occur with the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) as well as the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) and potential job action during the upcoming school year.

OECTA announced it would hold its strike vote on October 18th and 19th. The union represents approximately 45,000 members, including 23,000 elementary teachers, 13,000 secondary teachers and 9,000 occasional teachers.

In their recent announcement, OECTA claimed the Ford government was bargaining in bad faith, citing the implementation of a new language curriculum and new requirements for early reading screenings announced earlier this summer. The controversial move has led to a complaint being filed with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education bristled at the accusations, noting that the new measures had been developed with feedback from the education sector, including the unions.

Education minister Stephen Lecce released a statement claiming that the government has been “bargaining in good faith, meeting over 170 times with all education unions.”

The first day of school for most students in the area is scheduled for Tuesday, September 5th.

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