Ontario Catholic teachers reach tentative deal with province

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association has reached a tentative labour deal with the provincial government, making it the first of four major teachers' unions to get an agreement with Doug Ford's government.
Liz Stuart, president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, announced Thursday her union has struck a tentative deal with the province. (Mike Crawley/CBC)

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) has reached a tentative labour deal with the provincial government.

Liz Stuart, OECTA's president, said the union will suspend all strike action until members vote on the agreement. That's set to happen on April 7 and 8, the union said.

No terms of the agreement were released. 

OECTA represents some 45,000 elementary and secondary teachers in the publicly funded Catholic school system.

The deal makes OECTA the first of the four major teachers' unions to reach an agreement in a highly contentious round of bargaining.

Today was the fifth day in a row that OECTA had been in talks.

Meanwhile, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is negotiating with the government for the second day in a row, after talks went late into the evening Wednesday. ETFO also announced Thursday it would suspend rotating strike action, set to begin on March 23, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bargaining resumed with all unions except the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation after Education Minister Stephen Lecce made recent concessions on two key issues.

The government offered to increase average high school class sizes from 22 last year to 23 next year instead of the government's original target of 28, and allow an opt-out for e-learning courses it previously said would be mandatory.

With files from The Canadian Press


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