(© Can Stock Photo / tomwang)

ETFO strike date set for November 25

The union representing public elementary teachers in Ontario will be in a legal strike position in a little more than two weeks.

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario announced Friday that it has received a “no board” report that it hopes will get the province and school boards “serious about contract talks.” The union had asked the Minister of Labour for a “no board report” on Monday after talks stalled. Now that it has it, the union will be in a legal strike position in 17 days, which puts a start date of a potential strike at November 25.

“ETFO is fighting for investment, not cuts in education, but Doug Ford’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce isn’t listening,” ETFO President Sam Hammond said in a statement released Friday. “While ETFO is now in a legal position to take strike action in 17 days, we will continue to focus on contract talks in an attempt to arrive at a deal that improves student learning conditions and educator working conditions.”

Elementary educators have been in negotiations for a new contract since June, and strike votes were held in Ontario districts throughout the month of October after bargaining entered conciliation. It was announced last week that elementary teachers and occasional teachers voted 98 per cent in favour of strike action if it is needed.

“Doug Ford and his Minister of Education Stephen Lecce have let everyone – parents, students and educators – down,” Hammond added. “This government doesn’t seem to care about students with special needs, our youngest learners in Kindergarten, larger elementary class sizes and fewer elementary teachers in schools. Parents and educators do.”

ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across Ontario.