Ontario Reaches Another Agreement With Education Partners
McGuinty Government Putting Students First and Protecting Gains in Education
Ontario has reached another labour agreement, this time with thousands of education assistants. The agreement meets the province's fiscal targets while protecting the classroom experience and the gains made in education.
Specifically, the government reached a memorandum of understanding with:
- Halton District Educational Assistants Association
- Dufferin-Peel Educational Resource Workers' Association
- Educational Assistants Association of the Waterloo Region District School Board
- Support staff represented by the Association des Enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO).
The agreement with almost 3,000 educational assistants follows the roadmap set out in the agreement reached in July with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA). However, it recognizes the different circumstances of non-teaching staff and demonstrates the government's flexibility in reaching agreements that protect the classroom while reflecting the fiscal realities of the province. The agreement includes:
- Zero per cent salary increases in 2012-13 and 2013-14
- 0.5 per cent pay cut in the form of one unpaid professional development day in the second year of the contract so that younger, lower-paid support staff will continue to move through the experience grid
- Elimination of the current retirement gratuity for payment of unused sick days that was responsible for a $1.7 billion liability for school boards
- A restructured short-term sick leave plan that would include up to 10 sick days. This sick leave plan would benefit younger support staff by providing income protection for serious illness.
The McGuinty government is committed to protecting the gains Ontario has made in education while taking steps to eliminate Ontario's deficit. Today's agreement and the proposed Putting Students First Act are important steps toward achieving both goals, while giving students and families certainty that school will start on time and be free from labour disruptions.
- The government has already signed agreements with OECTA and the Association des Enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens, which together represent more than half of Ontario's school boards and 55,000 teachers.
- The government has also signed an agreement with the Association of Professional Student Services Personnel.
- Five school boards have agreed to implement the OECTA memorandum including the Huron-Superior Catholic, Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic, York Catholic, Windsor-Essex Catholic and Toronto Catholic district school boards.
- If existing teacher contracts were to automatically roll over on Sept. 1, the cost of teachers moving up the grid and for continuing the existing retirement gratuity and sick leave provisions would be $473 million.
“The partners we have reached an agreement with today are clearly committed to putting students first. They have made peace and stability in schools their top priority and I want to thank them for their dedication to reaching an agreement.”