Ottawa high school students are taking the announcement that their teachers can resume extra-curricular activities with a grain of salt, as it doesn’t mean the return of every program.
Teachers had been protesting against a provincial bill that removed their right to strike under the direction of their union from autumn until Monday, when Ken Coran of the Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers Federation (OSSTF) asked them to start helping again.
However, many teachers said via social media they were frustrated the province didn't give anything back for their concession and the union didn't ask them for their input.
Some Ottawa high school students said they're skeptical things will return to normal.
"This happened at the beginning of the year, they said they were coming back and they didn't," said Andrea Capello.
"They basically ruined our Grade 12 year by taking away extra-curriculars," said Sarah Lenahan of Nepean High School.
Union head hopes holdouts eventually come around
Coran said the decision whether to help or not will be up to individual teachers.
"I would predict that, as things are known and as things evolve, more and more of the people who are holding back on those decisions to return to voluntary extracurricular activities . . . will likely come on board and resume," he said.
Coran said Ontario's new premier and education minister have made a commitment to help better labour relations with teachers.
The protests over Bill 115 affected sports and after-school activities, requiring parents or other volunteers to coach or supervise.
Students would sometimes organize extra-curricular activities themselves, but many were cancelled outright.
Elementary teachers' union to make decision by Friday
Ottawa's elementary school teachers are still boycotting extra-curriculars.
Peter Giuliani, head of the local Elementary Teachers’ Federation (ETF) chapter, told CBC Ottawa's Steve Fischer their union will decide by Friday if they'll make the same recommendation.
The ETF has been doing its own negotiating with the province throughout the dispute, according to Giuliani, and hasn't been in 'lockstep" with the high school union.
Fischer said the protest is having less of an impact at the elementary school level because parents get heavily involved in their child's extra-curriculars anyway.