Ottawa

OCDSB schools to remain open during work-to-rule action

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board says its schools will remain open if the union representing elementary school teachers follows through with work-to-rule job action later this month.

Union wants to 'turn up the heat' on Ford government

OCDSB sent an email to parents on Thursday, assuring them that schools would remain open during any work-to-rule action. (CBC)

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board says its schools will remain open if the union representing elementary school teachers follows through with work-to-rule job action later this month.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced Thursday it's preparing teachers for the potential strike action to begin Nov. 26. 

The federation said 98 per cent of members voted for the job action, which they say targets administrative tasks and won't affect children. 

OCDSB later sent an email to parents assuring them that schools would remain open during any such undertaking.

"While we know the ETFO 'work-to-rule' will have some impact, our schools will remain open and classes are expected to continue as scheduled," the email reads.

Members of the ETFO are being told not to complete first-term report cards, not to participate in any professional learning from their school board or the ministry outside of school hours, and not to do any online training run by the ministry.

Teachers are also being told not to take part in any school board activities on professional activity (PA) days and not to respond to any emails from administrators outside of school hours — unless they concern safety, support for students with special needs, or requests for a supply teacher to accept a job.

Expired contract

Provincial contracts with a number of education sector unions expired Aug. 31.The vote on possible job action came after the union said that negotiations with the province had stalled.

ETFO said its job action will be incremental, and the work-to-rule will continue either until the union deems it necessary to ramp up the strike or a new contract is reached.

Sam Hammond, ETFO president, said earlier this month that members voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

"Our goal is to turn up the heat on Premier [Doug] Ford and his education minister, Stephen Lecce," said Sam Hammond, ETFO president, in a news release.

"It's critical that they finally come to contract talks prepared to address the real issues of concern: more supports for students with special needs, the protection of Ontario's Kindergarten program and critical issues like addressing violence in schools."

Possible strike looming

Three of the four major teachers' unions, including the elementary teachers, are taking steps toward potential strikes as they negotiate with the government for new contracts.

Elementary teachers will be in a legal strike position on Nov. 25, and high school teachers will be in a legal strike position next week, although they haven't yet submitted the required five-day strike notice.

Catholic teachers have voted 97 per cent in favour of a strike but aren't yet in a legal strike position, while talks between the government and French teachers continue.

ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.

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