Statement By Education Minister Kathleen Wynne On Final Proposal For English Public Elementary Teachers And Ontario Public School Boards



    TORONTO, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - No one in Ontario wants labour disruption in our
schools. Not teachers. Not students. Not parents. Not me. All of us want
teachers teaching and students learning.
    That's why I met with the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario
(ETFO) and the Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) earlier
today. At our meeting, I presented a new and final proposal from the
government to support four-year collective agreements. I have asked ETFO and
OPSBA for their response by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 12.
    The proposal includes a 10.4 per cent salary increase over four years for
English public elementary teachers - two per cent in each of the first two
years, three per cent in each of the last two years. It also includes all of
the funding supports that other elementary teachers will receive in the last
three years of their provincial framework agreements.
    The new proposal addresses ETFO's continued concerns about preparation
time and supervision. It still contains fair salary increases, more
preparation time, smaller class sizes, more grade 7 and 8 teachers, more time
to do report cards, improved working conditions for occasional teachers and
guaranteed enhancements to benefits.
    Most importantly, English public elementary teachers, students and their
parents would be able to look forward to four more years of peace and progress
- right through to August 2012.
    Our government has been upfront about its projection of a significant
deficit and is facing very challenging economic times. For example, 71,000
Ontarians lost their jobs in the last month alone.
    English public elementary teachers must ask themselves: "In this economy
and with government deficits, will my local bargaining unit be able to secure
a 10.4 per cent salary increase over the next four years without a provincial
framework agreement?"
    English public school boards must ask themselves: "In this economy and
with government deficits, would we be able to provide these additional
supports for students without a provincial framework agreement?"
    So, I am calling upon ETFO and OPSBA to carefully consider this fair
proposal. I hope to be able to report on Thursday that a framework agreement
has been signed and local agreements can be finalized. In the meantime, our
proposal (http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/nr/09.02/bg0210.html) is
posted on the Ministry of Education's website so anyone who wants the details
can find them there.

    
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                                                                BACKGROUNDER
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             NEW PROVINCIAL FUNDING PROPOSAL FOR ENGLISH PUBLIC
                       ELEMENTARY TEACHERS AND BOARDS
    

    Education Minister Kathleen Wynne has presented a new and final funding
proposal to the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the
Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA). This proposal is a final
attempt to get both parties to agree to a new four-year provincial framework
agreement that is in the best interest of students and teachers.

    HIGHLIGHTS

    The new $700 million investment would address the federation's continued
concerns and reflects the consequence of ETFO and OPSBA not reaching a
provincial framework agreement by the December 5, 2008, deadline. It contains
fair salary increases, more preparation time, smaller class sizes, more grade
7 and 8 teachers, more time to do report cards, improved working conditions
for occasional teachers and guaranteed enhancements to benefits.

    
    -   $461 million to fund a 10.4 per cent salary increase over four years
        (two per cent, two per cent, three per cent, three per cent),
        bringing the maximum salary to about $92,700
    -   $138 million to increase the amount of preparation time teachers
        have, from 200 to 240 minutes
    -   $40 million to hire 431 more teachers to reduce the average class
        size in grades 4 to 8
    -   $18 million to enhance professional development for elementary
        teachers
    -   $16 million to increase supervision of elementary students
    -   $13 million for 144 additional teachers in grades 7 and 8
    -   $13 million to improve benefits for teachers and working conditions
        for occasional teachers.

    KEY FACTS

    -   The 10.4 per cent (compounded) salary increase over four years is in
        keeping with the salary increase ETFO proposed in December 2008
    -   All 22 teacher federations and unions representing school board
        employees, including ETFO on behalf of its support workers, have
        reached four-year provincial framework agreements
    -   392 four-year collective agreements have been ratified locally
    -   ETFO and OPSBA have until 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 12, to
        accept this proposal.

