Ontario is one step closer to an elementary teacher's strike today as the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) received a ‘no board’ report.
A "No Board Report" is filed by the conciliator if the process of conciliation fails in contract talks. Filing the report triggers a 17-day cooling-off period before a strike/lockout deadline.
Rob Hammond, ETFO President, Near North Teacher's Local told BayToday that it's unfortunate that it got to the point of filing the no board report.
"It means the government is not willing to move on any of the major issues regarding kindergarten, students with special needs, class sizes and violence in the classroom. they're just not prepared to negotiate on any of that."
The no board report puts ETFO in a legal strike position as of Nov. 25.
"That doesn't mean we've left the bargaining table. We're still there. We're willing to negotiate. It's just whether the government is willing to change its positions. It doesn't mean we're going to walk off the job"
A strike locally would affect 454 workers says Hammond.
He says he's hoping it doesn't reach that point.
"The government spin doctors are working things that they are putting money in but there's no new money. They're still about 50 million behind on special ed funding that they didn't provide for. That's hurting us as well in our system. It's overtaxed and underfunded."
Meanwhile, ETFO President Sam Hammond says, “While ETFO is now in a legal position to take strike action in 17 days, we will continue to focus on contract talks in an attempt to arrive at a deal that improves student learning conditions and educator working conditions.
“Doug Ford and his Minister of Education Stephen Lecce have let everyone – parents, students, and educators – down. This government doesn’t seem to care about students with special needs, our youngest learners in Kindergarten, larger elementary class sizes and fewer elementary teachers in schools."
ETFO represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province.
"Let's just hope we can get some kind of settlement," says Rob Hammond. "A strike doesn't help anybody."