Toronto, October 15, 2019
After months of delays and inaction by the Ontario government, and no indication that meaningful discussion will take place, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) feels it now has no choice but to begin the process of conducting strike votes among its members across the province in the coming weeks.
“The government claims that it wants to resolve these negotiations quickly,” said
OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof. “But from the beginning they have done nothing to
help expedite the process, and now they are simply refusing to discuss substantive issues at
the bargaining table.”
“They delayed the start of bargaining by two months and have thrown procedural
roadblocks in the way ever since.”
“And so it was thanks to their incessant stalling and delay tactics that it took months for
bargaining to get underway in the first place,” said Bischof, “and now that we are finally at
the table they are simply refusing to engage in meaningful discussions about the most
important issues. Through five days of bargaining they’ve brought absolutely nothing of
substance to the table.”
Bischof also pointed out that the government is sending other contradictory messages.
“Publicly, the Minister of Finance has stated that an agreement already reached in the
education sector should be seen as guide for outstanding agreements. But at the bargaining
table we are being told that the content of other agreements has no impact on our
discussions,” said Bischof. “Consequently, while the government and the trustee
associations drag their feet, students across the province have lost access to mandatory
courses, are being crammed into classrooms, sometimes with 40 or more of their peers,
and are going without the critical support staff they need to succeed.”
“We are disappointed that our best efforts to find positive and peaceful solutions have been
rebuffed and the management team is once again, as in other recent talks in this sector,
intent on seeing increasing tensions before taking the process seriously and looking for
“As we undertake strike votes we will continue our efforts at the bargaining table. We hope
that the government will rethink its stance and come to the table prepared to discuss real
issues that are crucial to quality education in Ontario. And we hope Ontarians will continue
to visit https://bargainingforeducation.ca/ to see who is really defending high quality
education and Ontario’s future,” concluded Bischof.
OSSTF/FEESO will conclude strike votes by November 15.
Harvey Bischof, President
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation