JOHN ROBBINS/Bullet News
QUEEN’s PARK – The provincial government has struck a new deal with Ontario’s public elementary teachers.
The agreement with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario was announced Thursday morning.
“Since the beginning, our objective during these discussions has been clear – repair the relationship with the education sector so that we can continue to build one of the best education systems in the world,” Education Minister Liz Sandals said in a statement.
“This agreement achieves that and also ensures we treat our teachers fairly and equitably, regardless of where they work.”
The agreement introduces some changes to the current agreement to make it consistent with a recent deal worked out with high school teachers.
According to the ministry, these include:
- Providing employees with 11 sick days at 100 per cent pay, with an additional 120 days at 90 per cent pay;
- Providing 100 per cent pay for eight weeks of maternity leave, up from six.
- Enhancing the non-vested retirement gratuity payout similar to the agreement reached with public high school teachers.
- Maintaining existing levels of support staff workers, such as early childhood educators and education assistants, while ensuring boards have the ability to manage within their allocation.
A difference in pay between public and Catholic elementary teachers is to be eliminated, effective Sept. 1, 2014.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has made it a major initiative of her government to improve the strained relationship with teachers’ unions experienced during the last year of the government of former premier Dalton McGuinty.
Public elementary teachers staged a one-day walkout late last year in protest of government legislation that forced contracts on unions and school boards.
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