Schools will remain open as CUPE and province reach tentative deal avoiding strike

Oct 6 2019, 6:36 pm

Toronto schools will remain open on Monday morning, as CUPE and the provincial government have reached a tentative settlement.

Just after 9 pm on Sunday evening, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) announced that the Council of Trustees’ Associations (CTA) and the provincial government have negotiated a tentative settlement on central terms of a collective agreement with Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) education workers.

“All the parties worked hard together at the table to reach a fair and responsible agreement that will keep students in the classroom,” said OPSBA President Cathy Abraham in a statement.

“Education workers play an important role in our schools, and this agreement is a recognition that we value the contribution they make to the educational experience of our students every day.”

The OPSBA said the details of the agreement remain confidential until ratified by all parties, and that CUPE has agreed to stop all job action while awaiting ratification of the deal.

The Toronto District School Board also said negotiations have been concluded, and that schools will remain open to students and staff on Monday.

Premier Doug Ford said he was proud of the work Education Minister Stephen Lecce has done to achieve the province’s goals.

“Throughout this process our goal has been to establish agreements that respect taxpayers, students and families, while also recognizing the important contributions of our front-line education workers,” said Ford in a statement. “Our government worked tirelessly at the bargaining table to achieve this goal.”

He added that, as a result, 2 million students will remain in the classroom “where they belong.”

Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath said that while school closures were “narrowly avoided”, Ford’s educational cuts are hurting students in classrooms all across Ontario.

“After an unnecessarily stressful weekend, parents and students across Ontario will be relieved to hear that school is on tomorrow and that education workers will be on the job providing the services that make our schools work,” said Horwath.

“Now more than ever, Ontarians recognize the importance of our education system and the vital role that our education workers play. As long as the deep Conservative cuts continue we can expect more chaos in our classrooms.”

Had a deal not been reached by Sunday night’s deadline, more than 55,000 Ontario education workers would have walk outed of work.