Ontario Protecting School Year in Durham, Sudbury and Peel
Proposed Legislation Would Protect the School Year for 72,000 Public Secondary Students
Today, Ontario introduced legislation to protect the school year for 72,000 public secondary students in Durham, Rainbow and Peel district school boards following an advisement from the Education Relations Commission that students are in jeopardy of not being able to complete their school year as a result of ongoing strikes.
If passed today by all three parties, the proposed Protecting the School Year Act would end local strikes by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and bring the 72,000 secondary students in Durham, Rainbow and Peel district school boards back to class tomorrow.
In order to ensure students start school immediately following introduction of the Act, the government is seeking unanimous consent from all parties to pass the proposed Protecting the School Year Act. Earlier today, the leaders of both opposition parties were informed of the Education Relations Commission's advisement as well as the government's intention to introduce the proposed legislation today.
Under the proposed legislation, all parties to the negotiation remain able to bargain on outstanding local issues with the assistance of a board of arbitration. If the parties are not able to resolve outstanding local issues, a binding decision by the board of arbitration will be provided. The board of arbitration has up to 120 days to issue an arbitration award and the parties may extend this time by agreement.
Student achievement and well-being is an essential part of the government's plan for Ontario. The proposed Protecting the School Year Act is a necessary step to get secondary students back in the classroom. The government is strongly committed to ensuring students complete their school year, advance to the next grade, and graduate to post-secondary education or the workforce.
- The Education Relations Commission is mandated to advise the government when, in the opinion of the Commission, the continuation of a strike or lockout will place in jeopardy the successful completion of courses of study by the affected students. The Commission meets on an as needed basis and reports to the Lieutenant Governor in Council through the Minister of Education. The members of the Commission are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
- Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation full-time and occasional secondary teachers at Durham District School Board have been on strike since April 20, 2015.
- Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation full-time and occasional secondary teachers at Rainbow District School Board have been on strike since April 27, 2015.
- Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation full-time and occasional secondary teachers at Peel District School Board have been on strike since May 4, 2015.
“The proposed Protecting the School Year Act is essential for getting students back to class and putting them in a position to successfully complete their courses. Our government has great respect for both teachers and the collective bargaining process, but our first priority is supporting student achievement and well-being. In this case, that means introducing proposed legislation that would protect the school year for 72,000 students.”
“Our government takes back-to-work legislation very seriously. We have respected the teachers’ right to strike and have their voices heard, and we have also been listening to students and parents who are worried that the school year could be lost due to matters beyond their control. Introducing legislation at this time is not only necessary, it is the right thing to do to support students.”