VIDEO: Province forces contracts on teachers
It's official, the province is imposing contracts on Ontario's public elementary and high school teachers.
The education minister made the announcement on Thursday in what may be the next step towards an all-out war between the two sides.
Laurel Broten underlines that because contracts are now in place, if unions choose to move forward with any type of strike action before August 2014 when the contracts expire, it will be considered illegal. She had urged unions to reach local agreements with school boards before the December 31st deadline.
Broten also surprised union heads and critics when she revealed once all contracts are in place by the end of the month, she will move to repeal Bill 115.
She says it's not about the Liberal government winning back teacher support but rather that Bill 115 accomplished what it set out to do - put what she calls fair contracts in place.
The head of the Elementary Teacher's Federation of Ontario Sam Hammond is not impressed with anything coming from the province, however. He calls the move to impose contracts unprecedented and disgraceful. He says 10 years of good will between the teachers and the province has been squandered.
Hammond wouldn't reveal what the union's next steps are but says he will be meeting with his executive soon to determine what to do.
Both the province's public elementary and high school teachers have voted on a one-day walk out if contracts were imposed but no date has been set.
On repealing the teacher's contract legislation, Hammond says the move will not erase the stain left by Bill 115.