Ontario education minister wants teachers to accept private mediation


Published May 1, 2023 at 2:58 pm

Ontario’s education minister says he is asking teachers’ unions to accept private mediation in order to ensure contracts are in place before the start of the new school year.

Stephen Lecce says parents deserve a sense of predictability for September and private mediation helped to reach a deal with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents support staff.

That deal came in November at the end of a whirlwind bargaining process that saw education workers walk off the job for two days after the government passed — then later repealed — legislation that imposed a contract on them, banned them from striking, and used the notwithstanding clause to allow the override of certain Charter rights.

But even though talks with the four major teachers’ unions began last summer, there may not be deals in place by the start of this summer.

Karen Littlewood, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, says it is too early to consider mediation because there haven’t been enough “meaningful negotiations” between the parties yet.

She says it seems like Lecce just wants the teachers to sign the same deal that CUPE got, but it doesn’t work for her members.

The Canadian Press

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