Credits: WILLY WATERTON/OWEN SOUND SUN TIMES/QMI AGENCY
TORONTO — Ontario's public elementary and secondary school teachers are about to get spanked with Bill 115.
Education Minister Laurel Broten said Thursday she will impose contracts on members of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) using her powers under the Putting Students First Act.
Broten also announced she will repeal Bill 115, which she acknowledged has become a "lightning rod" for teachers, after it is used to set contracts. She hopes this will encourage teachers to resume extracurricular activities.
NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo said the government knows Bill 115 won't withstand the unions' constitutional challenge and is now offering to withdraw it after it's been used.
"This is politics at its worse," DiNovo said.
Swift reaction on social media suggested the repeal of Bill 115 won't appease many teachers.
The Liberal government first began negotiating with the province's school teachers and support workers in February, and reached deals with Catholic school teachers and CUPE Ontario.
When teacher contracts with ETFO and OSSTF reached an Aug. 31 deadline — which would have seen the agreements roll over automatically — Broten brought in Bill 115, which gave the unions until Dec. 31 to reach deals that followed the financial framework of the negotiated settlement with the Ontario English
Catholic Teachers Association (OECTA).
That OECTA deal requires teachers to accept a two-year pay freeze, a partially frozen salary grid, three unpaid PD days and the end of a perk that allowed them to bank some unused sick days and cash them out when they retire.
ETFO and OSSTF have called Bill 115 an affront to their constitutional collective bargaining rights.
ETFO announced on its website Thursday that it will hold one-day walkouts in protest.