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Ontario reaches tentative deal with high school teachers’ union, ending tense bargaining round

Ontario has reached a tentative deal with the final major teachers’ union without a contract.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and the government announced the tentative agreement today.

Union president Harvey Bischof says the teachers did not get everything they wanted in the agreement, but the deal will provide stability in the province’s schools.

In recent months, the province has reached tentative contracts with three other teachers’ unions after contentious negotiations that led to walkouts and school closures.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the deal advances the priorities of parents and teachers.

Details of the agreement were not immediately available, but the union’s 60,000 members could vote on the tentative deal early next month.

The union returned to the table with the government in April after having only conducted informal talks since December.

With schools shuttered because of the pandemic, Bischof said the dynamics around the talks changed.

“These are extraordinary times,” he said in a statement. “When we began negotiations nearly a year ago, no one could have anticipated the situation we face today.”

In recent months, the province has reached agreements with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association and the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens.

“While this tentative agreement does not satisfy all of our concerns, we recognize the current environment we are in and the need for students to have stability once this emergency is over,” Bischof said.

CBC

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