After the Ontario college strike entered its third week Monday, many students and striking faculty thought that the end was nowhere in sight. Failed attempts to initiate negotiations led to rallies and marches across the province. 

But today, everything might change because talks are set to begin for the first time since the strike began on October 15. Advanced Education Minister Deb Matthews announced Wednesday that both sides of the strike - Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the College Employer Council - will begin talks today. 

After initially stating that the Ministry had to remain out of negotiations and let the bargaining process work for itself, Matthews stated earlier today that the talks are "an important step forward, but I’m going to continue to urge both parties to actually negotiate an agreement. Students should be back in the classroom … as quickly as possible." 

According to reports, Matthews would not make a comment as to why the mediator overseeing the talks called both sides back to negotiate. She also wouldn't clarify if one or both of the parties had made concessions or changes to their position to end the stalemate. 

The Ontario Public Sector Employees Union is hopeful that the colleges have changed aspects of their position, since the mediator had said there wouldn’t be a return to the table unless one party’s position had changed.

Hundreds of students gathered at Ontario legislature yesterday to push negotiations to resume. But once they discovered that talks would resume, their attention has turned from getting talks to happen, to now pushing for the strike to end by this week. 

Source: Global News

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