Elementary teachers ratify contract with gov.

ONTARIO—Members of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) have voted to ratify settlements reached with the government of Ontario, the Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA), and the Counsel of Trustees Associations to extend their 2014-2017 collective agreements by two years, to 2019.

“These extended agreements have achieved important improvements in the working conditions of ETFO members and the learning conditions of Ontario’s elementary students,” said ETFO president Sam Hammond, in a release.

Highlights of the agreement include: Special Education funding of $50 million and priorities funding of $39 million that will provide more teaching support for students with special needs; reduction of Grades 4 to 8 class size average to 24.5 students over five years to allow for more individualized instruction to students; a Kindergarten class size cap to reduce excessively large class sizes; two paid days of professional development for occasional teachers over the two-year term of the agreement; a salary increase of four percent over two years for all members plus a 0.5 percent lump sum on wages earned in the 2016-2017 school year, and preservation of all local agreement provisions including superior provisions.

Separate agreements were ratified for ETFO’s teacher/occasional teachers  and education worker members. Eighty-one percent of ETFO teacher and occasional teacher members and 90 percent of their locals voted in favour of a contract extension. Seventy-one percent of Designated Early Childhood Educators (DECEs), Education Support Personnel (ESPs) and Professional Support Personnel (PSPs) and 85 percent of their locals voted in favour of the extension. ETFO’s current collective agreements were set to expire on August 31, 2017.

ETFO continues to be engaged in Bill 115 remedy discussions with the government.

The Elementary School Teachers Federation vote means the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation is the only major union still to ratify their tentative deal.