Ontario high school teachers to start first step of bargaining process

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Ontario’s high school teachers will start the early stages of contract talks next month in what could be a contentious round of bargaining.

Contracts for teachers and education workers at the province’s publicly funded schools expire at the end of August, but Education Minister Lisa Thompson has invited unions to the table early.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation accepted that invitation today, which means that an initial meeting between the parties for central bargaining has to take place in the next 15 days.

OSSTF president Harvey Bischof says he’s expecting bargaining to be difficult, saying recent announcements from the government show they’re prepared to sacrifice education quality.

Unions and school boards have criticized the government’s recent moves to increase class sizes for Grade 4 and higher, mandate e-learning courses and reduce per-student funding to boards.

Thompson says she’s looking forward to getting to the bargaining table.