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Ontario elementary teachers to launch new phase of work-to-rule campaign

Ontario elementary school teachers are preparing to ramp-up ongoing work-to-rule action next week by further withdrawing certain administrative duties, according to a report published Tuesday.

Contract negotiations with province fell apart after 8 months

High schools teachers were forced back to work after their strike was ruled illegal, but elementary teachers are ramping up job action. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

Ontario elementary school teachers are preparing to ramp-up ongoing work-to-rule action next week by further withdrawing certain administrative duties. 

A confidential update sent out by the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario to members last night says the second round of the campaign will begin June 1. 

Beginning next Monday, teachers will no longer:

  • Complete any paperwork, applications or proposals to the Ministry of Education for special grants or funding.
  • Participate in the preparation or completion of Grade 8 to Grade 9 transition reports.
  • Participate in any grade-to-grade transition meetings.
  • Complete end of year Ontario Student Record (OSR) activities including filing, sorting and completion of French cards.
  • Participate in any in-school meetings or professional learning activities on the end of year Professional Activity (PA) day.
  • Book any field trips for the 2015-16 instructional year.

The first round of the work-to-rule campaign began on May 11 as negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement with the province stalled after eight months.

As part of that phase, teachers refused to work on standardized testing; add written comments on report cards; and attend staff and other meetings. 

The ETFO represents about 76,000 teachers, and their campaign has affected all 32 of the province's public English-speaking school boards.

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'Very angry,' high school teachers say

Ontario high school teachers are "very angry" about the government's proposed legislation to force some striking teachers back to work and could be in a position for a province-wide legal strike by September.

Speaking to CBC's Metro Morning Tuesday, Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation President Paul Elliot said that a fully strike could happen before the new school year if negotiations with the province remain unsuccessful over the summer. 

"I don't see a regular start to the school year at all," he said, adding that his organization will be willing to sit down at the bargaining table during the summer holiday to resolve numerous ongoing issues. 

"To say teachers are not happy is an understatement. I would say they are very angry."

This week, the provincial government introduced legislation to force secondary teachers striking in three boards — Durham, Peel and Rainbow —back to work. Barring procedural delays by the NDP, the bill could pass by Thursday and students could be back in school by next week.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Ontario Labour Relations board ruled the strike action illegal, and all three school boards announced students would go back to school.

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