Local English Catholic elementary, secondary schools to close for one-day strike

Catholic elementary and secondary schools across Windsor-Essex are set to close Jan. 21 for a one-day strike, according to the Windsor Essex Catholic District School Board (WECDSB).

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) announced the province-wide strike on Monday.

In an email, WECDSB communications coordinator Stephen Fields said details about the WECDSB strike will be released "as soon as they become available."

"We understand and respect that OECTA is in a legal strike position, and we appreciate that this job action may cause an inconvenience for students and their families," said Fields. 

"We would ask that our students and their families remain patient as the collective bargaining process unfolds and we hope that a resolution that satisfies the needs of all parties can be found soon," he said.

The news comes in the wake of a work-to-rule job action that began on Monday.

During the work-to-rule action, teachers with OECTA will not prepare report cards, attend or participate in Ministry of Education initiatives and refrain from participating in activities related to the province's Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO).

In a statement issued Monday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said OECTA "has decided to escalate to a one-day, province-wide strike, that negatively impacts their students."

"For the last three decades, parents and students have experienced labour strife in education, regardless of the political stripe of the Government," said Lecce.

"While I am disappointed in the teacher unions' continued focus on escalation that hurts our students, our Government will remain focused on improving public education and keeping students in class."

A spokesperson for the AFOCSC — the organization representing Ontario's French Catholic school boards — confirmed CSC Providence, Windsor-Essex's French Catholic school board, will be participating in a work-to-rule job action beginning on Jan. 16.

The job action was announced Wedneday, Jan. 14 by the AEFO — the union representing Ontario's French teachers.