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Elementary teachers, province reach agreement

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Elementary teachers and the provincial government have reached a tentative agreement, and normal school functions will begin again – eventually.

Pushing seven months with no contract, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has reached a tentative deal with the provincial government, and ETFO president Sam Hammond is grateful for the support the union has received.

“This has been a very prolonged and difficult bargaining process,” said Hammond in a press release. “We are very grateful for the support and unwavering solidarity of our members, and the public who have continued to stand up for public education and the supports that our students and educators need now and in the future.”

However, Hammond added while the deal is tentatively approved, it still needs approval from ETFO’s 83,000 members.

ETFO will review details of the agreement, and will meet with ETFO local leaders and members this week to approve the deal. Strike action has also been suspended according to the press release.

Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce said in a press release he is pleased to see the matter with ETFO come to a close.

“This tentative ETFO agreement builds further momentum for deals and progress that students deserve, following last week’s tentative agreement signed with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA),” he said.

OECTA also reached a deal with the province recently, and was the first of the four major teachers unions in Ontario to do so.

Schools are currently shut down due to COVID-19, and while a deal has been reached, students and teachers will not be attending for at least another two weeks.