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Elementary school teachers vote for strike action


Public elementary school teachers in Ontario, represented by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), have voted 95% in favour of a strike.

Amid contract disputes, the union is planning to begin bargaining with the government in an effort to add pressure to reach a contract agreement. The ETFO represents over 80,000 members.

In a media release, ETFO President Karen Brown expressed her concerns that members have been working for over a year without a contract. She wants ETFO members to receive support from the government that tends to their priorities, which Brown outlined as the following:

  • More support for students with special needs
  • Acknowledging the staffing crisis in education
  • Putting a fair compensation offer on the table
  • Addressing violence in schools

The report emphasized that the strike mandate will not necessarily mean that teachers will be absent from classrooms. The union isn't looking to resort to that at this time, rather they're hoping to reach an agreement within the coming days and weeks. 

Brown said that the union is "focused on getting government cuts out of the way," and simply wants "better conditions for students and ETFO members."

Elementary teachers have now been without a contract for more than a year. ETFO's main negotiating issues include wage increases tied to inflation, the concern of violence in schools and addressing hiring practices.

ETFO is not alone in this: as of yesterday (Thursday, Oct. 19) the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) also voted 97% in favour of a strike mandate.

The province has offered teachers a wage increase of 1.25% per year for four years. However, teachers have been asking for a 1% increase per year, in addition with an annual cost of living adjustment tied to inflation. (Statistics Canada reports that inflation was around 3.8% in September 2023.)


Ben Brown

About the Author: Ben Brown

Ben Brown is a local news reporter from Oakville, Ontario, a graduate from WIlfrid Laurier University and a self-published author. His main focus is reporting on crime, local businesses and achievements, and general news assignments throughout town
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