Eastern Ontario school board taking teachers to labour board over withholding extracurriculars

Lambton County members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation held a political protest outside the Sarnia constituency office of Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013.



CORNWALL, Ont. - An eastern Ontario school board is taking Ontario’s elementary teachers to the labour board for withholding extracurricular activities as part of their efforts to protest being forced into a contract.

On Friday, the Upper Canada District School Board, which serves a wide area south of Ottawa, intends to argue before the Ontario Labour Relations Board that the ongoing job action forced on teachers by their union amounts to “an illegal or unlawful strike.”

The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) sent out a notice Jan. 14 telling its members their contract only requires them to work five hours a day and no more. It lists several duties, such as daily planning, preparation and complete comments on report cards, as voluntary.

“We believe that in counselling its members (to refrain from these activities) it’s engaging in an illegal or unlawful strike,” Greg Pietersma, UCDSB chair, said.

“Our hope is that the (labour board) will issue the cease and desist and teachers will be allowed to provide decisions on their own without influence from the union or any other groups, including the board.”

He said the intention is simply to see a return of sports teams, field trips and other things the board considers part of the education experience.

“It’s important for us to, as soon as possible, to get back to normal,” Pietersma said. “We have students in our schools today and they deserve the same world-class education the students got the year before and the year before that.”

ETFO could not be reached for comment.

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