Elementary teachers withdraw voluntary activities

TORONTO—The province’s elementary school teachers have turned up the job action heat on the province as negotiations have failed to gain any ground toward a resolution. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced the new work-to-rule measures that were put into action this past Monday.

According to an ETFO news release, teachers will no longer participate in Ministry of Education meetings, workshops and mandated meetings with principals, said ETFO president Sam Hammond in a May 26 release.

“We are increasing this strike action because of the obstinacy of the government and OPSBA (Ontario Public School Boards’ Association) in addressing real issues that affect teachers and the learning conditions in our schools,” said Mr. Hammond. “That is our priority during this round of bargaining. It’s time the government and OPSBA stopped playing games and adopted the same priorities.”

According to the union release, until they have reached a deal with the school boards, teachers will no longer: complete any paperwork, applications or proposals to the Ministry of Education for special grants or funding; participate in the preparation or completion of Grade 8 to Grade 9 transition reports; participate in any grade-to-grade transition meetings; complete end of year Ontario Student Record (OSR) activities including filing, sorting and completion of French cards participate in any in-school meetings or professional learning activities on the end of year Professional Activity (PA) day; or book any field trips for the 2015-16 instructional year.

The union warned that teachers will continue to step up job action “until the province adopts the same priorities.” This further withdrawal of services comes one month after teachers began their work to rule actions. Elementary school teachers have been without a contract for nine months.