Ontario’s elementary teachers’ federation votes for work-to-rule strike action

Ontario’s elementary teachers will start a work-to-rule campaign on Nov. 26 that they say will not affect students.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) says their action will target ministry and school board administrative tasks.

“We are making this known well in advance to assure parents that this strike action will not affect students, their learning or their safety,” ETFO President Sam Hammond said. “ETFO members will be withdrawing from Ministry and school board administrative activities, which will give them more time to focus on working with students.”

Three of the four major teachers’ unions, including the elementary teachers, are taking steps toward potential strikes.

Elementary teachers will be in a legal strike position on Nov. 25, and high school teachers will be in a legal strike position next week.

“Our goal is to turn up the heat on Premier Ford and his education minister, Stephen Lecce. It’s critical that they finally come to contract talks prepared to address the real issues of concern: more supports for students with special needs, the protection of Ontario’s Kindergarten program and critical issues like addressing violence in schools,” Hammond said.

Catholic teachers have voted 97 per cent in favour of a strike but aren’t yet in a legal strike position, while talks between the government and French teachers continue.

Negotiations between the province and the education unions started on tense terms a few months ago amid government moves to increase class sizes, and recent legislation to cap wage increases for public sector workers has further angered teachers.

“Parents, teachers and education professionals know that the government’s agenda of cuts, not investment, in public education is harmful to our students’ education and future. We’re taking the legal steps available to us to get a better deal that supports our members and students and helps preserve Ontario’s world-class education system,” Hammond said.

— With files from Gabby Rodrigues.

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