Education minister to impose contracts on Ontario teachers

Broten to repeal wage-freeze law to encourage extracurricular participation

Ontario’s education minister Laurel Broten announced Thursday she plans to impose contracts on public school teachers under Bill 115, but will repeal it to encourage teachers to participate in extracurricular activities.

Broten said in removing the wage freeze law, which limits teachers’ collective bargaining rights, she hopes teachers will resume supervisory roles when students return to school on Jan. 7.

“It’s an important step to find a way forward with our teachers,” she said at a news conference on Thursday. The recent labour disputes have seen teachers holding rotating one-day strikes and boycotting extracurricular activities in protest of Bill 115.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) have both expressed bitter feelings about the situation.

"We certainly feel that a lot of the goodwill that was earned from both sides... is very much tarnished right now," OSSTF president Ken Coran said in an interview from London on CP24. "It's going to take a while, if ever, that those hard feelings are going to be remedied," he added.

ETFO president Sam Hammond told the Toronto Star he is confused about Broten's decision to impose contracts under the bill and then repealing it.

"I still don't know what that means... saying that now that you've enforced it you're going to repeal it," he said. He added the union executive will meet in the near future to decide what their next move will be.

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