Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says the province paying millions to teachers' unions to compensate them for a long labour negotiation process is not unusual and that the payments are key to getting labour deals signed.
- Education minister says no receipts needed for $2.5M payout
- ETFO, Wynne to meet after union threatens to step up job action
"The reality is there is a cost associated with the negotiations," Wynne said today in an interview with CBC Radio's Metro Morning.
"It's part of the cost of getting an agreement," she told host Matt Galloway."It is not unusual that there would be a sharing of those costs."
Wynne was responding to reports the province paid more than $2.5 million to various teachers unions during labour talks.
Education Minister Liz Sandals has said the money is to compensate unions for costs incurred during the collective bargaining process.
Galloway asked Wynne if the money would come from other programs. "Absolutely not," the premier responded.
Wynne also addressed the state of labour talks with ETFO.
Although the province has reached deals with most teachers labour unions, negotiations continue with the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO). The union, which has 70,000 members, announced yesterday it would tell its members to stop supervising extracurricular activities starting next week.
"I know parents are frustrated, I know students are frustrated," said Wynne when asked about reports that some schools are filthy because support staff are working to rule, something she said is "a huge concern."
Wynne said negotiations with ETFO will continue under the parameters that there "is no new money for compensation."
'Misunderstanding' fuels protests over sex ed
The premier was also asked about the controversy surrounding Ontario's new health and physical education curriculum, which includes material on sex education that has upset some parents. Some have pulled their kids from schools saying the new curriculum gives kids too much information too soon.
Wynne said "issues of homophobia" are prompting some parents to protest (the new curriculum discusses same-sex relationships). She also said many parents are misinformed about what's actually in the curriculum.
"It's not good for communities to be divided by of a lack of understanding about what's needed to keep kids safe," she said.
Ontario doctors 'very well compensated'
During her Metro Morning interview, Wynne was asked about talks over compensation for the province's doctors, who are threatening a Charter challenge after two rounds of cuts to their fees. Some doctors have also threatened to leave the province.
Wynne said Ontario doctors are well compensated compared to other jurisdictions in Canada.
"I would say to doctors, I hope that you look around and realize that you are very well compensated compared to other jurisdictions. I know of many doctors who have left and come back."