Province imposes contracts, repeals Bill 115

Our news & views

January 03, 2013

The Minister of Education announced today that  the government will impose two-year contracts on over 300 local bargaining units in Ontario school boards.

The Minister  also announced that she would allow support staff represented by CUPE  just under two weeks to ratify local agreements. If those agreements are not ratified, contracts will be imposed on support staff as well.

The move follows months of acrimonious discussion, some negotiations and the passage of a new law that took away teachers’ right to strike, apply for abritration or make appeals to the Labour Relations Board.

The new contracts imposed on employees are based on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.

The terms of the two-year contracts, which expire August 31, 2014, include:

  • a two-year wage freeze;
  • the ability to take ten fully paid sick days per year. Unused sick days can be brought forward to the following year for short term sickness leave and will be paid out at 90% of salaries. For the current school year (2012/13), 2 “top-up” days will be deemed available;
  • teachers whose salaries would normally be increased on the salary grid (moving up in each of the first ten years of service or because they have achieved additional qualifications) will receive increases half way through the school year;
  • all teachers, principals, and vice-principals must take three unpaid days off on professional development days in the 2013-14 school year (except for OSSTF members in the Upper Grand Board who have one mandatory and five optional unpaid days off). All non-teaching staff must take off one unpaid day on professional development days in the 2013-14 school year; and
  • no employee is eligible to accumulate sick days for payment upon retirement after August 31, 2012.

The biggest surprise in today’s announcement was that the province plans to repeal Bill 115 before the end of January. Repealing the Bill after contracts are imposed will not affect the contracts, but it will mean that the contracts cannot be extended beyond 2014 and it means that no new Minister of Education will have the extraordinary powers the Bill granted.

To read the Ministry of Education press release, click here.

To read the “B” memo sent to boards yesterday changing the sick day requirements, click here.

To read the “B” memo sent to boards today explaining the newly imposed contracts, click here.

To read the details of the agreement between the Upper Grand DSB and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, click here.

People For Education Viewpoint:

There are a number of possible outcomes from today’s announcement:

    • It may leave a door open to new and more positive talks with all parties involved – school boards, teachers, principals, support staff, the province (and even, perhaps students) – to ensure that future negotiations are more effective,  that all relevant points of view are heard, and that there is clarity about whether negotiations are to happen at the local or provincial level.
    • It may result in a two-year withdrawal of extra curricular activities in most elementary and secondary schools, which will cause fundamental harm to students’ education.
    • It may significantly undermine strong partnerships that have been built up over the last decade and make it difficult for principals, teachers and support staff to foster strong and collegial learning communities in their schools.
    • It may bring much-needed stability to schools, but because the stability is imposed rather than negotiated, the “spirit” in schools could be strained.

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