Aug 15, 2023

By Jane Brown

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Ontario’s education minister has responded to a call by both the public elementary and secondary school teachers federations to hold strike votes this fall.

Stephen Lecce is doing the rounds in the media saying it’s unfair to create instability for parents with just three weeks to go until students return to classrooms.

“If there’s a will, there’s a way and this government is determined to get this deal. Our premiers determined to keep these kids in school and so am I,” Lecce explained, “And I’m not going to lose faith or hope on that pathway if we just stay united and focus on the welfare of children.”

Lecce says his government has been bargaining in good faith, meeting more than 170 times with representatives with all education unions.

But Karen Littlewood, president of the Ontario Secondary school Teachers Federation, says teachers have been without a contract since August of last year.

“We’re feeling very frustrated, we have a government with billions of dollars in a contingency, billions of dollars under spent in the province, not just on education, but healthcare, and look at what’s happened in healthcare. We have emergency rooms closing,” Littlewood expressed.

The president of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario is saying much the same.

Karen Brown told members in a speech at their annual general meeting that after a year of trying to negotiate a new contract, the Federation’s “patience has run out.”

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