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Ontario Teacher Negotiations Going Nowhere Fast…

Ontario Teacher negotiations with the Ford government are going nowhere fast. Teacher contracts ran out in August 2022, The government must now negotiate with four * teachers’ unions, nurses and the broader provincial public sector. Most public unions were held at 1% for two years while the Tory favourites police and firefighters were held to 2% in an environment of 8% inflation. Even the latter two should be PO’d at this point.


The Ford government recently lost in court over its Bill 124, the wage control bill that was ruled unconstitutional. Sadly Ford cannot take no for an answer and has appealed. The Financial Accountability Office (FAO) has estimated that a payout remedy at this point would be over $2.1 billion and would climb to $8.4 billion by 2026 if this thing grinds on through appeals. There are over 40 unions in a coalition to fight this Bill 124 idiocy in court. 


This past year alone, Ford underspent the education budget by more than $800 million. When we checked in with an OSSTF executive member, we were directed to the FAO projection for this year which seems to say that the Ford government plans to remove another $1billion from education. No wonder Ford is appealing. His government is petrified of new negotiations with teachers in this environment where he is already wracking up significant losses with little room for maneuver.


 Ford is boxed in by court decisions on one side and has been put on notice by all unions, public and private, from traditional conservative construction unions, often known as business unions, and public left wing unions like CUPE “social unions”, all in unison, They explained to Ford, that pulling another stunt like his Section 33 notwithstanding clause would lead to an almost instant general strike grinding the Ontario economy to a halt. 


No union with the slightest self respect, would permit the ultimate strike weapon to be circumscribed in the slightest. 


Ford’s Labour Minister Monte McNaughton, has spent years courting the construction unions with apprenticeship money and the most recent move to shift grade 11 kids to apprenticeship programs for full high school credit. Mostly he promised to “build stuff” from needed housing to highways through Greenbelt to enrich his developer sugar daddies, the big payoff for political contributions. 


To top it off, Ford just lost in court (again) on his campaign finance legislation, Bill307, that restricted free speech by union groups like the Working Families Coalition, and education unions advertising against the government. Now they can begin to pound him with ads, with impunity, during or between elections. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled against Ford ruling this a free speech issue. Ford,says he intends to go to the Supreme Court to drag his feet and postpone the inevitable. 


In her speech to the OSSTF annual convention, President Karen Littlewood outlined  a recurring theme, Ford legislates unconstitutional oppressive legislation, the unions go to court and win, Ford appeals, issue is dragged out wasting years and millions of public dollars. Rinse and repeat.


Ford has dug himself and his government into a deep hole in education, healthcare and across the civil service. 


* Ontario has 4 teachers’ unions, OSSTF - public secondary, ETFO - Public elementary, OECTA - catholic K12, AEFO - French 1st language K12. This dates back to 1944 when teachers demanded statutory membership. (union membership by law) The Conservative Drew government granted statutory but legislated the teachers into 5, now 4 different unions. This seems odd to teachers in other provinces who usually have one union.  


Alberta - Danielle Smith just made a mistake with Calgary parents. 


Recent media reports show the Calgary schools, especially suburban schools are bursting at the seams, and yet Danielle Smith has allocated an additional $25 million to Charter schools instead of to the public school board. Has Smith not clued into the fact that the May29 election will be decided in Calgary, specifically Calgary suburbs? 


The election is now very close and recent polls have shown an absolute tie. 

Shortage of Teachers, especially in rural and remote areas, persists in BC, 

The fact that BC underpaid teachers for the better part of a generation, are the chicken that has   come home to roost. Even though BCTF, BC government and the school boards signed a historic agreement to bring BC in line with compensation with the other “have provinces” of Ontario and Alberta, there is a legacy problem that will take time to overcome. This combined with the population growth in rural and remote areas outstripping the growth in teacher grads, as depressed wages create enrollment shortages, creates the need for far too many uncertified teachers across BC, a problem that is now noticeable in urban areas. See the deets in the link below

I wonder if Doug Ford has read this? Just like nurses, its pay me or trade me.  


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