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Ontario high school teachers hold job action as contract talks stall

Striking teachers of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation walk the picket line outside of Northern Secondary School in Toronto on Dec. 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Schools in 16 boards across Ontario — including the Durham District School Board — will be closed on Wednesday, as the union representing public high school teachers holds another one-day strike.

It is the fifth job action in the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation’s (OSSTF) series of rotating strikes during a contentious round of bargaining with the province.

The union, which represents 60,000 teachers and education workers, began one-day walkouts on Dec. 4 with a job action that closed schools across the province.

It has followed up with weekly rotating strikes that have closed all secondary schools and some elementary schools at the affected boards. In addition to representing high school teachers, the OSSTF represents education workers at some elementary schools.

Teachers were angered when the government announced that average high school class sizes would increase and four e-learning courses would be mandatory for graduation. The government has since scaled back those proposals, but OSSTF president Harvey Bischof has said it’s not enough.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has repeatedly said the key sticking point is compensation, with the union demanding a roughly two-per-cent wage increase and the government offering one per cent.

January 15 Job Action Fact Sheet_Jan10_2020 by CityNewsToronto on Scribd