Talks continue as Ontario colleges’ strike enters 4th week

Click to play video: 'Hundreds of striking college workers from across the province rally at Queen’s Park'
Hundreds of striking college workers from across the province rally at Queen’s Park
WATCH ABOVE: Hundreds of striking college workers from across the province rally at Queen's Park – Nov 2, 2017

As 12,000 Ontario community college instructors, counsellors, and librarians enter their fourth week of picketing, bargaining continues.

Negotiations resumed last week, but there’s been no word on whether any progress has been made.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and the College Employer Council (CEC) have both said they’re under a media blackout, and will not be commenting on the talks.

READ MORE: Fanshawe faculty ‘cautiously optimistic’ as bargaining resumes in college strike

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After more than two weeks of silence, both sides were called back to the bargaining table Nov. 2.

The union has said they’re hopeful the colleges have changed some aspects of their position, since the mediator had said there wouldn’t be a return to the table unless one party’s position had changed.

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Meanwhile, as the idea of an extended semester and the possibility of not finishing their academic year became more likely, student voices were brought to the head of the conversation.

Fanshawe College has since announced classes will be extended to Friday, Dec. 22, and fall graduation ceremonies have been postponed, but the college also said they fully expect students will be able to complete their academic year once the strike is over, and noted that no student has ever lost their academic year because of a faculty strike.

READ MORE: Fall term extended at Fanshawe College as strike nears fourth week

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Last week Premier Kathleen Wynne said she would potentially consider back-to-work legislation to force faculty to return to teaching if the strike began to significantly undermine students.

More than half a million students are affected by the dispute that has shuttered Ontario’s 24 public colleges since Oct. 16.

— With files from Liny Lamberink, Matthew Trevithick and the Canadian Press

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