July 2012

Labour Next Steps – Update and Invitation Back to Discussions

July 9, 2012

Last Thursday morning, July 5, I announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Education and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA). The MOU is a result of months of difficult discussions. Attached, please find the MOU. We did not get to this agreement easily, but because we worked together, kept talking, and focused on what is most important – students – we now have an agreement that will serve as a roadmap for other similar agreements and local collective agreements. This roadmap will protect the classroom experience for students as well as the gains made in the education system over the past eight years, while meeting the key fiscal parameters set out by the government at the start of the provincial discussion table (PDT) process and again in the Budget.

We can still work together to put students first. Through this communication, I am urging you to engage in meaningful discussions with the government to find a way to continue to work together to achieve additional provincial-level agreements.

I remain committed to reaching an agreement with each of our education partners involved in the PDT process. As I stated in my remarks last Thursday, I believe the OECTA MOU will serve as a roadmap for local bargaining over the summer months. All other teacher and staff unions, and the trustee associations, are encouraged to meet with the government and with each other, to discuss this understanding so that additional agreements can be reached before school starts in September. Collectively, we owe Ontario families and their children the assurance that school will start on time.

As a first step, I am recommending that meetings take place as soon as possible within the next 10 days between representatives of my team and representatives from your organization. Through such meetings, I am hopeful we can determine a way to move quickly to finalize additional agreements. I ask you to seriously consider this offer and to contact my Chief of Staff, Patricia Sorbara, to arrange the meetings.

I remain dedicated to maintaining and strengthening our partnerships in education – partnerships that have served us so well in the past. I know our shared focus on students, student achievement, and the classroom experience will remain at the heart of our ongoing discussions.

I encourage you to join us and so that we can work together to get the job done.