Public high school teachers in Halton Region and Ottawa are slated to begin work-to-rule campaigns Thursday.
The withdrawal of services will involve picketing at lunch, the wearing of union colours and the refusal to provide comments to go with marks on student report cards, the Halton District School Board said on its website.
The teachers are members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), which has already launched full strikes in Peel, Durham and Sudbury.
The Ontario Labour Relations Board is expected to rule as early as Thursday on whether those strikes are illegal, as claimed by the local school boards.
In support of striking OSSTF teachers, Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario president Sam Hammond tweeted Wednesday that he was “positive Ministry of Labour issued a No Board Report to #OSSTF for legal local strike action. A strike is a strike is a strike! “
Meanwhile, Education Minister Liz Sandals has asked the Education Relations Commission to determine if the academic year of high school students in Peel, Durham and Sudbury is in jeopardy — usually a first step on the path to back-to-work legislation.
Progressive Conservative MPP Garfield Dunlop said Sandals and the Liberal government promised when passing Bill 122 last year that it would make the negotiation process easier for everyone.
“This Liberal government rushed the new bargaining system in without any due diligence and we’re seeing what a disaster this two-tier system has created,” Dunlop said. “(Sandals has) lost control of the bargaining process and students are suffering because of it.”
Under Bill 122, teacher unions negotiate simultaneously at two levels — major monetary issues at a provincial or “central” table and local issues with school boards.
Peel District School Board chair Janet McDougald has already called for changes in the bargaining process, saying it’s impossible to reach a local deal without a provincial agreement in place.
Unions have said the province and the school boards are trying to force them to accept concessions that would lead to larger class sizes and strip their members of professional rights such as control over their own class preparation time.