TORONTO — Despite the government softening its position on several major points of contention at the bargaining table, the protest rally still proceeded in front of Queen’s Park on Thursday, March 5, 2020.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the lack of progress in contract talks with public school teachers even after the government’s concessions on class size and e-learning shows the ongoing dispute is all about compensation.
On Tuesday, the Progressive Conservative government offered to increase average high school class sizes from 22 last year to 23 next year — instead of the government’s original target of 28 — and allow an opt-out for e-learning courses the Tories previously said would be mandatory.
The government has offered teachers a one percent pay increase, while teachers are asking for closer to two percent.
Teachers’ unions from Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association carried banners and signs around the Ontario legislature Thursday morning, calling on the government to bargain in good faith.
OECTA, OSSTF, and ETFO currently have are no dates scheduled to meet with the government.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the government has consistently made reasonable moves – effectively freezing classroom sizes, a parental opt-out for online learning, a commitment to full-day kindergarten, and one hundred percent investment in special education.
“The time for a deal is now, I urge the unions to stop this disruptive escalation and return to the table to get a deal that is fair for parents, students, and educators.”##
- FWH staff