Will ‘Super Tuesday’ be last big splash in Ontario teachers’ strike?

Matt Coutts
Daily Brew

Elementary school teachers in Ontario continue to hold a series of one-day strikes across the province and are looking forward to "Super Tuesday" — the largest day of job action, and the biggest trick left in a bag already bordering on empty.

Parents in Toronto and several other major school districts will be affected by Tuesday's strikes, when Toronto elementary school teachers walk off the job with seven other boards and leave hundreds of thousands of students in the cold.

The Toronto Star reports that parents have been rushing to make alternate arrangements for childcare. Some children will be brought to work; others will be watched by daycares, family friends or parents of other students.

[ Related: Why not let students sort out Ontario teachers' spat with government? ]

After that, the rolling strikes will continue across the province. But one questions the effect they will have on pressuring the government to bend.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has said every board will be affected by the start of the holidays, as the union continues to protest Bill 115 — a law that give the provincial government to ability to block strikes, as well as freezes teacher wages and trims some benefits.

Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten said she would continue allowing the teacher strikes for now, despite the inconvenience.

"It was a very difficult decision to make but we do have to recognize that the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario is in a legal strike position. It was very disappointing for them to choose to put the students in the middle of a dispute with the government," Broten said, according to CBC.

[ Related: Education Minister will continue to allow teacher strikes ]

It is the same tenor the government has taken since the strikes began last week. Little has changed on either side, and little appears to set to change.

So are the strikes going to have any impact at all? The short answer appears to be: no.

The province still says "fiscal reality" makes imposing Bill 115 a necessity.

Several school boards, including Catholic high school and elementary, already have deals with their unions and the remaining groups face a Dec. 31 deadline before the government imposes their agreement.

[ Related: Public high school athletes consider move to Catholic board ]

At that point, the ETFO's strikes become illegal and the government loses any remaining desire to negotiate. There have been hints that more strikes could come after the holidays. And there have been hints that the government will choose to block them.

The ETFO's series of strikes is coming to an eventual end and with that will come a resolution, pleasant or otherwise.

Super Tuesday may make a big splash. But after that, the pool appears just about empty.