Teachers and education workers with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation have reached a tentative deal to end a labour dispute with the province. Union president Harvey Bischof said their priority has always been the protection of the education system and finding a deal that ensures students get the best possible education. Teachers spent months conducting rotating strikes across the province, regularly walking the picket lines during the dispute.
It wasn’t easy, Bischof said, but the fight was worth it. “With the support of the public and our members, we mounted a strong public awareness campaign that highlighted the government’s dangerous approach to education. As a result of our combined efforts, this government, although early in its term and holding a majority, was pushed back from some of its most egregious proposals.
Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said his government’s priority has always been to strike a deal that advances the priorities of students and parents, adding he feels this is what the agreed upon tenative deal does. “We will remain focused on the government’s dual priority of keeping students safe while ensuring the continuity of education. Moreover, we remain determined to continuously strengthen teacher-led learning and virtual learning for the benefit of our students, and we continue to look to our educators to rise to the challenge and deliver quality education to every child, wherever they may live,” Lecce said in a release issued on Monday morning.
The ratification vote is expected to take place next month.
Membership is expected to receive a copy of the tentative agreement after a meeting with local union leaders. The union has been without a contract since last summer.
The OSSTF is the last of the four major teacher and support worker unions to reach a deal with the province.