Ontario education strike: Lecce speaks at early morning debate


Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce honed in on his mantra to “keep kids in school” at an early morning debate in an effort to push by way of anti-strike laws that might cease 55,000 education staff from strolling off the job on Friday.

The legislature met at 5 a.m. immediately for the second studying of the “Keeping Students in Schools Act,” which goals to impose a four-year contract on education staff and bar them from hanging.

“Right now is a critical time for our students. Right now, our students need uninterrupted in-class learning,” Lecce mentioned throughout his hour lengthy opening assertion on Tuesday morning.

His remarks largely targeted on the need to “keep kids in school” after two years of pandemic disrupted studying and made little point out of the assist employees sitting on the opposite aspect of the bargaining desk.

“Young people carried the weight of this pandemic as their lives were put on hold,” he mentioned.

The provincial authorities is aiming to get this laws handed earlier than Friday’s deliberate strike. Lecce launched the laws Monday after an emergency mediated session the day earlier than between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the province, a mediator and faculty board representatives did not yield a deal.

Lecce mentioned it’s the Progressive Conservative’s “moral obligation” to introduce this laws because it brings “stability” to college students and protects their proper to be taught.

“I’m concerned about the impacts of the shutdown … we cannot afford more disruption,” the education minister mentioned. 


Members of Ontario’s legislature opposing the anti-strike bill mentioned it was “horrendous” that the typical wage of a employee within the CUPE bargaining unit asking for a wage bump is $39,000 as inflation enters into double digits.

They additionally pointed to the province’s 27-week closure of school rooms, which they famous because the “worst record during the pandemic of any province,” as the federal government’s fault guilty – not the education staff.

“This is a debate about the fundamentals of our democracy,” Spadina-Fort York MPP Chris Glover mentioned in response to the federal government’s intention to invoke the however clause, which permits the provincial legislature to override parts of the constitution.

In this case, the province is aiming to push by way of their anti-strike bill and stop constitutional challenges, which Glover known as a “slippery slope” that he finds “extremely frightening.”

Noting that almost all of education staff are ladies, Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky mentioned the laws put ahead is in impact “bullying women.”

“What this is saying to every woman in the province, is what they’ve been saying for centuries, centuries, to women. Just go sit in the corner and be quiet,” she mentioned. 

Laura Walton, the president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, mentioned the struggle is “far from over.”

“I think what we need to remember is that if this truly was about ensuring a good deal, if this was about preventing a strike, there’s so many other options than stripping away the charter rights and the human rights of workers. This clearly shows what the minister has intended all the way along,” Walton instructed CP24 Tuesday morning.


Despite the potential laws, CUPE, which represents custodians, librarians, early childhood educators, education assistants, and administrative employees at Ontario’s English and French public and Catholic boards, says its members will nonetheless stroll off the job on Friday for a one-day protest.

Both the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board mentioned they are going to be closed to in-person studying on Friday if the walkout goes forward as deliberate. The English public and Catholic boards in Durham additionally plan to do the identical.

Ontario’s education staff have been and not using a collective settlement since Aug. 31 and regardless of a number of rounds of talks, a brand new one has but to be negotiated.

Among different issues, CUPE desires a yearly wage improve of $3.25/hour (11.7 per cent), early childhood educators in each kindergarten class, 5 extra paid days earlier than the beginning of the varsity 12 months, half-hour of paid every day prep time, a rise in time beyond regulation pay, and a $100 million funding in new job creation.

The Ford authorities’s newest supply, proposed at an emergency mediated session Sunday afternoon, is a four-year deal that features a 2.5 per cent annual elevate for staff who make underneath $43,000, and a 1.5 per cent yearly wage improve for many who make extra. This is up from their preliminary supply of annual will increase of a two per cent elevate for staff who make lower than $40,000 and a 1.25 per cent elevate in any other case.

In early October, CUPE introduced its members had voted 96.5 per cent in favour of strolling off the job if a contract settlement couldn’t be reached with the provincial authorities.

The union then requested the Ontario Ministry of Labour to grant what is called a no-board report, which signifies that a board of conciliation won’t be appointed. That go-ahead, which allowed the employees to legally stroll off the job in 17 days (Nov. 3), was given on Oct. 17. Five days discover have to be given earlier than the union can go on strike.

Last week, mediated negotiations started between the 2 sides, however broke down after simply two days.

All 5 of Ontario’s key education unions are presently within the midst of bargaining with the province after their contracts expired on Aug. 31.

More to come back. This is a growing story.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here