Schoolchildren in Peterborough, ON.
Credits: CLIFFORD SKARSTEDT/PETERBOROUGH EXAMINER/QMI AGENCY
“We’ll fight this all the way to the Supreme Court,” Ken Coran, president of the Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers’ Federation, said.
“I don’t care if a court fight takes 10 years.”
Coran, along with Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario president Sam Hammond and Canadian Union of Public Employees (Ontario) president Fred Hahn, held a joint press conference to voice their opposition to the bill, expected to be introduced to the legislature Monday.
Coran said the bill, called the Putting Students First Act, should be called the “Putting Finances First Act.”
“We certainly have a lot of criticism about this legislation,” he said, calling the bill “tremendously flawed.” Hammond said in addition to a court fight, ETFO and OSSTF are planning a day of protest at Queen’s Park next Tuesday.
“On that day our members will be telling this government it’s not too late to set aside this destructive legislation,” Hammond said.
“We believe this legislation unprincipled and undemocratic and we ask the premier - what country do you think you’re living in?”
The government says the wage deal would impose a two-year freeze on pay hikes and prevent all but the youngest teachers from moving up the salary grid.
It would also ban strikes for two years.
On Wednesday, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak suggested his party might support the bill but would much prefer to see it toughened before they do.
Premier Dalton McGuinty’s minority Liberals would need either support or abstentions from opposition members to pass any bill.