McGuinty to ask labour board to stop ‘illegal’ strike by Ontario public school teachers

1-day political protest aimed at education minister for invoking Bill 115

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has urged the province’s elementary and high school public teachers to rethink one-day job action on Jan. 11, calling the strike illegal and adding any teachers who walk off the job could face fines of up to $2,000.

The government is heading to the Ontario Labour Relations Board Thursday afternoon to try to stop the strike.

Elementary school teachers, early childhood educators and support workers voted overwhelmingly in support of a one-day political protest in the event the education minister imposed contracts on them under Bill 115.

The one-day protest is in response to Laurel Broten’s announcement on Jan. 3 that she would impose a contract on the province’s public school teachers under the hotly debated legislation.

“A strike on Friday would be an illegal strike, and I know teachers are law-abiding,” McGuinty told the Toronto Star. “I know they don't want to break the law, and I am urging them not to.”

Of the 46,000 members represented by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) who cast votes in December, more than 92 per cent voted in favour of a protest. Public high school teachers in the province are also planning a one-day strike on Jan. 16.

"This protest is aimed squarely at the government and education minister, not those school boards who pursued legal collective bargaining with our locals,” ETFO president Sam Hammond said in a press release. “It is shameful that the minister tied their hands with the limiting parameters of Bill 115. The government can prorogue the legislature but it can’t prorogue democracy."

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