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Ontario Government and CUPE Reach Agreements

Web posted on January 03, 2013

Ontario is moving forward with the implementation of collective agreements for all teachers and support staff that meet the province's fiscal targets while protecting the classroom experience and the gains made in education. All new contracts are retroactive to Sept. 1, 2012 and will expire on Aug. 31, 2014.

Contract negotiations with unions representing teachers and support staff have been ongoing since Feb. 2012. Through that process, 55,000 teachers, 4,000 support staff and 55,000 CUPE educational workers have negotiated agreements that meet the government's fiscal goals while supporting student achievement.

The new contracts will save the province $250 million in 2012-13, growing to $540 million in 2013-14. This is in addition to one-time savings of $1.1 billion with the elimination of banked sick days.

Today, Laurel Broten, Minister of Education, approved all 65 locally negotiated and ratified agreements submitted by school boards prior to the Dec. 31, 2012 deadline set out in the Putting Students First Act. CUPE has been given until Jan. 14 to ratify 110 local agreements.

"I want to commend and congratulate those school boards and union locals who negotiated agreements that met our fiscal plan. Others will benefit from the terms of the negotiated agreement between the government and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association. I would ask everyone, especially teachers, to look carefully at the agreements being brought forward today. Our teachers remain among the best paid in Canada and their benefits remain generous. Teaching continues to be a rewarding career for thousands of dedicated professionals, and we will continue to invest in young teachers and reward their academic achievements and experience. By working together, we can continue to ensure Ontario schools are among the best in the world." Comments Laurel Broten, Minister of Education

Through an Order In Council, the Lieutenant Governor in Council - on the advice of the Minister - has implemented contracts for all school boards and unions that were unable to deliver ratified and approved collective agreements by the deadline. This does not include those that have received an extension until Jan. 14 for local ratifications. The authority to put in place contracts after Dec. 31, 2012 is granted under the Putting Students First Act.

The Putting Students First Act was introduced and passed by a majority of the House to ensure that we could maintain the progress we've made in our schools and minimize labour disruption during the extended negotiation period. The Putting Students First Act has now accomplished this goal. Therefore, following the ratification period for CUPE and before the end of the month, the Minister of Education will move to repeal the Act.

Under the Putting Students First Act, the local collective agreements put in place are based on the terms of the negotiated agreement between the government and OECTA and other memoranda of understanding signed before Aug. 31, 2012.

The Ontario government is committed to protecting the gains Ontario has made in education while taking steps to eliminate the deficit. The collective agreements announced today ensure the government can meet its fiscal goals while continuing to rollout full-day kindergarten, maintain smaller class sizes and protect 20,000 teaching and support staff jobs.