Ontario to pre-emptively legislate education workers staff back to work

TORONTO — Ontario's education minister says he intends to introduce legislation Monday to avert a looming support staff strike.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents about 55,000 education workers, announced earlier Sunday that it was giving the required five days' notice to start a full strike on Friday — they are in a legal strike position on Thursday.

Late in the day, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced that if CUPE refused to withdraw its intent to strike, he would be tabling legislation that would impose a contract, which he describes as more generous.

The government had been offering raises of two per cent a year for workers making less than $40,000 and 1.25 per cent for all others, but Lecce says the new deal would give 2.5-per-cent annual raises to workers making less than $43,000 and 1.5 per cent for all others.

CUPE has been seeking annual salary increases of 11.7 per cent as well as overtime at twice the regular pay rate, 30 minutes of paid prep time per day for educational assistants and ECEs, an increase in benefits and professional development for all workers.

Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Boards Council of Unions, says the legislation would take away the right to strike.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2022.

The Canadian Press