Education unions accuse the Ford government of ‘fear mongering’

The union representing Ontario’s elementary teachers is accusing the provincial government of “fear mongering” as an early war of words erupts between the Ford government and education unions.

On Monday, Education Minister Stephen Lakes outlined the government’s expectations for the coming academic year, insisting that students have access to extracurricular activities as well as regular lessons in class.

Read more:

Ontario’s education minister wants extracurriculars offered in September.

“We’re signaling our clear intent to restore those services, those experiences, and help kids, and we know that teachers care so much about their kids, they’re going to do the right thing and make sure that will make sure these experiences are kept back for the children.”

While the comments come two years after the government closed schools — largely due to COVID-19 — Lecce appears to be directing his statements to Ontario’s education unions, which are the province’s Contract negotiations are in the early stages.

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However, the minister’s comments drew a sharp rebuke from the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), which accused Lacy of “trying to create a crisis where none exists.” Is.”

“His motives appear to be inflammatory and divisive,” ETFO president Karen Brown said in a statement. “Minister Leakes is engaging in unwarranted fear-mongering.”

Brown said ETFO’s 83,000 members — including public school elementary teachers — “will be in schools” when they reopen in September even though union contracts expire Aug. 31.

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The Ontario government is starting to negotiate an education union contract.

Laura Walton, who represents the Ontario School Board Council of Unions, told OlxPraca this week that it is “premature” for the minister to express any concerns about school closures as contract negotiations continue. It is in its infancy.

According to the province’s own laws Controlling collective bargainingFor a strike to occur, unions and employers must meet certain thresholds.

Once a contract is terminated and negotiations break down, both sides must meet with the Ministry of Labor’s conciliation officer and get a “no board” report after 17 days before a union is legally allowed to strike. Must do.

Unions are also legally required to vote to strike and can only walk out if a majority of members vote in favor of job action.

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The province’s education unions pointed out that none of those requirements have been met, meaning there is no risk of school disruptions in September.

“You cannot call for a strike vote more than 30 days before the collective bargaining agreement expires and we will not call for a strike vote before people return to work,” Walton said.

“We’ll be back.”

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