Franco-Ontarian teachers schedule walk-out

ETFO members picket outside Giles Campus French Immersion Public School in Windsor, February 7, 2020. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Franco-Ontarian teachers are escalating strike action by striking one day a week, province-wide until an agreement is reached.

Members of the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) will be on the picket lines on Thursday February 13, 2020.

“AEFO is waging several battles. On the one hand, school boards continue to reject the concerns of Franco-Ontarian Teachers. On the other hand, the Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, and Premier Ford refuse to maintain, notably, financing earmarked for special needs students,” said AEFO President Rémi Sabourin.

The union says the escalation comes after no progress was made at the central bargaining table.

“School boards and the government seem determined to oppose any possibility of moving forward with bargaining. For example, school boards continue to insist on curtailing teachers working conditions. And the government is still claiming that negotiations are hinging on salaries and benefits. However, we have repeatedly explained that Franco-Ontarian teachers, who care about their students’ success, want them to revisit certain decisions such as the increase in class sizes and the new e-learning requirements, to which we can now add the refusal to extend 2017 funding levels for special needs students. Phase 3 is meant to convey to the government that we can’t just keep staring at each other pointlessly at the bargaining table,” said Sabourin.

This is the first time the AEFO has launched strike action of this scale since the inception of the French-language school boards in 1997.  The union represents 12,000 regular and occasional teachers at French public and Catholic school boards throughout Ontario.