Seven public school boards across Ontario will be in a legal strike position by Wednesday. Unless the province, school boards and union leaders can reach a deal, teachers will begin withdrawing service. By the end of this month, the majority of the remaining 24 public boards could also be in a legal strike position. Some teachers have already been withholding voluntary services, like coaching sports teams and supervising clubs.
The strike is a response to Bill 115. The bill imposes cuts to teachers’ sick days, a partial freeze to pay raises for new teachers, and restricts teachers’ ability to strike. The unions have launched a court challenge to Bill 115 for violation of rights to collective bargaining. The government will not block the union’s strike before December 31st, partially because the block may help the union’s case.
Meanwhile, a provincial plan is being discussed, including a provincial benefits plan for educators and allowing unions to take over financial liabilities. The ministry is still waiting for data on potential savings from this plan, but the Minister of Education says the plan could save $419 million.
In interviews since his resignation as Premier, Dalton McGuinty has stated that he regrets the way that his government has handled the negotiations, and that he should have taken a less domineering approach.
For the full article from the Globe and Mail: