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Ontario elementary teachers get salary, benefits boosts in tentative contract deal

Ontario government announces tentative agreement reached with ETFO
WATCH ABOVE: Ontario government announces tentative agreement reached with ETFO (March 21, 2020)

TORONTO – Ontario’s elementary teachers have agreed to salary increases of one per cent a year for three years, but will get higher benefit increases than the government originally sought.

The Canadian Press has obtained a memo of highlights that the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario sent to its members about the tentative contract deal it recently reached with the provincial government.

The government had previously said it would not budge beyond an offer to increase both wages and benefits by one per cent per year, but ETFO secured four per cent annual increases to benefits.

READ MORE: Ontario elementary teachers’ union, province reach tentative agreement

Education Minister Stephen Lecce had also wanted concessions on a regulation that dictates seniority-based hiring, but while the agreement doesn’t come with any such concessions, it also doesn’t come with guarantees that the government can’t make changes to it.

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The agreement also contains a Support for Students fund, which ETFO says will create about 434 teacher positions, meant to address areas such as special education, English language learners, and mental-health initiatives.

The government has also made a “binding, enforceable” commitment in writing to maintain the current full-day kindergarten structure, with one teacher and one early childhood educator.