If Ontario’s government accepts all proposals tabled by High School teachers’ union, the province would have to spend more than $7 billion by 2021-2022, according to the Ford government.
“The reason why we publicize this, we believe, is it’s in taxpayers’ interests to know,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said.
In response, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation(OSSTF) president Harvey Bischof has said the Ford government is inflating numbers by applying his members’ demands to the entire sector.
Currently, the Ford government has said its $7 billion projection is based on union demands such as cost-of-living adjustments to salaries and benefits, maintaining previous class sizes, as well as other costs.
The government has said it had to apply costs to the entire sector as benefits given to one education union would more than likely be given to others. For example, CUPE which has already signed a deal has a “me-too” clause around salaries, which allows the union to ask for increases if others in the industry get them.
While unions continue to ask for data to be presented on a case by case basis, the Ford government appears to dead-on putting forward industry level costs, with both hoping to increase the importance of their argument.
With negotiations ongoing, we’ll have to wait and see how the public alongside those involved react to the ongoing negotiations over teachers’ contracts, including both high school and elementary teachers.
Elementary teachers in Ontario’s English public schools have notably ramped up their own job action on Tuesday, by moving into a new phase of work-to-rule, were teachers would not plan field trips or distribute letters and memos.