TORONTO, Aug. 28, 2012 /CNW/ -Representatives of teacher federations from five provinces and territories as well as the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) are joining Ontario teachers at a massive Queen’s Park rally today to underscore the seriousness of proposed legislation that will strip Ontario teachers of their democratic rights to bargain.
Presidents of teachers’ federations from Quebec, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and representatives from Nunavut teachers and CTF are concerned that Ontario is putting itself completely out of step with other provinces. It is unprecedented that a government would seek to legislate wages and benefits before legal bargaining has even begun in many parts of the province.
“These representatives are here to help send the message to the Ontario government that it is setting what is likely an unconstitutional course of action for abrogating the rights of teachers,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “Ontario was a leader in education but that is no longer the case when the democratic rights of educators who make the system work are sacrificed for political gain of a Liberal party seeking a majority.”
The Canadian Teachers’ Federation, which represents nearly 200,000 teachers across the country, points to the fact that it is possible for provinces to have reasonable and fairly negotiated agreements with their teachers.
“Collective bargaining is a problem-solving process,” said CTF President Paul Taillefer. “Contracts by government decree have no place in a democratic society. A legislated settlement, such as the one proposed by the McGuinty government, is an abuse of the province’s legislative authority.”
Thousands of teachers, education professionals and support workers will attend a rally at noon today at Queen’s Park to protest the proposed legislation. Unions including ETFO have vowed to challenge the legislation all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada if it is passed.
Over 77% of Ontarians believe the province should negotiate an agreement with teachers rather than use legislation to impose wages and benefits on them, according to an independent poll conducted for ETFO this month.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.
SOURCE: Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario