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Ontario reaches tentative deal with English-language public elementary teachers

Ontario has reached a tentative deal with English-language public elementary teachers, averting a possible strike.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce confirmed the deal in a social media post on Tuesday morning.

“This agreement brings us one step closer to ensuring there will be no province-wide job actions or strikes in all English-language public schools for the next three years,” he said.

The new tentative central agreement will impact about 80,000 teacher and occasional teachers across the province.

The minister said that some issues will be going to binding arbitration, although it is unclear what those outstanding issues are.

“I want to respect the process,” Lecce told reporters at Queen’s Park.

“I just think it’s a fair outcome for the member certainly but it’s really good for kids, because they get three years of peace three additional years of peace, which is a big outcome for a lot of parents in Ontario.”

Karen Brown, president of ETFO, said that after 14 months of bargaining she is “pleased” to bring the new agreement to members later this week. Members had previously voted 95 per cent in favour of a strike.

“This has been the longest round of central bargaining in ETFO’s history, but we persisted. We remained focused on getting government cuts off the table and on addressing members’ working conditions, which are students’ learning conditions.”

A ratification vote will be scheduled shortly.

Last month the province agreed to give some elementary education workers retroactive salary increases to compensate for wage caps under Bill 124. For workers represented by ETFO and the Ontario School Board Council of Unions, this amounts to 0.75 per cent retroactive compensation increases for 2019-20 and 2020-21, and an amount between 1.5 per cent and 3.25 per cent for 2021-2022.

An arbitrator will decide the exact amount for that third year.

Education workers represented by ETFO ratified their contracts in October while Ontario secondary teachers remain in arbitration with the province.

Ontario’s Catholic and French-language teachers are still in negotiations with the Doug Ford government.

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