After news broke early Thursday that the final contract offer to end the Ontario college strike was doomed after a landslide vote against the deal, it seemed as though Ontario college students would not be returning to the classroom anytime soon.
But after the voting results were announced, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's office announced that the Ontario government will be tabling legislation which will effectively end the college strike immediately.
Negotitions between the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and College Employer Council (CEC) had failed, which led to the forced vote on a new contract deal. But now that the offer has been overwhelmingly rejected, Wynne met with both parties Thursday afternoon to propose a solution.
In her meeting with the OSPEU and CEC, Wynne reportedly asked "them to work together to find a path forward that would see students return to class by Monday."
According to Wynne, the Liberal government has decided to table legislation immediately to "end the dispute and return Ontario college students to the classroom where they belong."
In a press release issued Thursday afternoon, Wynne stated that with the new legislation proposed by the Ontario government, "all outstanding issues would be referred to binding mediation-arbitration."
Now, the legislation needs to be accepted by both parties. Wynne has requested both parties support the legislation as soon as possible so classes can resume Monday.
Meanwhile, the New Democratic Party (NDP) refused to allow the legislation to be passed immediately. Blocking Wynne's enforcement of the back-to-work legislation early Thursday evening, the New Democrats stated that they support the right of college staff to reach a negotiated settlement and oppose the legislation entirely, which could possibly delay the return to school until late next week.