Ontario school boards could be included at bargaining table

Education minister introduces province-wide bargaining legislation
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 10/28/2013

Province-wide bargaining for teachers and their support staff was introduced by Ontario’s education minister last week.

The School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, introduced on Oct. 22 by education minister Liz Sandals, would include trustee associations and school boards during negotiations. Should the legislation pass, employment contracts could only be approved if backed by the union, government and school board.

Sandals said her proposal establishes a clear process during labour negotiations and defines roles of key players.

“The proposed model would feature a central bargaining table where key issues with province-wide impacts, such as pay and benefits, would be negotiated,” she said. “Local bargaining would also occur where school boards and local federations and unions would negotiate local issues.”

As part of the act, matters specific to union and school board dealings would be included in collective agreement provisions.

The move was lauded by the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA), which said the legislation would solidify its position as a leader during negotiations.

“We are extremely pleased to see that OPSBA has been named in this legislation. A key OPSBA priority for more than five years has been to secure a legislated, fair structure and process for effective provincial bargaining,” a statement from the association reads. “Our goal in this regard is to bring stability to the entire education sector. The introduction of the bill is the first step in seeing this become a reality.”

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