Putting Students First

Chronology of 2012 Labour Discussions

November 21, 2012

Dec. 2011 – Jan. 2012
High-level meetings with all teacher federations, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the trustee associations and other support staff representatives, to discuss the Provincial Discussion Table (PDT) process and address any concerns.

Feb. 15
Memo from the Deputy Minister inviting PDT partners to a teleconference with Minister Broten on Feb. 21. The memo also encouraged partners to participate in meetings with the government table team and specified PDT dates.

Feb. 21
Premier's and Minister's teleconference inviting parties to participate in the PDT process.

Feb. 22
Government funding parameters provided to each organization.

Feb. 28
PDT discussions with teacher federations, support staff representatives and trustee associations begin.

Feb. 28
The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) withdrew from the PDT process having only completed a single hour of participation.

Mar. 6
Premier McGuinty correspondence to teacher federations, asking the parties to continue discussions with the government table team.

Mar. 27
Ontario 2012 Budget released, including funding parameters.

Mar. 29
Grants for Student Needs (GSN) funding is released to school boards, consistent with the government's publicly stated fiscal parameters.

Apr. 9
Minister Broten publicly encourages ETFO back to the PDT.

Apr. 11
Letter from Minister Broten to school board Chairs outlining the government's fiscal parameters within the GSN. A similar letter is sent from the Deputy Minister to Directors of Education outlining the government's fiscal parameters within the GSN.

Apr. 12
Minister's teleconference with school board Chairs, emphasizing school board responsibility to achieve balanced budgets and negotiate agreements that are within the government's fiscal parameters.

Apr. 12
B-memo from Assistant Deputy Minister Gabriel Sékaly to Directors of Education reiterating the need for school boards to balance budgets.

Apr. 19
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) withdraws from the PDT process.

May 10
A B-memo is sent from Assistant Deputy Minister Sékaly providing additional information to help boards develop budgets for the 2012-13 school year, which adhere to the funding framework.

May 16
Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) withdraws from the PDT process.

May 23
Government announced an amended government funding parameter and provided information to each organization at the PDT table via email. The amended parameter proposed increasing the number of sick days from six to 10.

Jun. 1 – Jul. 5
PDT discussions continue between the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) and the Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association (OCSTA).

Jul. 4
OCSTA withdraws from the PDT process regarding concerns over a “fair hiring” provision included in a proposed agreement with OECTA.

Jul. 5
OECTA and the ministry sign a memorandum of understanding that will come to form the basis of future memoranda with other education partners as well as the Putting Students First Act, 2012.

Jul. 9
Letter from Minister Broten to Chairs of trustee associations, executive directors and presidents of federations, encouraging them to return to the PDT process and providing a copy of the OECTA memorandum.

Jul. 12
Government PDT table team meets with OSSTF to discuss the OECTA memorandum.

Jul. 17
Government PDT table team meets with AEFO to discuss the OECTA memorandum.

Jul. 23
PDT discussions recommence between AEFO, Association franco-ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques (AFOCSC) and Association des conseils scolaires des écoles publiques de l'Ontario (ACEPO).

Jul. 24
A B-memo is sent from Assistant Deputy Minister Sékaly to school boards and education partners reiterating the province's fiscal parameters, while encouraging them to pursue local bargaining and negotiate local agreements based on those parameters.

Jul. 30
The Association of Professional Student Services Personnel (APSSP) and the province sign a memorandum of understanding.

Aug. 8
Toronto Catholic District School Board passed a motion indicating its intention to sign on to the memorandum of understanding reached between the Ministry of Education and the OECTA.

Aug. 9
The Association des enseignanteset des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) and the province sign a memorandum of understanding based on the roadmap provided by the July 5th OECTA memorandum.

Aug. 13
The government announces it will introduce a fair hiring regulation that will create a standardized, consistent and transparent approach to hiring occasional teachers for long-term occasional and permanent positions. At the same time, the government indicates it will soon release a Policy/Program Memorandum that will establish best practices for the effective use of diagnostic assessments.

Aug. 16*
The government announces its intention to introduce Bill 115, the Putting Students First Act, 2012, legislation that will require all local agreements to be consistent with the OECTA memorandum.

Aug. 22
York Catholic District School Board passed a motion indicating its intention to sign on to the memorandum of understanding reached between the Ministry of Education and the OECTA.

Aug. 23
Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board passed a motion indicating its intention to sign on to the memorandum of understanding reached between the Ministry of Education and the OECTA.

Aug. 24
Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board passed a motion indicating its intention to sign on to the memorandum of understanding reached between the Ministry of Education and the OECTA.

Aug. 27
The Minister of Education introduces Bill 115, the Putting Students First Act, 2012 in the House. The legislation requires local collective agreements to be consistent with the OECTA memorandum of understanding.

Aug. 31
Ontario signs another memorandum of understanding with almost 3,000 educational assistants. The agreement follows the roadmap set out in the OECTA memorandum, but it recognizes the different circumstances of non-teaching staff

Aug. 31
Assistant Deputy Minister Gabriel Sekaly sends a memo to directors of education and senior board officials that includes a copy of the then-proposed Putting Students First Act, 2012.

Sept. 11
The Putting Students First Act, 2012 passes the House with support from the governing party and the official opposition. The legislation takes effect immediately.

Nov 7.
The government facilitates discussions between OSSTF and school to boards to support getting to local agreements.

Nov. 11
Direct talks between the government and OSSTF conclude without an agreement.

