Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association announces tentative deal, suspends all strike action

Ontario’s Catholic teachers picket during a one-day strike back in January. OETCA has announced they have reached a tentative deal with the province, and have stopped all strike action. Kamil Karamali / Global News

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA) says they have reached a tentative deal with the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association and the Government of Ontario.

In a news release sent out Thursday, the union said the three parties had worked out “central terms for a new collective agreement.”

READ MORE: Ontario Catholic teachers resuming one-day strikes next week

OECTA, along with unions representing elementary, high school and French-language teachers, have been in contentious labour negotiations with the government since their contracts expired last August.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation has repeatedly voiced concerns with the government’s planned increases to class sizes and new mandatory e-learning requirements.

The union has been holding a series of rotating one-day strikes in protest over the last several months.

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READ MORE: Ontario’s Catholic teachers to hold provincewide 1-day strike

Details of the tentative agreement will remain confidential until the deal is ratified, according to the OECTA new release, signed by Association president Liz Stuart, said

If the tentative deal is approved by union representatives, a vote on the agreement will take place province-wide April 7 and 8.

Stuart said in the meantime, all strike action is suspended, effective immediately.

Minister for Education Stephen Lecce, at a press conference speaking about the recent decision to close Ontario schools for two weeks amid coronavirus fears, said he’s hopeful this deal will lead to agreements with the other teachers’ unions in the province.

“I’m absolutely committed to building on the momentum with the deal signed…a tentative deal reached with OECTA, and the trustees and the government. I think what is important is that students remain in class and have a good deal that is good for them, that improves their lives, gives them every skill and opportunity to succeed, and we believe that this deal does it with OECTA,” Lecce said.

— With files from The Canadian Press.

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