Toronto

English Catholic teachers vote in favour of strike action

Members of the union that represents teachers in Ontario’s publicly funded English Catholic schools from kindergarten to Grade 12 have voted in favour of authorizing a strike action.

OECTA not yet in legal strike position

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association announced Wednesday that 97.1 per cent of its members voted in favour of a strike. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Members of the union that represents teachers in Ontario's publicly funded English Catholic schools from kindergarten to Grade 12 have voted in favour of authorizing a strike action. 

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) announced Wednesday that 97.1 per cent of its members voted in favour of a strike.

"The message we have sent to the government is loud and clear: Catholic teachers will not accept any agreement that would be detrimental to learning and working conditions in our schools," said OECTA president Liz Stuart in a statement.

"The government will try to portray this as teachers escalating tensions, but the reality is they have created this situation by continuing to pursue their reckless cuts to education," the statement reads. 

"We know Ontarians do not approve of the Ford government's agenda — it is time for the government to stop casting blame and instead get serious about making the proper investments in our world-class system of publicly funded education." 

The union says it is not yet in a legal strike position, so negotiations with the province will continue for now. 

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in a statement that OECTA is "escalating at a time parents want us to focus on getting a deal that provides predictability for families.

"Strike action caused by unions could mean school closures, disruption, and uncertainty for students and parents," he said.

"I support a deal, not a strike. Our team remains unequivocal in our determination to land deals with our labour partners, as we did successfully with CUPE, to provide predictability and certainty to parents, and to keep our kids in the classroom."

Labour unrest has been bubbling throughout the education sector in recent months. Doug Ford's government managed to reach a last-minute deal to avert a strike by CUPE school support workers last month.

Ontario's public elementary school teachers will be in a legal strike position on Nov. 25, after the union representing them received what's known as a "no board notice" from the Ministry of Labour.

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