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Ontario English Catholic Teachers reach agreement

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TORONTO, March 13, 2020 — Some good news came for Ontarians amid the storm of cancellations due to COVID-19 yesterday. One of the four major teachers unions has reached a tentative agreement with the province.

Ontario English Catholic Teachers reach agreement

Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, announced a tentative agreement yesterday with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) representing about 45,000 elementary and secondary teachers within the publicly funded Catholic school system.

Stephen Lecce, Ontario Minister of Education

“We are pleased to announce a tentative agreement has been reached between the Crown, OECTA, and the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, the first agreement with a teachers’ union in this round of collective bargaining, that will ensure stability for our kids and their parents,” said Lecce.

Liz Stuart, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association – Ontario English Catholic Teachers reach agreement

Liz Stuart, OECTA’s president, said “Effective immediately, all OECTA strike action is suspended during the ratification process.” That vote is set to happen on April 7 and 8, the union said.

Details of the agreement remain confidential pending ratification.

“Our Government achieved our foremost priority – landing a good deal with a teachers’ union that advances the priorities of students and parents,” said Lecce.

Lecce goes on to say that “As part of our Government’s singular focus to ending this impasse, we took action to advance the priorities of students and parents and provide fairness to teachers. I would like to thank the mediator from the Ministry of Labour for their assistance in having all parties reach this tentative agreement.”

This tentative deal will make OECTA the first of the four major teachers’ unions to reach an agreement with the province

Meanwhile, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is in continuing negotiations with the province and also announced Thursday it would suspend rotating strike action, set to begin on March 23, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The time is now to drive deals with all remaining union partners as parents expect action, not delays,” Lecce said. “We agree and will remain a positive and driving force at the bargaining table, advancing the priorities of parents and students.”

All unions except the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation are continuing to negotiate after Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce made recent concessions on the key issues of class size and e-learning.

The revised proposal from the Government of Ontario was to increase average high school class sizes by only one student, from 22 to 23 next year as opposed to the original proposal of 28, and allow parents and students the choice of opting out of e-learning while the government initially wanted to make it mandatory.

Other articles from totimes.ca and mtltimes.ca

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