Monday marked the start of strike votes for Ontario’s public elementary school teachers, with their union and others frustrated with the slow pace of more than a year of bargaining for a new contract.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is holding in-person strike votes for its members between Monday and Oct. 17, with teachers in various regions voting on different days. The first meetings and votes were set Monday for teachers in the Ottawa-Carleton and Upper Grand school boards.

ETFO President Karen Brown said if members vote in favour of a strike, it doesn’t necessarily mean teachers will walk off the job.

“A strong strike vote result will help ETFO communicate to the Ford government that they must get serious about bargaining,” she wrote in a statement.

“While we are now working with a conciliator to help us explore all possible options in reaching agreements that are fair for ETFO members, central strike votes are another tool we can use to help us achieve the best working conditions and learning conditions possible.”