Windsor-Essex public school teachers join work-to-rule campaign

Thousands of public school teachers in Windsor-Essex are taking part in a province-wide work-to-rule campaign which launched on Tuesday.

The job action came after months of negotiations yielded little progress, according to the unions representing public school teachers across Ontario. The work-to-rule campaign could escalate to a full-on strike, potentially leading to school closures. 

While some parents in Windsor say they have at least one caregiver who can stay home with the kids, one Windsor mother with five school-age children said a strike would be difficult to bear.

"We really hope it doesn't happen," said Samantha Fields, who has four children enrolled in Prince Edward Public School.

"With having five kids and one of them being special needs and another one needing extra help in school, it would be very difficult for them — and for us."

Both Fields and her husband also work full-time. Though her husband works from home, Fields said a strike would still be an inconvenience. 

"It would be very difficult for us to find childcare," she said.

"If I were to have to call into work and not be able to work, losing money would be very difficult, especially with the holidays coming up with five kids."

Tahmina Aziz/CBC

She also worried that with a strike, her children could see setbacks in their progress at school.

"My special needs son who is already behind could fall more behind. My other son who needs a lot of help, he could fall more behind," said Fields.

Ontario public elementary teachers voted 98 per cent in favour of a strike, if necessary, earlier this month.

Negotiations continue throughout this week.

Talks between the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and the province are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.