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3rd day of talks begin between Ontario’s public elementary teachers, government

Click to play video: 'Education Minister Stephen Lecce discusses contract talks with teachers' Education Minister Stephen Lecce discusses contract talks with teachers
WATCH: The Ontario government and the union that represents the province’s elementary teachers are back at the table on Wednesday. It’s unclear if contract talks will continue and strikes with multiple unions are continuing this week and next. Travis Dhanraj speaks with Education Minister Stephen Lecce – Jan 29, 2020

TORONTO – Premier Doug Ford says elementary teachers and the government will be at the bargaining table until they strike a deal.

Renewed contract talks have entered a third day between the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the province, and the union has said it will ramp up its strikes next week if a deal is not reached today.

The elementary teachers have been holding one-day, rotating strikes for two weeks – today’s target the Peel and Hamilton-Wentworth boards – but they are planning to walk out at each board twice a week starting Monday if no deal is reached.

READ MORE: How will the Ontario teachers’ strikes affect students’ learning? Experts weigh in

The two sides returned to the bargaining table Wednesday for the first time since Dec. 19.

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Ford says his government is working hard with the unions and both sides are working hard to get a deal.

Meanwhile, in another crack in a teacher-government stalemate, the province’s English Catholic teachers say they will return to the bargaining table after talks broke off earlier this month.

Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association president Liz Stuart said they have agreed to return to talks on Monday, but a one-day, provincewide strike set for Tuesday is still on, for now.

READ MORE: Ontario teachers’ strikes: A timeline of key events and actions taken

“We are pleased to be getting back to negotiations,” she said in a statement. “However, it remains to be seen how serious the discussions will be.”

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in a statement that he wants the union to come to the table with “realistic proposals that prioritize student success.”

The union representing French teachers, which has been in regular talks with the government, wrapped up two days of talks Thursday and now has two more days scheduled for next week.

High school teachers are now the only union with no scheduled bargaining dates. They announced Thursday that they would resume their weekly rotating strikes, after not holding any during this week’s exam period.

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