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2nd strike planned for some Ontario public high school teachers on Wednesday, union says

OSSTF plans second strike next week
WATCH ABOVE: Ontario high school workers with some boards will walk off the job on Wednesday for the second week in a row after labour negotiations between their union and the province broke down over the weekend. Travis Dhanraj reports.

Some Ontario public high school teachers and education workers are set to hold a second one-day strike Wednesday as tensions continue to rise between the teachers’ union and the provincial government.

The one-day strike is planned for nine school boards throughout the province where workers are represented by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) if a deal isn’t reached with the government.

Some French schools that have OSSTF members will also be affected by a walkout.

Workers represented by the union but not engaging in a walkout will hold information pickets in front of schools, at MPPs’ offices and other locations, the union said.

READ MORE: Ontario high school teachers plan further job action next week, sources say

Teachers and education workers represented by OSSTF at the following school boards will engage in a full withdrawal of services Wednesday:

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  • Toronto District School Board
  • Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board
  • Grand Erie District School Board
  • Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board
  • Near North District School Board
  • Rainy River District School Board
  • Simcoe County District School Board
  • Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board
  • Trillium Lakelands District School Board

News of further action comes after approximately 55,000 OSSTF members held a one-day strike throughout the province this past Wednesday leaving 628,000 students out of class.

Last Friday, sources familiar with the negotiations told Global News some of the key sticking points at the negotiating table include compensation, mandatory e-learning, and increasing class sizes.

‘Parents don’t want larger classes’: OSSTF President Harvey Bischof
‘Parents don’t want larger classes’: OSSTF President Harvey Bischof

On Sunday, Global News reported the results of the government’s consultations on class sizes, which showed Ontario parents overwhelmingly disapprove of an increase.

“Even after it was confirmed that the government’s own public consultations reveal overwhelming opposition to Doug Ford’s education agenda, the government is still refusing to engage in serious discussions about mandatory e-learning, class size, staffing, or any other issue that affects the learning environments in our schools,” OSSTF president Harvey Bischof said in a statement.

“We are disappointed and mystified at the government’s apparent indifference to the legitimate and well-documented concerns of parents, students, and educators alike.”

READ MORE: Key contract issues as tensions increase between Ontario public high school teachers’ union, government

Education Minister Stephen Lecce spoke to media at Queen’s Park Friday shortly before the announcement from OSSTF.

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“In over 200 days, OSSTF has not put forward any changes to their proposal, nor as of this time, proposed any new dates to return to the bargaining table,” he said.

“Student success should never be the casualty of union escalation … We hope the union leaders will accept our call for private mediation. We hope they will stay at the table, cease from further escalation, and more importantly, take up our offer through the mediator to meet again and to propose new dates.”

As of Friday afternoon, no talks were scheduled between the province and OSSTF.

Ontario public high school teachers union planning further job action, sources say
Ontario public high school teachers union planning further job action, sources say

Meanwhile, the province’s elementary teachers are set to be at the bargaining table with the province Monday as their union, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), also looks to ink a deal.

Teachers represented by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) are also at the negotiating table with the province. OECTA members will be in a legal strike position as of Dec. 21.

– With files from Travis Dhanraj