The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has given the required five-day notice for Grand Erie, Trillium Lakelands, Renfrew and Superior-Greenstone school boards in anticipation of a one-day strike on Tuesday January 21.
Meanwhile Education Minister Stephen Lecce has offered compensation for families affected by the strike in terms of childcare costs.
“Other than cuts to education, Ford’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce has refused to give his negotiators a mandate to discuss the substantive issues we know are important for students and education workers,” said ETFO president Sam Hammond.
“Unless the government makes an immediate effort to engage in serious talks, we will have no option but to further escalate our strike action. As of today, Minister Lecce has established no dates for contract talks.”
Government negotiators still have no mandate to discuss critical issues including ETFO’s proposals for: smaller classes; more resources for students with special needs; protection of the Kindergarten program; reduction of violent incidents; and fair compensation for educators, particularly occasional teachers, early childhood educators, professional support personnel and education support personnel.
Lecce recently announced the government’s plan to offer parents up to $60 per day if strike actions close schools or school-based child care centres. Financial support will be provided to parents for each day of school that a child misses on account of a labour disruption, or each day of child care that is not available if offered from a closed school.
Eligible parents of children up to age 12 (Grade 7), or up to age 21 for children and youth with special needs, in a publicly funded school, qualify for:
-$60 per day for children aged 0-6 who are not yet enrolled in school but attend a school-based child care centre that is required to close on account of the strike.
-$40 per day for students in Junior Kindergarten (JK) and Senior Kindergarten (SK).
-$25 per day for students in Grades 1 up to and including Grade 7.
-$40 total per day for students in JK up to and including Grade 12 with a special need(s).
“What we and parents are fighting for today will have an impact on the education of generations of students to come.” added Hammond.
Collective agreements for all ETFO members expired on August 31, 2019.
ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.