Toronto, Jan. 09, 2020 - The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA)
is greatly disappointed that collective bargaining discussions with the government
and the Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association have broken down.
"Our Association has been able to work with the Catholic school trustees to make
progress on a number of important issues, but thus far the government has not played
a constructive role," says OECTA President Liz Stuart. "The government has been
firm that they have no intention of reconsidering their reckless, unpopular cuts.
We came to the table ready to work through today and tomorrow, but after only half-a-day,
even the Ministry of Labour-appointed conciliator agrees there is not much more
we can accomplish for the time being."
With no deal having been reached, OECTA members across the province will be taking
administrative job action beginning Monday, January 13. As part of the job action,
Catholic teachers will not be completing report cards, participating in EQAO-related
activities, and attending or participating in Ministry of Education initiatives,
among other things.
"Ontarians understand that the government's cuts are completely unacceptable to
Catholic teachers," says Stuart. "We are already seeing consequences in schools
across Ontario. We simply cannot and will not accept an agreement that would result
in thousands of teaching positions and tens of thousands of course options being
eliminated, classes growing to 40 students or more, and vital services and supports
for vulnerable students being lost. At some point, the government needs to acknowledge
that the ball is in their court to do the right thing. They keep saying they are
being reasonable and working on behalf of Ontarians, but today we have seen yet
again that they are content to waste everyone's time and resources without engaging
in any meaningful way. Until we see some evidence to the contrary, Ontarians can
only assume that this government actually has no intention of negotiating an agreement."
OECTA represents the 45,000 passionate and qualified teachers in Ontario's publicly
funded English Catholic schools, from Kindergarten to Grade 12.