Elementary teachers in Ontario vote in favour of strike

Education minister calls for 'stability in schools'

Elementary teachers in Ontario vote in favour of strike

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced today that its teacher and occasional teacher members have voted 95 per cent in favour of a strike.

ETFO represents roughly 80,000 public elementary teachers and occasional teachers, and 3,500 designated early childhood educators, education support personnel, and professional support personnel.

The vote does not guarantee strike action; however, it will put pressure on the government to negotiate with the union regarding their members’ core needs, as negotiations continue this month until Oct. 27.

Strike mandate ‘sends clear message’ to government

“This strong strike mandate sends a very clear message to the government,” says ETFO President Karen Brown in a statement.

“Our members have been working for over a year without a contract, and their patience has run out. We need the government to stop stalling and start negotiating seriously on our members’ key priorities, like providing more supports for students with special needs, acknowledging the staffing crisis in education, putting a fair compensation offer on the table, and addressing violence in schools.”

Prior to the vote, Ontario’s Education Minister, Stephen Lecce, said he was still hopeful the public elementary teachers’ union would agree to halt strike action and use binding arbitration in their contract talks and continued to press the importance of keeping kids in school.

“If we want to lift standards and improve outcomes and help improve the success rates in graduation, then we need stability in schools. It’s consequential to their mental and physical health and obviously their academic success,” says Lecce.

ETFO and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) called for strike votes in September after both unions rejected the province’s offer to take outstanding issues to binding arbitration. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) is the only one of the four main teachers’ unions that agreed to the province’s offer.

In February 2020, elementary and secondary teachers and education workers represented by the four major education unions in Ontario stood up to the Ford government’s education cuts by participating in a one-day walkout across the province. This was the first time since the political protest of 1997 that teachers and education workers from Ontario’s main education affiliates were all out of their classrooms on the same day, with nearly 200,000 teachers and education workers striking across 72 school boards.

Negotiations are still underway, and a strike deadline has yet to be announced.

Recent articles & video

Budget 2024: Public service to lose 5,000 workers

School board terminates 2 workers for theft, misappropriated funds

Ottawa launches Canadian Internal Trade Data Hub

Why is sleep so important for employees?

Most Read Articles

What does an employer have to report after a workplace harassment investigation?

7 in 10 Canadian employers can’t meet workers’ benefits demands

Quebec teacher fired for joining ‘Survivor’ reality series