Ontario public high school teachers are ready to strike, if necessary

Three of four Ontario teachers' unions are taking steps towards potential strikes

Public high school teachers in the province are prepared to walk off the job if current contract talks with the Ford government end up going nowhere.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation said today that 95.5 per cent of high school and occasional teachers voted in favour of a strike, while 92 per cent of education workers did the same thing.

“Our members have given us the strong strike mandate that we requested, ” said Harvey Bischoff, President of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.

Bischof said they have four days of negotiations scheduled this week. He said the union gave notice to bargain almost seven months ago and is still waiting for even one meaningful, serious response to key proposals that address the quality of publicly funded education in Ontario.

OSSTF is in a legal strike position as of today, though it’s also required to give five days notice before a strike and has not done so.

Hours before the strike vote was announced, Education Minister Stephen Lecce urged the province’s teachers’ unions to enter into mediation. Ontario’s Catholic teachers’ said Monday they are seeking conciliation in their talks, which is another step in the process to be in a legal strike position.

Public elementary teachers are slated to start a work-to-rule campaign a week from today. They say the action will target the ministry and school board administrative tasks but won’t impact student learning.