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Education Minister still hopeful about teacher contract talks

By Randy Thoms Oct 13, 2023 | 4:40 PM

Ontario’s Education Minister is still hopeful the public elementary teachers’ union will agree to halt strike action and use binding arbitration in their contract talks.

ETFO is wrapping up a strike vote next week.

Teachers across the Rainy River and Kenora district cast their ballots this week.

Stephen Lecce continues 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.

High school teachers across the province voted nearly 80 per cent in favour of accepting the government proposal.

Contract talks are continuing up until October 27.

Any outstanding issues will be forwarded for an arbitrator to rule.

“If we could do it with OSSTF just two weeks ago, we could do it with ETFO. It takes all the parties to come together, united around that principle. So we’re hoping that they will see the light, if you will, as OSSFT did.”

The same offer was made to the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, which is also holding strike votes.

Both EFTO and OECTA have said binding arbitration would not address many funding issues they want discussed at the bargaining table.