Ontario’s education sector labour contracts were set to expire on August 31, 2017. After successful negotiations, extensions or new two year agreements have been reached with all education workers’ unions and teachers’ federations. These contract extensions were reached in partnership with the trustees' associations representing the school boards.
All nine agreements have been ratified by all parties and take effect from September 1, 2017, to August 31, 2019. As part of these extensions, any terms not included in the 2017-19 agreements, including both central and local terms from the 2014-17 agreements, remain status quo. As a result, these extensions will provide two additional years of stability in schools across the province.
The following parties have reached contract extensions for 2017-19:
- The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and the Council of Trustees' Associations (CTA) composed of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA), the Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA), L’Association des conseils scolaires des écoles publiques de l’Ontario (ACÉPO), and L’Association Franco-ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques (AFOCSC)
- The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and OCSTA
- The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and OPSBA
- ETFO-represented education workers, and the CTA composed of OPSBA and OCSTA
- The Education Workers’ Alliance of Ontario (EWAO) and the CTA composed of OCSTA, OPSBA and L’Association Franco-ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques (AFOCSC)
- The Ontario Council of Educational Workers (OCEW) and the CTA composed of OPSBA and OCSTA
- The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) and OPSBA, and
- OSSTF-represented education workers, OPSBA, OCSTA, ACÉPO and AFOCSC.
In addition, a new 2017-19 agreement has been reached between l’Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) and the CTA composed of ACÉPO and AFOCSC.
These agreements are the result of hard work and collaboration from all parties. They reflect the strength of the government’s partnership with trustees, teachers and education workers, and a mutual commitment to improving student achievement and well-being.
Recent amendments to the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014 made extending the agreements possible. Other amendments included giving students and parents more notice of labour disruptions, and ensuring all education workers' unions participate in central bargaining to promote consistency across the province.
The agreements that have been reached are unique to each federation/union However, all teachers’ agreements share similar parameters, and so do those for education workers. As a result, they have a lot in common, including the following:
- Modest salary increases and inflationary increases for benefits.
- A new $219 million fund will provide support for a range of local priorities, including more staff to support students at risk, particularly students with special education needs. These funds could support about 875 teachers and between 1,600 and 1,830 education workers.
- The government has made a commitment to invest in reducing large classes in FDK and Grades 4-8. Additional funding of $56 million will be provided in 2017-18 to support more teachers and early childhood educators to reduce class sizes.
- FDK will continue to require an average class size of no greater than 26, but will now also require at least 90 per cent of FDK classes to have 30 or fewer students in 2017-18, declining to 29 in 2018-19. Up to 10 per cent of FDK classes can reach up to 32 students if they meet certain exceptions.
- School boards will be required to hire an ECE for all FDK classes in the same school and same track in the case where one of those classes has less than 16 students while at least one other class has more than 30.
- Currently, most school boards are required to have an average class size for Grades 4-8 of 24.5 or lower. However, 20 school boards are permitted higher averages up to 26.4. School boards with a Grades 4-8 class size average maximum above 24.5 will now be required to reduce Grades 4-8 maximum class size average to 24.5 within five years.
- A three per cent increase to the Community Use of Schools Allocation was also agreed to, which allows boards to reduce the rates for school space used by the community by helping boards with the costs involved with keeping schools open after hours such as heating, lighting, and cleaning.