Ontario public high schools across the province are closed today as teachers go on strike, despite on-going negotiations with Education Minister, Stephen Lecce, and Premier Doug Ford.
Tens of thousands of students and parents have had to find other arrangements due to the closing of before school and after school programs.
The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) decided to go on strike at midnight on Tuesday due to failed negotiations.
The OSSTF has faced criticism for taking unprecedented strike action, despite Ford and Lecce offering numerous concessions to the teacher’s union.
The union has often had a difficult relationship with previous governments, however, this is the first time since 1997 that its members have gone on strike.
The closures only affect public high schools, but Catholic high schools remain open.
Lecce publicly criticized the union, saying that the strikes were “unacceptable” for families across the province. Speaking to CBC radio, Lecce said that “Our students deserve to be in class today.”
The OSSTF has also been criticized for asking for too much. According to the Toronto Sun, average salary for a teacher is $92,000, which is a significantly higher salary than the average Ontarian who makes $55,000.