Nov. 18
Tentative local collective agreements are reached with the Upper Grand and York Region district school boards and OSSTF teacher union locals.

Nov. 19
Tentative local collective agreements are reached with the Hamilton-Wentworth, Niagara and Thames Valley district school boards and OSSTF teacher union locals.

Nov. 19
ETFO members in York Region begin work-to-rule action, affecting 170 schools. Examples of the work-to-rule include not attending staff and divisional meetings and any board sponsored professional development activities held outside the instructional day, and not conducting any diagnostic assessments other than those that the teacher deems necessary to report on student progress.

Nov. 20
Tentative local collective agreement reached with the Upper Grand District School Board and OSSTF union local representing education assistants and early childhood educators.

Nov. 20
Tentative local collective agreements are reached with the Durham and Avon Maitland district school boards and OSSTF teacher union locals.

Nov. 20
Minister Broten announces that following an initial review of the tentative agreements between Upper Grand District School Board and York Region District School Board and OSSTF teacher locals, that they are workable within the scope of the substantively identical test under the Putting Students First Act, 2012.

Nov. 27
York Region, Niagara and Upper Grand OSSTF teacher union locals held ratification votes on their respective tentative agreements. York Region and Niagara voted not to ratify their agreements. Upper Grand voted to ratify their agreement.

Dec. 10
ETFO members in Avon Maitland stage a one-day strike. In the days and weeks following this, board-by-board one-day strikes by ETFO members occur across the province.

Dec. 10
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty released a statement on one-day teachers' strikes. "Today, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario has disrupted nine years of labour peace over a disagreement about pay. It's regrettable that students miss any time learning, and it's unfortunate that families will need to make alternate arrangements.”

Dec. 21
The Minister of Education issued a statement encouraging local bargaining in the run-up to the December 31, 2012 deadline for negotiated agreements. “After 10 months of negotiations and hundreds of hours at the table, we have seen agreements reached representing 55,000 teachers and over 4,000 support staff in the province. In addition, we have seen almost 40 agreements reached at the local level. Negotiated agreements are possible and they are the preferred approach.” Minister of Education called the head of key unions without agreements – OSSTF, ETFO and CUPE – urging agreements before the December 31 deadline.

Dec. 30
The Minister of Education issued a statement announcing a tentative agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and their 55,000 members. As a result, CUPE was given until January 14th, 2013 to ratify local agreements.

The statement also provided a reminder to school boards and unions about the December 31, 2012 deadline for final local collective agreements.

Dec. 31
By 11:59 p.m. on December 31, the Ministry of Education received a total of 65 local collective agreements.

Jan. 2, 2013
The Minister of Education approves 65 local collective agreements that were submitted to them prior to the deadline.

In addition, the Minister of Education exercises her authority under the Putting Students First Act, 2012 and advises the Lieutenant Governor in Council as to all school boards and employee bargaining agents that did not have settled collective agreements that are consistent with the legislation as of December 31, 2012.

Through an Order in Council, the Lieutenant Governor in Council orders that fair and balanced local collective agreements be put in place in all school boards that were unable to come to terms by December 31, 2012.

As a result of the Order in Council and the good work of those who negotiated agreements, collective agreements are now in place for 2012-14 for all bargaining units covered by the Putting Students First Act, 2012, except for those who have received an extension to January 14th for local ratifications. This also means that, where 2012-14 collective agreements have been put in place, any strike actions taken during this period will be illegal.

Jan. 3, 2013
The Minister of Education announced publicly that 2012-14 collective agreements for the education sector are now in place across the province. In addition, the Minister announced that the Putting Students First Act will be repealed: “The Putting Students First Act was introduced and passed by a majority of the House to ensure that we could maintain the progress we've made in our schools and minimize labour disruption during the extended negotiation period. The Putting Students First Act has now accomplished this goal. Therefore, following the ratification period for CUPE and before the end of the month, I will move to repeal the Act.”

Jan. 9, 2013
ETFO announces the intention to have an illegal strike on Jan. 11.

Jan. 10, 2013
The Minister applies to the Ontario Labour Relations Board for an order to have ETFO cease and desist from encouraging or threatening illegal strike activity.

OSSTF announces a similar intent for an illegal strike.

Jan. 11, 2013
After an overnight hearing, the Ontario Labour Relations Board issues an order declaring the “political protest” strike to be illegal and ordering ETFO and its members to cease and desist.

Immediately, ETFO cancels the illegal strike. OSSTF subsequently cancels what would have been an illegal strike that they were planning for a later date

Jan. 21, 2013
The Minister of Education approves 70 local collective agreements between CUPE and school boards that were submitted to prior to the extended ratification deadlinedeadline.

In addition, the Minister of Education exercised her authority under the Putting Students First Act, 2012 and advised the Lieutenant Governor in Council as to all school boards and CUPE locals that did not have settled collective agreements.

Through an Order in Council, the Lieutenant Governor in Council ordered that fair and balanced local collective agreements be put in place for the 40 units where school boards and CUPE locals that did not have settled collective agreements.

Regulations implementing the CUPE MOU were made under the Putting Students First Act and the Education Act, including an 11th sick day for all bargaining and non-bargaining staff.

With local collective agreements put in place for all teachers and support staff, the government announces that the Putting Students First Act will be repealed effective January 23, 2013.

* August 16, 2012: School To Stay On Track And Without Disruptions