Tensions between the province and Ontario’s education workers appear to be escalating, as the union representing elementary educators has now announced a one-day rotating strike to be held on Monday. This is the latest in a series of school strikes in Ontario, as teaching staff go head-to-head with the provincial government. The strike announcement also comes on a day when Ottawa secondary institutions are closed for teacher strikes. 

According to reports on Wednesday morning, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) will walk off the job on Monday in Ottawa-Carleton and other education boards in the Toronto area, if a deal between the union and the province cannot be reached by Friday.

The union is required by law to give five days advanced notice before strike action begins.

An internal memo sent on Wednesday morning to the 83,000 members of the ETFO reportedly stated “Unless the government makes an immediate effort to engage in serious talks, ETFO will have no option but to further escalate our strike action.”

Currently, there are no meetings or discussions scheduled to take place between the two sides.

This latest strike is now scheduled just one day before Tuesday’s province-wide walkout by the 45,000-member Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, which includes both elementary and secondary staff.

This is the latest development as more than 200,000 members of teaching staff across the province are taking action, from one-day strikes to the cancellation of field trips, sports tournaments and extracurricular activities.

On Wednesday, all secondary schools in the Ottawa-Carleton district have closed, due to a strike by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF). The Ottawa Citizen reports that elementary schools are joining in the closure today. 

Closures have also led to cancellations of co-ops, Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) and dual credit courses, as well as the cancellation of after-class activities, field trips, clubs and all tests scheduled for the day.

As for elementary students, according to the Toronto Star, the ETFO memo explains that several boards will be impacted by the elementary school strike on Monday, January 20.

This will include the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, Toronto board, Toronto Catholic board and York Region board.

The union action comes after the Ford government announced classes would be increasing in sizes for grades 9 to 12, and four e-learning courses would become mandatory for graduation.

While the province has since scaled back those proposals, OSSTF says this is not enough.

Unions are now calling for a wage increase of roughly 2%, while the government is currently offering just 1%.

*The images in this article's cover photo was used for illustrative purposes only.

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