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Public elementary teachers could be on rotating strikes Jan. 20

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is escalating strike action starting Monday, Jan. 13 by no longer supervising extra-curricular activities unless scheduled within the regular school day. Field trips are also off the table.

If the government does not address critical issues by Jan. 17, the federation states it will begin rotating strikes, beginning Jan. 20. Five days advance notice of which boards or schools affected will be given, as required by the Ministry of Labour.

“In six months of contract talks, the Ford government’s education minister has given his negotiators no mandate to discuss anything other than cuts to education including a $150 million cut to public elementary education,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond, in a statement. “That’s why there has been negligible progress on substantive issues like supports for Special Education, protecting the Kindergarten model, addressing classroom-based violence and compensation that keeps up with the cost of inflation.”

“The government representatives have confirmed that they have no mandate to negotiate issues beyond cuts. They have met with ETFO for a very limited time on each of the 22 days of bargaining since August making it obvious that there is no intention or ability for them to address serious issues affecting the education of elementary students and educators.”

In a statement Thursday Education Minister Stephen Lecce said union leaders promised their escalation would not impact students and their learning, “they have now broken that promise.”

The teachers have been staging an administrative work-to-rule campaign since November.

Ontario’s secondary school teachers began rotating strikes in Decmeber. The union representing Catholic teachers also began a work-to-rule campaign this week. UPDATE: The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) has announced a one-day, province-wide, walkout for Tuesday, Jan. 21.

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