Union says Waterloo Region high school teachers could strike by April 27

Public high school teachers in Waterloo Region could be on strike "in the upcoming weeks" if they are unable to negotiate a new contract with the local school board.
High school teachers in Waterloo Region could strike as early as April 27. (Getty Images)

Public high school teachers in Waterloo Region could be on strike "in the upcoming weeks" if they are unable to negotiate a new contract with the local school board. 

On Wednesday, the local bargaining unit of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, District 24, requested a no board report from their assigned conciliator. If granted, the no board report would essentially pave the way for either a strike or a lockout.

"It usually takes three to five days for such a report to be issued," said District 24 President Sherry Freund in an email. "After that, a 17 day clock begins to a legal strike position."

That could put Waterloo Region public high school teachers in a legal strike or lockout position by April 27, according to Freund. 

District 24 is one of seven school boards in Ontario that could be in a legal strike position by the end of the month.

On Mar. 14, OSSTF President Paul Elliott said that "these seven Districts are moving closer to a full withdrawal of services by the end of April at the very latest."

Freund said the members of District 24 would prefer a settlement to a strike.

She said the public will be notified when the no board report is issued.

OSSTF filed for conciliation on Feb. 25

According to an update on the Waterloo Region District School Board's website dated Mar. 16, bargaining between the province and the OSSTF began last fall. 

The school board said that, on Feb. 25, District 24 filed for local conciliation with the Ministry of Labour.

"It's important to note that, although conciliation is a normal part of the collective bargaining process, it is also a step toward possible strike action."

The WRDSB said that, in the case of a strike, the board would immediately contact affected students and their caregivers.