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Premier, parents ‘pleased’ about ETFO decision to resume extracurriculars

Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto parents are “pleased” that the public elementary teachers’ union has allowed its members to resume extracurricular activities.

“I’m very pleased. I’ve said all along how important it is that kids have access to extracurriculars and I know that teachers and support staff want to deliver them,” Wynne told CityNews on Wednesday morning.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) lifted its boycott by members on voluntary activities on Tuesday, saying the decision was made in light of progress made during discussions with the government.

“It’s a good thing,” parent Tim McLaren said at Kew Beach Junior Public School on Wednesday.

“The kids are looking forward to it,” he added.

McLaren’s son Andrew called it “great” and said he was looking forward to trying out for baseball and swimming.

Wynne said the province is still in talks with public elementary and secondary school teachers, who are represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF).

“It’s not about more money – there is no more money. But it is about a respectful relationship,” Wynne said.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath said Wynne was “finally cleaning up the mess [the Liberals] made.”

“In the meantime, for over a year now, we’ve had parents, students and educational workers dealing with chaotic situations in the classroom,” Horwath said on CityNews Channel.

Both public high school and elementary teachers withheld running after-school clubs and coaching sports to protest Bill 115, legislation that allowed the government to impose a two-year contract on them in January. Education unions say the legislation violated their right to collective bargaining and have filed court challenges.

With files from Christine Chubb