Toronto

Lecce repeats commitment to 'maintain full-day kindergarten,' a sticking point in talks with teachers' union

Education Minister Stephen Lecce on Thursday said the province will maintain Ontario’s full-day kindergarten program, one of a number of contentious issues between government and teachers’ unions.

EFTO president says commitment still not in collective agreement language

'Our government has put forward reasonable proposals at the negotiating table, including a commitment to maintain full-day kindergarten,' Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce wrote in a statement on Thursday. (Christopher Katsarov/Canadian Press)

Education Minister Stephen Lecce on Thursday said the province will maintain Ontario's full-day kindergarten program, one of a number of contentious issues between government and teachers' unions.

"Our government has put forward reasonable proposals at the negotiating table, including a commitment to maintain full-day kindergarten," Lecce wrote in a statement regarding continued escalation by the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

"It is deeply disappointing parents are still seeing repeated escalation at the expense of our students to advance higher compensation, including more generous benefit plans."

The minister's promise regarding full-day kindergarten appears not to have broken the current standoff in bargaining with ETFO — one of four education unions currently staging job actions.

Lecce has repeatedly said that the government has committed to full-day kindergarten.

In an interview with CBC Radio's Metro Morning earlier this week, however, ETFO President Sam Hammond refuted that assertion. Hammond said that despite Lecce's public comments, there is still no explicit commitment in the current language of the collective agreement.

The government's current position is a significant change from 2019.

While answering reporters' questions following a health-care announcement January last year, Premier Doug Ford, would not guarantee that full-day kindergarten would continue beyond the next school year.

In recent days, that CBC News story, published Jan. 30, 2019, has been shared widely on social media.

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