OSSTF members ratify deal with province

TORONTO – Members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) have now ratified a deal reached with the province last month.

On May 16 the union announced that both education workers and teachers/occasional teachers represented by OSSTF have accepted their respective central agreements.

The deals were tentatively announced on April 20, marking the end of months of union strike action, as well as posturing from both sides.

OSSTF president Harvey Bischof said the agreements “would have been much worse” without the union’s efforts, but noted larger classes, mandatory e-learning, and reduced funding for student supports “will still be a reality” in schools in September.

“OSSTF/FEESO members recognize these deals are imperfect but provide needed stability in these trying times,” said Bischof in a May 16 press release.

“While we were able to fend off some of the Ford government’s most egregious attacks on education, members will not forget this government’s efforts to undermine publicly-funded education in Ontario.”

Bischof added the union “will continue the fight to reverse these destructive policies.”

Education minister Stephen Lecce had maintained during bargaining that the dispute was about compensation, with the union seeking a 2% increase and the government offering 1%.

When the OSSTF deal was announced in April, Lecce stated the province “will remain focused on the government’s dual priority of keeping students safe while ensuring the continuity of education.

“Moreover, we remain determined to continuously strengthen teacher-led learning and virtual learning for the benefit of our students, and we continue to look to our educators to rise to the challenge and deliver quality education to every child, wherever they may live.”