Downtown Woodstock will once again be packed with teachers walking the picket lines today. All four major education unions are staging walkouts today.
ONTARIO - Every single publicly funded school in the Province will be closed to students today.
All four education unions are staging a one day strike on February 21st. This includes members of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO), Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF), Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA), Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO).
Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce issued the following statement on Friday in response to the OSSTF's continued strike action:
"We want a deal that keeps students in class. Strikes by the teachers' unions have resulted in millions of student days lost. Days where students should have been in class preparing for math tests, practising for hockey games or music competitions, and learning the skills needed to succeed in their educational journey and beyond.
While OSSTF demands a $1.5 billion increase in wages and benefits, we will advance the case for investment in our kids. I'd rather see us reduce classroom sizes or invest further in improving math performance, as opposed to spending over $600 million (sector-wide) on a hike to an already generous benefits plan. With over 80 cents to the dollar spent on compensation and over 60% increase in spending since 2003, taxpayers and parents rightfully expect more and better for our students. We agree.
We have always been ready to meet at the negotiating table to reach a deal that keeps students in class."
This is the first time in history that Ontario's four largest teachers unions will stage a joint one day strike across the Province. They made the announcement last week.
Meanwhile The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association will start doing rotating strikes next week.
They will be walking out of class at different school boards starting on February 24th. The London and District Catholic School Board, which includes Oxford County will be impacted on Friday February 28th.
(Photos are from previous strike days)