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This week in education strikes

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After suspending strike action over the past week, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) has announced they will be returning to the picket lines on Thursday.

The union had been set to strike last Tuesday but called it off in what they said was an act of good faith when they sat back down with the provincial government to negotiate a new deal. In a statement, OECTA president Liz Stuart said the province did not make a similar effort, adding they continue to insist on deep, permanent cuts.

“Strikes by the teachers’ unions have resulted in millions of student days lost,” said Stephen Lecce, the Minister of Education. “This week, while in discussions with OECTA, we sought to get a deal that is in the best interests of our students through lower class sizes, 100% investment in special education and protecting full-day kindergarten. Yet again, we have seen obstruction to a deal because of an insistence by the union on enhancements to an already generous benefit package.”

“Students deserve to be in class. That is why I am calling on OECTA to return to the table to get a deal,” he added.

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OECTA represents all elementary, secondary and occasional teachers at the Nipissing Parry Sound Catholic School Board (NPSC), meaning all schools will be closed including:

  • St. Joseph-Scollard Hall
  • Holy Cross
  • Mother St. Bride
  • Our Lady of Fatima
  • Our Lady of Sorrows (Sturgeon Falls)
  • St. Alexander
  • St. Francis
  • St. Gregory (Powassan)
  • St. Hubert
  • St. Luke
  • St. Theresa (Callander)
  • St. Victor (Mattawa)

NPSC says parents are strongly urged to make alternate arrangements for children in advance of the one day strike. All field trips, sporting events, and extracurricular activities have been cancelled for the day.

They add all childcare, including before and after school programs will remain open, along with community use.

After cancelling a strike last Thursday, the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontarien (AEFO) has announced they will be conducting a province-wide strike Thursday as well.

Representing 12,000 regular and occasional teachers across Ontario, all French-language schools will be closed to students from Junior Kindergarten to grade 12, including:

  • Algonquin Grades 7-12 (North Bay)
  • Christ-Roi (River Valley)
  • Élisabeth-Bruyère Grades 7-12 (Mattawa)
  • Franco-Cité (Sturgeon Falls)
  • Héritage (North Bay)
  • Jeunesse Active (Sturgeon Falls)
  • L’Odyssée (North Bay)
  • La Résurrection (Sturgeon Falls)
  • Lorrain (Bonfield)
  • Mariale (Thorne)
  • Nipissing Ouest (Sturgeon Falls)
  • Saint-Joseph (Sturgeon Falls)
  • Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin (Astorville)
  • Sainte-Anne (Mattawa)
  • Sainte-Marguerite-d’Youville (Verner)
  • Saints-Anges (North Bay)
  • St. Raymond (North Bay)
  • St. Vincent (North Bay)

Schools will reopen on Friday.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation is hoping to begin new talks with the province on Monday but the Near North District School Board has been identified as a target of select strike action this Thursday, as well. This means school will be closed to all NNDSB students as, besides public secondary teachers, the OSSTF represents education workers such as early childhood educators, educational assistants, psychologists, speech-language pathologists, communicative disorder assistants, and behaviour counsellors, among others. The last job action by OSSSTF resulted in elementary students getting the day off in addition to secondary students.

Meanwhile, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is still in the midst of suspended strike action for this week. The union has threatened to escalate their job action if there is no progress once the week is over.

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