This afternoon, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) received formal notice from the mediator to resume central negotiations this Wednesday March 11. The call came just before ETFO was set to hold a media conference to announce rotating strike action starting March 23.
“ETFO has not been engaged in full withdrawal of services for the past two weeks. The Ford government missed a real opportunity to get back to the table in that time,” said ETFO First Vice-President Karen Campbell. “Let’s be clear; ETFO has been ready to resume negotiations since February.”
“The Minister now has an opportunity to avoid further disruption by reaching a fair deal with ETFO prior to March 23. If these talks are unsuccessful, ETFO will resume rotating strike action on the Monday following March break.”
“The Ford government has made misleading public statements about its commitment to improving public education and its willingness to negotiate. This government continues to pursue its agenda of cuts to public education. That’s why ETFO is taking action to communicate directly with the public to correct Education Minister Lecce’s misinformation.”
Under the Ford government:
- More than $200 million in funding for Special Education has yet to be fully restored for 2019-2020 or future years, does not account for inflation and is still nowhere near the level needed to meet the actual needs of students;
- Per student funding has declined by 3% after adjusting for inflation, despite public consultations in which Ontarians rejected cuts to public education;
- School boards would return to nepotism and cronyism in teacher hiring practices, something that Doug Ford’s office has perfected; and
- Ministry of Education funding for grades 4-8 class size averages was reduced, despite feedback during public consultations that overwhelmingly rejected larger class sizes.
“Educators and parents want fair agreements that value each and every elementary student, respect educators and support our schools appropriately,” added Campbell.