Schools closed as teachers continue walkouts

teachers protest

It has been another week of walkouts and picket lines in Ontario schools, and it isn’t over yet.

Renfrew County public schools are closed today (Thursday, February 6) as members of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) hold a province-wide one-day strike in protest against the government’s planned cuts to education.

Members of the ETFO walked out Monday in Renfrew County as part of a rotating series of strikes through the week.

They were followed Tuesday by members of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA), who held their second province-wide walkout.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) also resumed one-day walkouts in several school boards, although Renfrew County was not included in this week’s protest.

All of the teachers unions have been working without a new contract since the beginning of the school year in September.

The ETFO has now confirmed that it will hold more strike days next week.

Schools in Renfrew County will be closed Tuesday, February 11 as part of a province-wide walkout, and again Wednesday, February 12 as the ETFO holds rotating one-day strikes in selected school boards.

“ETFO’s 83,000 public elementary school educators will be on the picket lines again next week in the hope that the Ford government and Education Minister (Stephen) Lecce will return to talks prepared to support public education,” said ETFO president Sam Hammond.

“It is clear that they are not going to accept the government’s deep cuts to public education. The Minister and his team must come to the table with a mandate to reach a deal that benefits students, student learning and educators.”

For his part, Lecce said the government is ready to return to negotiations “at any time.”

“Our government has put forward reasonable proposals at the negotiating table, including a commitment to maintain full-day kindergarten, and it is deeply disappointing parents are still seeing repeated escalation at the expense of our students to advance higher compensation, including more generous benefit plans.

“We firmly believe students should be in class, and we continue to stand ready to negotiate and reach a deal Ontario students deserve.”

> for more on this story, pick up a copy of this week’s NRT. To get the NRT delivered directly to your mail box or inbox each week, subscribe here.