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Local secondary school teachers won't be in schools Jan. 21

Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation will take part in another one-day, full withdrawal of services in selected locations - including Simcoe County
2019-12-04 Orillia OSSTF strike 2
Members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation took part in a one-day strike Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in front of Twin Lakes Secondary School. Nathan Taylor/OrilliaMatters

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, teachers and education workers represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) in certain school boards (including Simcoe County) will take part in another one-day, full withdrawal of services in selected locations across Ontario.  

OSSTF/FEESO members in other school boards across the province will continue to engage in activities that draw attention to the dangers of the Ford government’s education agenda.

A limited withdrawal of services, which began on November 26, 2019, will continue province-wide, and will be augmented by additional sanctions beginning Monday, Jan. 20. Those additional sanctions are as follows:

Teacher and Occasional Teachers will no longer perform on-calls. Supervisions will remain in place as per normal in order to ensure student safety.

Members will not take on any additional work/responsibilities as a result of an absent member of the bargaining unit. This applies to both teachers and education workers. However, where students with special needs are reassigned between Educational Assistants in the event of an absence, that will be accepted as redistributed work. Again, we are considering the issue of student safety.

Members will not assume responsibility for verifying or finding replacements for the absence of other employees. Absent employees will still report their own absences as per normal procedures. This applies to members of all bargaining units.

Members will not perform the work of any other bargaining unit, including work or activities that are the subject of sanctions by another bargaining unit.

OSSTF/FEESO President Harvey Bischof announced that the walkout on January 21 will be the last full withdrawal of services by OSSTF/FEESO members until after the secondary school exam period.

“Throughout this dispute we have made every effort to ensure that our job actions create minimal disruption for students,” said Bischof. “With that objective in mind, OSSTF/FEESO members will not engage in any work disruptions through the crucial exam period.”

Bischof also reiterated the Federation’s standing offer to postpone pending job action if the government agrees to return to, and maintain, the class size ratios and staffing levels that were in place during the 2018–2019 school year.

“If the Minister of Education is truly focused, as he incessantly claims, on keeping kids in class, then he  

will accept our offer and come back to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith,” said Bischof. “But the evidence is mounting that this government’s priorities have nothing to do with the well-being of students. The Doug Ford secret plan for e-learning implementation, which came to light this week, reveals a government whose obsessions are exclusively fiscal.”

“It is clear to OSSTF/FEESO members that, for this Premiere and this Minister of Education, questions about student learning and the quality of education are not even on the radar,” said Bischof. “If the government wants to prove us wrong about that, they will abandon their destructive agenda, return to the table, and work with us to reach a deal that is good for the province’s students.”

OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has over 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, early childhood educators, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff, and many others in education.

All OSSTF/FEESO members employed by the following school boards will be engaged in the full withdrawal of
• Rainy River District School Board
• Near North District School Board
• Grand Erie District School Board
• Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board
• Toronto District School Board
• Simcoe County District School Board
• Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board
• Trillium Lakelands District School Board
• Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board