Today, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement regarding the decision of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) to escalate to a strike only two days after initiating a work-to-rule campaign:
“Strikes hurt kids. Our Government has been clear, we want deals that keep students in the class. For teacher unions to leave the table, to turn their back on our children, and to escalate to the point of compromising their education, is deeply troubling for parents and our Government.
Our Government has demonstrated consistently it is reasonable and student-centric by making major moves that have not been matched or reciprocated by the teachers’ unions.
In fact, on the days we made reasonable offers – reducing classroom sizes from 28 to 25 and reducing online learning courses from four to two – the unions decided to escalate. This is wrong, and our students deserve better.
I call on OSSTF to remain at the bargaining table, with third-party, independent mediation, up until the deadline. All parties that are truly committed to the success of our children will consider every tool available to avoid strikes that hurt our students.
Our aim, as was the case with CUPE, is to get a deal that provides continuity for parents, and educational stability for students.
Our Government will never leave the table and continue to remain available 24/7 to reach a deal that keeps students in the class.”