Catholic teachers planning one-day strike on Jan. 21

WELLINGTON COUNTY – All Wellington Catholic District School Board Schools are scheduled to close on Jan. 21 due to a province-wide, one-day strike by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA).

“It has become clear that this government will only do the right thing when they are under pressure from Ontarians,” OECTA president Liz Stuart said. “They have left us little choice but to take the next legal step in the bargaining process.”

In Wellington County, OECTA represents teachers at elementary and secondary schools.

“As such, we would not be able to safely operate our schools,” said Wellington Catholic director of Education Tamara Nugent in a letter to parents/guardians.

“We regret any disruption to student learning or inconvenience to families that will result from job action.”

OECTA officials say this is the first such withdrawal of services for Catholic teachers in more than 20 years.

Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) members were scheduled to walk out on Jan. 15, so the Jan. 21 OECTA walkout will mark the second time within a week that local Catholic students will miss school because of labour actions.

Midway through last week a conciliator adjourned bargaining between the Catholic union and the province, “having deemed the parties to be too far apart on issues,” OECTA officials said in a press release.

No further bargaining dates have been set.

The one-day strike was announced on Jan. 13, the same day OECTA started administrative job action.

“We have not taken this decision lightly, but we believe it is necessary to secure a fair contract and protect publicly funded education in Ontario,” said OECTA president Liz Stuart.

OECTA members voted 97.1% in favour of strike action in November.

As part of the ongoing administrative job action, OECTA members will:

– provide limited report card information;

– not enter diagnostic testing data;

– not complete any Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO)-related activities;

– not attend or participate in Ministry of Education initiatives.

In a Jan. 8 update to parents, Nugent wrote, “The [WCDSB] will continue to monitor this job action closely and will provide parents and guardians with updates and information via the board website –, school websites and social media.”