Giving our kids the best chance in life can only happen if our education system is set up for success. That means creating safe school environments where students, teachers, and education workers can thrive. The Conservative government is set on cutting back funding to public education, regardless of outcome - and we are already seeing an impact.
This is the climate in which education unions are negotiating their contracts this fall. While CUPE education workers were able to reach a an agreement, they narrowly avoided a strike in October. In late November, ETFO and OSSTF began strike action after No Board reports. In early December, OECTA also filed a No Board report.
The Minister of Education has not been bargaining in good faith with the teachers' unions, instead holding press conferences to "release" new offers. Further, the government held the largest education consultation ever conducted in Ontario earlier this year but refused to release the results publicly. A recent Global News report shared leaked data from that consultation that demonstrates parents overwhelmingly disapprove of larger class sizes.
On December 12, four education unions, ETFO, OECTA, OSSTF, and AEFO, announced they have filed court challenges against the Ontario government’s Bill 124. The challenges claim that the legislation violates the teachers’ and education workers’ constitutional rights to engage in unrestricted collective bargaining activity, which is guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Education has and will always be the bedrock of how we progress in society. With the Ford Government in power that foundation is being undermined. Recently the Minister announced dramatic changes to Ontario’s education system, including increases to class sizes and mandatory online learning in secondary schools.
The Toronto & York Region Labour Council is committed to working with the education unions (ETFO, OSSTF, OECTA, CUPE, and AEFO) to confront the government's attacks on education and to build solidarity across labour for a strong fight. We applaud their leadership in organizing the Rally for Education on April 5 which resulted in 30,000 educators, students, parents, and their allies gathering on the lawns of Queen's Park to stand up to the bad policies and bullying tactics of the Ford government.
Join a Picket Near You
Ontario secondary school teachers are conducting information pickets before and after school and have held one-day strikes on December 4 and 11. We will aim to make information available if new strike dates are announced. Download the info flyer in any of 7 languages:
Labour Council is working with a coalition of York Region students, parent groups, education unions, and community members to advocate for strong public education. The coalition has hosted tailgate-style barbecues in the ridings of key Conservative MPPs, including Minister of Education Stephen Lecce, and will host its first Town Hall event on October 28. Visit the website to sign up for email updates and to see what's happening!