Catholic School Boards, Backed by Ford Conservative Government, Fail to Genuinely Engage in Bargaining

Over the past two weeks, your Provincial Bargaining Team (PBT) has met with representatives of the Government of Ontario and the bargaining team representing all Catholic school boards, which
includes directors and superintendents, on four occasions – April 4, 5, 12, and 13 – to continue negotiations for the renewal of the central terms of our collective agreement. The OECTA PBT, which includes elected officials, Provincial Office staff, classroom teachers, and subject-matter experts, has made every effort to work toward creative solutions to move negotiations forward. As a sign of good faith, the Association paused our Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) complaints, including our complaint that boards were bargaining in bad faith,
provided Catholic school boards and the government were willing to work collaboratively toward realizing a
fair collective agreement. Instead, Catholic school board representatives and the government have managed to derail the bargaining process that they agreed to prior to these bargaining dates.

It is becoming increasingly evident that those representing the Catholic school boards in which you teach
have almost no understanding of the current realities of classroom teaching and are intent on stripping
Catholic teachers’ collective agreements, to the detriment of all educators and students. At the same time,
the government representatives at the table seem to have no regard for properly investing in publicly
funded education, nor funding policy initiatives to ensure their success. The consequence of this is the
erosion of publicly funded education for all.

Simply put, school boards and the government are attempting to:

  • remove teachers’ professional judgement;
  • end fair hiring practices;
  • strip sick leave provisions (despite maintaining these same provisions in other education
    union collective agreements);
  • deny teachers their preparation and planning time; and
  • place significant additional workload requirements on all teachers, from Kindergarten to
    Grade 12.

To make matters worse, while the OECTA PBT proposed numerous bargaining dates through to the end of
June, and has shown a willingness to continue the bargaining process in members’ best interests, Catholic
school boards and the government have not responded.

The OECTA PBT remains incredibly frustrated by the government’s approach.

Until Catholic school boards and the government respond to our proposed dates there will be no additional
meetings between the parties. As well, the OLRB scope and “bad faith bargaining” complaints will resume
Provincial Bargaining Town Halls

On May 2 and 3, OECTA President Barb Dobrowolski will host town hall meetings to update members on the status of provincial bargaining and to answer member questions. She will be joined by other members of the Provincial Bargaining Team.

Members may register to attend either one of the town hall sessions.

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