Ontario reaches tentative agreement with Catholic school teachers

As Tina Yazdani reports, the Ford government’s latest education deal will mean no teacher strikes at any publicly-funded school for the next three years.

The Ford government has reached a tentative agreement with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA).

The union that represents 45,000 teachers said the agreement was made after more than 20 months of negotiations and specific details will be kept confidential until the deal is ratified.

The teachers are expected to participate in a province-wide vote on March 26 and 27. If ratified, it will ensure no teacher job action or strikes in English-language Catholic publicly funded schools for the next three years.

“By keeping children learning in class with the full school experience of extracurricular activities, sports, and clubs, we are restoring a much needed focus on academics and protecting important routine for kids,” read a statement from Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

OECTA said in a statement the agreement is further proof that “free and fair collective bargaining works.”

“We want to thank Catholic teachers, as well as the students and families we serve, for their patience during this exceptionally long bargaining period,” added OECTA.

“Our goal as always is to reach the best possible deal to better support all students and teachers, and to address key issues facing publicly funded schools in our communities across Ontario.”

Officials say the structure of the tentative deal for the OECTA is similar to those agreed to with the other major teachers’ unions, which sent outstanding matters such as salary to binding arbitration.

Ontario’s public elementary teachers reached a deal with the Ford government last November while the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-Ontarians (AEFO), representing elementary and secondary teachers at French-language school boards, are awaiting ratification of an agreement reached last month.

OECTA was the last of the major teachers’ unions to reach a deal.

With files from The Canadian Press

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