Legislation to force striking teachers back to class

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The six-week teachers strike in Ontario will soon come to a close after controversial back-to-work legislation was tabled yesterday afternoon but unions aren’t happy and critics say it could easily cause further unrest.

“Angry. In a word, that’s the easiest thing for me to say,” Dave Barrowclough, president of Durham’s District 13 of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, expressed his frustration after hearing the news.

His union local is one of three affected by the Protecting the School Year Act which is expected to pass later this week, after the NDP refused to give consent for debate on Monday, further stalling the process.

Wynne told reporters on Monday she was "very disappointed" with the lack of NDP consent, which stopped the legislation from being passed in one day.

Education minister Liz Sandals said the legislation was a last resort, after the Education Relations Commission confirmed the school year was in jeopardy.

“Our decision to introduce back-to-work has not been taken lightly," Sandals insisted Monday. "We respect our teachers and their right to strike but this is about the government prioritizing, above all else, our students.”

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation have accused the Wynne government of taking the easy way out and say it “would rather legislate than negotiate.”

"Nothing positive can ever come out of a legislated curtailment of a union's fundamental right to bargain freely and to withdraw services when necessary," said Paul Elliott, the president of the union.

"It's clear to us that the minister's decision to ask the Education Relations Commission for a recommendation was nothing more than political cover for a government that has no real commitment to the bargaining process."
  • Lydia on 2015-05-26 9:31:32 AM

    Having been part of the game of Teachers vs Government and/or School Board over many many years, I understand why OSSTF behaves the way it does and how it plans strikes to get what they want by disrupting learning of students. Money however does not grow on trees. Teachers are paid well. They have 194 work days a year, paid sick days and personal days off for appointments, adequate planning time, excellent pension ops etc. There are better ways to negotiate successfully without using students as pawns and ticking off the taxpayers who look at this action as OSSTF's attitude of entitlement. Look into best practices for negotiations.

  • George on 2015-05-26 11:36:41 AM

    This is so troubling. The same issue occurred last year in BC and the affect was on the children and the parents that had to support them while out of school. The unions get so entrenched in their ideals and their wants they can't see the other side. The unions only want what is best for them and it has nothing to do with the best interests of the children no matter how often they say it does. It's time to get back to work!

  • Tom from Burnaby BC on 2015-05-26 12:35:03 PM

    It seems all teachers across canada are in the same mind set?

    my mother was a teacher and never experienced this rubbish.

    I don't believe she was in a union either!

  • Harry on 2015-05-26 2:00:02 PM

    The government is doing the right thing by legislating the strike end as thousands of students school year is at stake especially those going to the universities. I am happy with Wynne government at least on this action. In my opinion the teachers' services should be declared as a public services and should not be allowed to strike.

  • Tom from Burnaby BC on 2015-05-31 2:37:54 PM

    Met a teacher from Ontario recently and had an interesting conversation. Yes teachers across canada are paid well and think everyone else is also.

    Hello, come work in HR for a bit and see how complaining about nothing really just does not fit into the picture.

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