Majority of Ontario teachers still without contracts

Union leader calls on education minister to step in

Rookie president of the Ontario teachers’ union, Paul Elliott, has accused a majority of school boards of not honouring the contract signed with the education ministry earlier this spring.

During his inaugural address at the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) leadership conference on Aug. 15, Elliott said less than 10 of more than 40 school boards have recognized the memorandum of understanding between the union and the provincial government. And with the school year fast approaching, many teachers remain without a contract.

That memorandum of understanding struck down the conditions set out in Bill 115 — which prohibited the teachers’ right to strike and almost halved their number of sick days. Bill 115 was later repealed by then-education minister, Laurel Broten, and meant to serve as an olive branch between the two parties. But in his address, Elliott called on the ministry to intervene and ensure contracts are signed before the deadline on Aug. 29.

“Our members have been left with unsettled contracts, no security and nothing but questions. That is unacceptable,” Elliott said, adding that, “If legislation is introduced that reduces our right to collective bargaining, our right to exercise action at any level, and does not enshrine meaningful local bargaining, it will be opposed.”

OSSTF members will meet at the beginning of September to discuss the possibility of a protest against the school boards.

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