Ontario's English Catholic teachers ratify two-year contract extension
Allison Jones, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, March 2, 2017 7:58PM EST
TORONTO - Ontario's English Catholic teachers have ratified an agreement to extend their contracts past the next provincial election.
Members of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association voted 87 per cent in favour of the two-year extension, which gives them four per cent in raises and gives the Liberal government labour peace ahead of the June 2018 vote.
The deal also allocates $67 million over the two years for hiring more teachers.
Teachers' and education workers' contracts were set to expire this August, and OECTA becomes the third major education union to ratify extensions to August 2019.
Ontario's French teachers and education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees have also voted in favour of similar deals.
Elementary teachers, high school teachers and other support staff have all reached tentative deals with the government, but have not yet ratified them.
The last round of negotiations with the education unions saw support staff and elementary teachers staging work-to-rule campaigns and the government threatening to dock their pay.
The contract extensions are all contingent on amendments to bargaining legislation, which are expected to pass soon.
Details of various contracts either made public or leaked include four per cent in raises over the two years as well as a 0.5-per-cent lump sum payment.
Their benefits are also set to rise by four per cent each year of the deal.
CUPE's deal also included a commitment from the government to invest $115 million over the two years in special education and hiring office, clerical, technical and custodial workers.
The tentative deal for the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario included a commitment from the government to invest $89 million over the two years for school boards to hire special education teachers and for occasional teachers' professional development, early years special education support, and support for indigenous students, at-risk students and English-language learners.
ETFO's deal also includes an agreement from the government to cap full-day kindergarten classes at 30 students next year and 29 the year after. Currently, each school board must have an average full-day kindergarten class size of 26, but there is no cap.