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                                                                BACKGROUNDER
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    CHRONOLOGY OF PROVINCIAL FRAMEWORK DISCUSSIONS

    On August 31, 2008, most of the 475 collective agreements in Ontario's
publicly funded schools expired. Minister Wynne committed to facilitate
provincial discussions with trustee associations, teacher federations and
support staff unions.
    The discussions aimed to address issues that, if resolved provincially,
would result in new four-year framework agreements that would greatly
facilitate local bargaining. All parties were encouraged to take part in these
voluntary discussions in good faith and all agreed to participate.

    
    KEY DATES

    -   November 2007: Minister Wynne initiated informal discussions with
        trustee associations, teacher federations and unions to explore a
        provincial process that could lead to new four-year collective
        agreements before agreements expired.

    -   January 2008: Provincial Discussion Tables began with trustee
        associations, teacher federations, CUPE and other unions representing
        support staff workers facilitated by staff from the Minister's Office
        and the ministry.

    -   April 2008: Formal provincial framework proposals offered to trustee
        associations, teacher federations and unions.

    -   May 1, 2008: The Ontario Elementary Catholic Teachers' Association
        (OECTA) signed on to a provincial framework agreement with the
        Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association (OCSTA) that included
        salary increases of 3 per cent each year for four years, plus other
        improvements.

    -   May 7, 2008: The Association des enseignantes et des enseignants
        franco-ontariens (AEFO) signed on to a provincial framework agreement
        with the two French-language trustee associations that would give
        francophone teachers similar gains to OECTA's.

    -   May 14, 2008: Twelve educational support staff unions signed on to a
        provincial framework agreement with trustee associations.

    -   May 22, 2008: The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO)
        broke off discussions with the Ontario Public School Boards'
        Association (OPSBA) and left the provincial discussion table.

    -   May 27, 2008: The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) signed on
        to a provincial framework agreement with trustee associations to
        benefit the support workers it represents.

    -   June 18, 2008: Provincial Schools Authority Teachers signed on to an
        agreement with the Provincial Schools Authority.

    -   September 12, 2008: The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
        (OSSTF), on behalf of education support staff workers it represents,
        signed on to a provincial framework agreement with trustee
        associations.

    -   November 26, 2008: ETFO's education support workers signed on to a
        provincial framework agreement with OPSBA.

    -   November 27, 2008: OSSTF, on behalf of its teachers, signed on to a
        provincial framework agreement with OPSBA.

    -   June to November 2008: Seven more unions representing support staff
        signed on to a provincial framework agreement with trustee
        associations.

    -   November 27, 2008: Four-year provincial framework agreements reached
        between all 22 unions and trustee associations, with the exception of
        ETFO on behalf of its elementary teachers and OPSBA. English public
        elementary teachers were the only unionized employees in school
        boards not covered by a provincial framework agreement.

    -   November 30, 2008: Deadline for all parties to reach a provincial
        framework agreement, which included salary increases of three per
        cent per year for four years and other enhancements.

    -   November 30, 2008: ETFO resumed discussions with OPSBA, facilitated
        by the government. The government agreed to the parties' request for
        a five-day extension beyond November 30 for the parties to reach a
        provincial framework agreement.

    -   December 5, 2008: Despite the government's five-day extension,
        discussions broke off between ETFO and OPSBA when the parties were
        unable to reach an agreement.

    -   December 6, 2008: As communicated by the government since May, the
        government's funding proposal (provincial framework agreement) for
        ETFO and OPSBA was officially withdrawn. Instead, boards were
        provided with two per cent per year for two years to reach local
        deals with parties that had not already signed on to a provincial
        framework agreement.

    -   January 8, 2009: ETFO announced its own deadline of February 13 for
        school boards to table their full offers to ETFO locals, and also
        warned that if significant progress was not made by that date that
        ETFO locals could be in a strike position by late March.

    -   February 10, 2009: The government called ETFO and OPSBA back to
        present a final funding proposal.

    -   February 12, 2009: Deadline for parties to agree to the government's
        final funding proposal.

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                                                   ontario.ca/education-news
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For further information:

For further information: Michelle Despault, Minister's Office, (416)
212-3747; Patricia MacNeil, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2676; Public
Inquiries, (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514; TTY 1-800-263-2892

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