Premier's Statement on First Teachers' Strikes in Nine Years
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty released the following statement on one-day teachers' strikes.
"Today, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario has disrupted nine years of labour peace over a disagreement about pay. It's regrettable that students miss any time learning, and it's unfortunate that families will need to make alternate arrangements. While inconvenient, these one-day legal strike actions do not warrant the intervention of the government and are a small price to pay to protect full-day kindergarten, smaller class sizes and 10,000 teaching jobs.
While our government is disappointed that some teachers' unions have chosen to put students in the middle of our disagreement over pay, we are buoyed by those who have worked with us to put students first. Teachers represented by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association and the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens have reached negotiated agreements with the government. And their teachers remain in the classroom with their students.
Faced with a stubborn $14-billion deficit, our priority is to protect the gains we've made in our schools. Working together, we've made our publicly funded schools the best in the English-speaking world. Class sizes are smaller. Test scores and graduation rates are up. And we introduced North America's first full-day kindergarten to give our four- and five-year-olds the best start possible.
I hope teachers will do as they've committed to do, which is to take no more than one day away from school. I'm sure most teachers understand the need to freeze pay — after nine years of fair and steady increases — just as we're asking all public servants to do across the public sector."