One-day strike would close West Carleton public schools

WEST CARLETON – West Carleton students may have the day off Wednesday (Nov. 4) as elementary and secondary schools in Ottawa may close if teachers and support staff go ahead with a planned one-day strike.

Ottawa’s English public school board says parents should be prepared for classes to be cancelled if there is a strike. The two French-language boards have announced all schools will have to close to ensure students remain safe.

Between the three boards, about 116,000 students could be out of class. The strike would not affect the Ottawa Catholic School Board, as support staff have already reached a new collective bargain agreement.

Four of Ontario’s five major education unions remain engaged in negotiations with the provincial government. The unions are opposed to larger classes, mandatory online courses for high school students, cuts to some education funding and a law limiting wage increases for public servants to one per cent a year.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has criticized the unions for escalating the conflict, saying he’s being reasonable and that strikes hurt kids.

The one-day walkout planned for Dec. 4 by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) would be the first general strike in Ontario schools since 1997, when teachers walked out to protest cuts by the Conservative government of Mike Harris.

OSSTF President Harvey Bischof says there’s still time to reach a deal before Dec. 4.