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Why Ontario Teachers Might Soon go on Strike
Ontario high school teachers, elementary school teachers, and other school staff might go on strike in October although their contract expired at the end of August. The Ontario education Unions aren’t happy with how Doug Ford is cutting important things from the education system. An example of Doug Ford’s education cuts includes increasing class sizes so that they can save money by hiring fewer teachers. This cut to the education system could cause problems since many students will feel less comfortable in a class so big and students would also get less one-on-one time with their teachers. Education organizations are speaking with the government and the countdown is on to a possible strike for the Ontario education staff.
Why Ontario Teachers Might soon go on Strike
Teachers have been on strike in Ontario a few separate times over the years. There are numerous different reasons they decide to go on strike including their wages aren’t good enough, they feel as if they aren’t being treated fairly, or maybe they’re not getting proper recourses for their classes. Despite the many reasons the teacher’s unions have decided to go on strike in the past, this school year, the unions feel as though the Ontario government isn’t doing everything they should be to sustain a comfortable learning environment for the students. They are hoping that they will be heard and the government will stop making these changes to schools in Ontario. Although the Ontario government needs to find somewhere to save money and make cuts, the education system isn’t the place to do it because most students, parents, and education staff agree that these cuts will poorly affect the way students are learning.
The Reasons the Unions Want to go on Strike
The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ERFO) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) haven’t been impressed with Ford’s governmental decisions and are trying to take action alongside the unions. The issues began with the changes in labour laws, and denial to keep full-day kindergarten (Paling. 2019). An announcement about an adjustment to our education system was made in March of 2019 about changes to the number of students that there will be in classes. It was mentioned that class sizes were going to increase. It was also said that there were going to be new elementary and math curricula and a ban on cell phones in the classroom (Boisvert. 2019).
Teachers unions have said that it’s possible that there could be teachers losing their jobs, but they were told that no teachers will be unwillingly losing their positions. But, as of April 2019, ‘CBC Toronto’ confirmed that there is a plan for 3 475 teachers to lose their teaching positions over 4 years. Getting rid of these teachers will save Ontario $851 million (Boisvert. 2019). Getting rid of some of the teachers from our school boards and replacing them with online courses is what is planned but could cause problems because online courses can be less explanatory and more confusing for students. If students need to take mandatory online courses, marks may drop especially for those who need more explaining from teachers.
Whose Idea is it to go on Strike?
The Canadian Union Of Public Employees (CUPE) were the ones to take action and issue a countdown to a possible strike. The CUPE represents around 55 000 education staff. The Elementary Teacher Federation of Ontario wants its members to vote on a strike mandate sometime late September or October (Boisvert. 2019). The president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, Sam Hammond, said that “Holding a central strike vote is one part of the legal bargaining process under Ontario labour laws” (Artuso. 2019).
ETFO members, including all elementary school teachers in Ontario schools, will be encouraged to support the union’s idea to provide greater support to students with special needs, large classrooms, keeping full-day kindergarten, and advocating fair and transparent full-time hiring practices.
What Will Happen if the Strike Takes Place
If a strike were to happen, there should be at least 22 days of notice. In the past, strikes tend to last only for a bit of time. Overall, there’s really no way of knowing exactly how long a strike can last. When Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s non-teacher staff took part in a work-to-rule action in 2015, it went on for around 4 to 6 weeks (Paling. 2019). If it does happen, it could end up being a full strike, a rotating strike, or a work-to-rule. So there is no knowing how serious this strike could be for the students and parents who will be affected by the possible strike.
If a strike is to happen, many people are hoping that it will result in the government rethinking their education cuts and consider cutting their government funding in different areas.
Although teachers and other educational staff going on strike can cause problems for individuals such as parents and students, in the past, a strike can help the unions be heard. Once the unions have tried negotiating with the government, if they haven’t reached an agreement, the unions feel that a strike is the most powerful option and will benefit Ontario education in the long run.
- Artuso, A. (2019, September 11). Ontario elementary teachers to hold strike vote. Retrieved from https://torontosun.com/news/provincial/ontario-elementary-teachers-to-hold-strike-vote
- Boisvert, N. (2019, September 12). Protests, legal fights and stalled talks: Why Ontario schools could soon face labour disruptions. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-education-timeline-1.5279683
- Paling, E. (2019, August 30). Teachers Might Strike In Ontario. Here’s What You Need To Know. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/teachers-strike-ontario-2019_ca_5d680f83e4b02bc6bb36655c
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