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$7.1M paid out to parents by province during Ontario teachers' strikes so far

Last Updated Feb 11, 2020 at 6:31 pm EDT

Ontario's minister of education Stephen Lecce speaks during a press conference to announce a tentative deal reached with CUPE in Toronto, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

The provincial government says they have paid out a total of $7.1 million so far to parents dealing with child care costs during the Ontario teachers’ strikes.

Over 560,000 parents have applied for support during rotating one-day strikes by all four teacher’s unions, according to new numbers released to CityNews by the Ministry of Education.

The Ministry of Education announced back in January that they would provide parents with a credit of up to $60 for when strike actions close schools or school-based child care centres.

If you would like more information on how to apply, you can find more information here. Parents have up to four weeks to apply for compensation after the labour disruption has ended.

One-day strikes have continued this week, including on Thursday when three unions, Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (EFTO), Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) and Association des Enseignantes et des Enseignants Franco-Ontariens (AEFO) will be holding strikes.

The province came under fire last week after it was revealed by CityNews some parents had been overpaid. The Ministry said it was due to an error when calculating the number of days that schools have been closed.

The union representing teachers in the French system announced Tuesday it had agreed to return to the table Wednesday for one day of talks ahead of its first scheduled province-wide strike set for Thursday.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said compensation is the main issue in the labour dispute, and teachers are calling for higher wages at the expense of their students.

Unions are asking for wage increases of around two per cent to keep up with inflation, but the government passed legislation last year capping wage hikes for all public sector workers at one per cent for three years. The teachers’ unions and several others are fighting the law in court, arguing it infringes on collective bargaining rights.

EFTO has also asked for the government to increase supports for students with special needs and address violence in classrooms.