Aug 21, 2015

By Jane Brown

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The proposed agreement for Ontario’s public high school teachers reportedly includes a small salary increase.

News of the tentative deal came as a surprise early Thursday after successful talks between representatives with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association and the Government of Ontario.

The Toronto Star quotes sources as saying teachers will receive a 1 percent lump sum payment this year and a 1.5 percent salary increase next year. The increase wouldn’t cost the province any additional money because savings were found elsewhere. Premier Kathleen Wynne and other government representatives have repeatedly said any deal must be “net zero” given Ontario’s $11.9 billion deficit.

Under Ontario’s new bargaining process, agreements must be reached provincially, on big issues such as class size and salary, and locally, covering more administrative issues such as performance reviews. So far, just the Peel District School Board has reached a full local agreement, with the help of arbitration.

Durham’s local OSSTF president Dave Barrowclough says a stalemate with the local board has resulted in going to arbitration.

“We’ve participated in the mediation process with the Durham District School Board.  We reached a couple of agreements on some things, but in general we were face with the same sort of crossed arms, inability to get them to actually negotiate with us, so we have a number of items which unfortunately have to opt to arbitration, which is a problem, because we haven’t had a locally negotiated ratified agreement since 2008,” Barrowclough explained to CP24.

The OSSTF is the first of the Ontario teachers unions to negotiate a tentative agreement at the provincial level. The province’s catholic teachers continue to bargain this week, and French teachers next week. Reps with the public elementary teachers begin talks September 1st with plans to carry on an administrative work to rule when school begins September 8th.

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