OECTA Central Agreement Now Ratified
The central agreement with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) representing 45,000 teachers across the province, including elementary and secondary teachers has been ratified by school boards and the union, and agreed to by the Government of Ontario.
The government focused on ending the impasse with OECTA and delivered on its commitment to reach a deal that protects our children's futures and invests in their potential, while being fair to teachers.
Collective agreements between school boards and OECTA include central terms and local terms. The central terms are now resolved. In order to complete the collective bargaining process, local terms need to be reached between each school board and its OECTA bargaining units.
The agreement was reached on March 12 between OECTA, OCSTA, and the Crown.The three-year collective agreements will be effective September 1, 2019, through August 31, 2022.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CENTRAL AGREEMENT
Compensation and benefits: Under the agreement, OECTA teachers will receive a one per cent wage increase per year, for three years. Consistent with Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019, the agreement allows for inflationary increases to the funding for existing benefits so members shouldn't suffer a reduction to their existing benefits, along with a 1% enhancement.
Supports for Students Fund: The government will fund $33.5 million in the 2020-2021 school year and $33.8 million in the 2021-2022 school year. The fund shall be allocated to create additional teacher positions to provide flexibility to address special education, mental health initiatives and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) programming.
Hiring practices: Thirty-five per cent of the hiring for vacant permanent teaching positions will now support the school boards' effort to promote merit and diversity in hiring practices and provide opportunity for mobility of teachers between boards. For the remaining sixty-five per cent of the vacancies, hiring will be continued to be conducted based on seniority.
Full-day kindergarten: The government is committed to maintaining full-day kindergarten and retaining the existing staffing model.
Class size: There are no changes to class size for Ontario's youngest learners in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 3. Provincial funding, and legislated class size restrictions provide class sizes for grades 4-8 to reflect an average class size of 24.5, and a change for grades 9-12 to reflect an average class size of 23 which is effectively the same as 2019-2020 school year.
Online Learning (E-Learning): The government is also moving forward with a requirement that Ontario students entering Grade 9 in the 2020-2021 school year will be required to complete two mandatory online learning courses in order to graduate. Exemptions to the requirement can be made for reasons such as to accommodate individual students with learning needs, students who have issues accessing technology and newcomers to Ontario who enter secondary school after Grade 9. The request for an exemption can be made by a parent/guardian or the student who has reached the age of 18 through a set process.