Ontario teachers expand strikes to 3 new districts
1-day walkouts to hit Barrie, Peterborough, Guelph on Friday in ongoing strikes
Ontario's elementary teachers, who are continuing one-day walkouts in two regions today, have announced three new school districts targeted for day-long walkouts on Friday.
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced Tuesday that teachers will not be in classes in these districts on Friday:
- Simcoe (Barrie and surrounding areas).
- Kawartha Pine Ridge (includes Peterborough, the Kawarthas and areas along Lake Ontario between the eastern edge of Oshawa and Trenton).
- Upper Grand (Guelph and areas north including Orangeville and Fergus).
The strikes are part of an ongoing series of rotating one-day walkouts across the province.
On Tuesday, elementary school staff in the Niagara and Keewatin-Patricia school districts are set to walk out.
Elementary teachers in Ottawa-Carleton, Lakehead in Thunder Bay and Hastings-Prince Edward school districts will walk out on Wednesday.
The one-day strikes will move to school districts in Toronto's York Region, Trillium Lakelands and Renfrew on Thursday.
The governing Liberals have the power to end the strikes, but Premier Dalton McGuinty has said they won't intervene unless the walkouts go beyond one day.
When speaking with reporters on Tuesday, the premier said that if the teachers cannot reach agreement with the government, they should resolve their differences in court.
"They say they want to take us to court, so why don’t we leave this matter to court, then," McGuinty said.
"Why do we have to involve our students in this? I just don’t think we do and nor do I think we should."
The government has said it has legal documents ready to stop any strikes should they stretch beyond a single school day.
The premier has argued that with Ontario facing a $14.4-billion deficit, the province can't afford pay hikes for teachers.
The union has said teachers are not striking over pay, but in protest of a controversial new law that gives the government the power to stop strikes and impose a new collective agreement on staff.