Labour Relations Update - November 07, 2019

Collective agreements for all employee groups in the Ontario education sector, except for principals and vice-principals, expired on August 31. The negotiation process is divided into central and local negotiations. Central negotiations are between the provincial representatives of the unions and school boards, along with the Ministry of Education. These negotiations cover the province-wide issues, such as wages, sick days and other items. Local negotiations, between the OCDSB and local union chapters have not yet started, but will focus on issues that are specific to our district, such as seniority and local transfer processes.

At the OCDSB, there are two unions that represent employees in nine bargaining units:

  • The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) represents elementary teachers and occasional teachers; and
  • The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) represents secondary teachers; secondary occasional teachers; office, clerical and technical staff; custodial and maintenance staff; educational assistants; early childhood educators; adult education workers; and professional support staff.

The OCDSB values all of our employees and remains committed to good faith bargaining and fair and fully-funded collective agreements which support student learning and well-being.

In any labour negotiations, there is always potential for disruptions. In recent weeks, members of the ETFO and OSSTF have participated in strike votes, which authorizes their unions to take strike action. Strike actions could take a variety of forms including full or partial withdrawal of services or work to rule. The OSSTF has taken a further step and will be in a legal strike position on Monday, November 18, 2019. It is anticipated the ETFO will be in a legal strike position later in the month.

These steps are part of the labour negotiations process. They do not mean that a strike is planned or will take place.  A union must alert the public at least five days in advance before it can go on strike or withdraw services. Nevertheless, the OCDSB is preparing for how we could support students and parents in the event of a partial or full strike from teachers, support staff, or child care workers. Our priority focus is the health and safety of students.

We know labour negotiations can be uncertain and we will continue to keep you informed.  There are no strikes currently scheduled to take place, but we did want to ensure you are prepared for the possibility of labour disruption. For example, parents with young children or those in extended day programs may wish to consider in advance what other options they might have for childcare or speak with their employer about possible flexibility in work arrangements.

Regular updates will continue to be provided by email and posting of the latest news to our Labour Negotiations webpage and social media accounts.

Should you have any urgent questions, please contact your school principal.

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