/County considers how to help during COVID-19 recovery 

County considers how to help during COVID-19 recovery 

ETFO votes to ratify agreement with province 


By Chad Ingram

Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has announced that its
members have voted to ratify an agreement with the provincial
government, the Ontario Public School Board Association, and the Council
of Trustees’ Associations.
Elementary school teachers had been
working without a contract since last summer, and escalating job action
including rotating strikes had been ongoing throughout the school year.
ETFO and the Ford government had reached a tentative deal in mid-March,
and on April 28, the union announced its members had voted
overwhelmingly in support of that agreement. Ninety-seven per cent of
teachers and occasional teachers voted in support of the deal, which
will last until 2022, and 94 per cent of ETFO’s educational workers
supported it.  
According to ETFO, one highlight is that a Supports
for Students Fund that preserves 100 per cent of special education and
priority funding that was negotiated in 2017 will remain intact. Another
is that the current kindergarten model will be preserved throughout the
life of the contract. “Elementary class size language in local
collective agreements is preserved and there will be no class size
increases during the life of the agreement,” a release from ETFO reads.
“Professional development/learning funds for education workers are
increased and sustainable funding for member benefits will continue.”
ETFO locals will now work with their school boards to negotiate local collective agreements.
this process our goal has been to negotiate agreements that are
fully-funded, fair, and fiscally responsible. This agreement will help
ensure a stable and productive learning environment for our students,”
OPSBA president Cathy Abraham said in a release. “Despite the many
challenges caused by the current pandemic situation, all of the parties
continued to work towards reaching a deal that will help to bring some
stability to our system during what is obviously a rapidly evolving
situation. I want to personally thank the OPSBA negotiating teams, which
consist both of OPSBA staff and school board directors and senior
staff, for their commitment to this process. They often worked late into
the night over many weekend to achieve this agreements.”
“For the
education workers component of this negotiation, the Council of
Trustees’ Associations is a partnership between OPSBA and the Ontario
Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA),” the release from the
OPSBA explained.
Publicly funded schools in Ontario have been closed
since the March break amid the COVID-19 crisis and the government
announced this past weekend they will remain closed until at least the
end of May.
All four education unions in the province have now reached tentative agreements with the government.