Statement By Minister Broten On OLRB Ruling

January 11, 2013

"In response to the threat of an illegal strike by the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, our government took quick and immediate action to file an application Wednesday night with the Ontario Labour Relations Board. I was very pleased that the Ontario Public School Boards' Association representing the public school boards in the province supported the government's application.

The Ontario Labour Relations Board has just handed down its decision ordering the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario to cease and desist from encouraging or threatening illegal strike activity. This is a very important ruling for parents, students and teachers.

We expect teachers to be in their classrooms this morning to continue the important work they do every day. We have a ruling that confirms that the action counselled by ETFO was in fact illegal, as we have said it was all along. Now teachers understand from the Ontario Labour Relations Board that what they were being asked to do by their union was to break the law. Teachers are law abiding and now that they know the facts, I know that they will report to work this morning.

I know this has been a difficult time for parents, students and teachers. I know there has been confusion and that there still is. But the OLRB's decision clears up some of that confusion and misinformation.

We have been working to provide boards with as much information as possible and asked them to keep schools open where possible. This morning, the Deputy Minister shared the OLRB ruling with boards to indicate to them that we hope schools will be open today.

The number one priority and responsibility of boards is the safety of their students. Because of the uncertainty and confusion caused by ETFO asking their members to go out on an illegal strike and the lateness of the hour, some boards have made the decision to keep schools closed. Many boards are treating this as a reverse snow day – they are sharing information with their community, through media, through social media to let them know that schools are open and that teachers should show up for work, and students to class. Thank you to school boards for keeping your school community updated."

See also: OLRB Decision January 11, 2013 (PDF, 194 KB)

Media Contact:

Paris Meilleur
Minister's Office