ONTARIO – Teachers unions across the province have threatened to strike on Friday, Feb. 21 as an act of solidarity against their employers and the province.
The largest teachers unions that will be participating in the strike include the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO).
This will be the first time that teaches have taken a job action on this scale since 1997. Nearly 200,000 teachers will be on a one day strike, closing an approximate 5,000 schools across the province.
“We are already seeing the effects of this government’s reckless education cuts,” says OECTA President Liz Stuart. “The Ford government is reducing supports for students with special education needs and mental health issues. It is squeezing students into overcrowded classes and forcing high school students to take e-learning courses. If we allow the government to implement its plan fully, thousands of teaching positions and tens of thousands of course options will be lost.”
Education Minister Stephen Lecce released a statement on Tuesday, Feb. 11 asking AEFO and the other unions to stay at the bargaining table.
“We look forward to the opportunity to negotiate to reach a settlement that keeps students in class and ends the union-led disruption that is affecting so many students across the province. Parents expect all parties to meet at the negotiating table and have meaningful, student-centric discussions,” Lecce’s statement reads. “We continue to ask the unions to come to the table with realistic proposals that prioritize student success. Enough is enough. Students should be in class.”