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Teachers in Ontario's French system start work-to-rule campaign

Last Updated Jan 16, 2020 at 9:31 am EST

Vacant desks are pictured at the front of a empty classroom. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Teachers in Ontario’s French school system are starting a work-to-rule campaign on Thursday, meaning they will no longer be completing some administrative duties.

The union, known by its initials AEFO, said this is only the first phase of its job action.

The move means all the major unions representing the province’s teachers are now taking part in some form of labour action.

The union representing the province’s elementary teachers said it’s given the requisite notice to hold its second day of rotating strikes on Tuesday, affecting four boards outside of the GTA.

Teachers were outraged last year when the Progressive Conservative 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 plans, but union officials have said that it’s not enough.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce maintains the key sticking point in talks is compensation.

On Wednesday, Lecce announced plans to compensate parents of children affected by rotating strikes, in a move union leaders characterized as a “bribe.”

Under the plan, parents whose kids aren’t yet enrolled in school but attend school-based child-care centres affected by the strikes will get the most money, while those with children in grades 1 through 7 will get the least. While parents of secondary school students won’t get any funding, those with children with special needs up to age 21 will get $40 per day.

Lecce said the funding is intended to ensure students “remain cared for” during the labour actions being staged by the province’s four major teacher unions.

The announcement was met with swift condemnation from the leaders of several teachers’ unions.