Politics
Strikes legal after repeal of Bill 115: Teachers' union

Teachers from the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario picket outside the provincial Ministry of Education in Toronto December 18, 2012.

Credits: REUTERS

DAVE FLAHERTY | QMI AGENCY

LINDSAY, Ont. - There was no ruling Friday in a labour dispute between two Ontario school boards and a teachers' union over "illegal strike activities."

Instead, the battle between two rural school boards and the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) over the cancellation of extracurricular activities will continue Monday.

Lindsay's Trillium Lakelands District School Board and Brockville's Upper Canada District School Board argued before the Ontario Labour Relations Board in Toronto that the ETFO is directing members to take part in "illegal strike actions" like not taking part in extracurricular activities.

Lawyers for the ETFO are arguing that because the Ontario Liberal government repealed Bill 115- which imposed contracts on teachers' unions - on Wednesday, they are in a legal strike position.

But the Ministry of Education said that even with the repeal of the controversial bill, the contracts are valid until 2014.

Earlier this week, Karen Round, chairwoman of the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, told QMI Agency that while extracurricular activities are voluntary for teachers, their absence having negative effects on students.

ETFO contracts ran out on Aug. 31, 2012, bringing about months of conflict between the union and the Liberals.

While Catholic teachers reached a deal with the province, public elementary and high school teachers' unions have both said Bill 115 was an attack on their democratic rights to negotiate with school boards.

In addition to abstaining from extracurricular activities, ETFO members have taken other actions, including roving strikes in December.

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