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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 6, April 2005

Ontario teachers reach accord

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced that it had reached a four-year accord with the provincial government. The accord will see the provincial government provide sufficient funding to local boards in order that each elementary teacher will receive 200 minutes of preparation time by 2008. (The current range for prep time is 130 to 200 minutes per week.)

Other features of the accord include funding that would provide for:

  1. caps on class size and supervision duties (specifics not provided).
  2. salary increases of 2% in 2004 and 2005, 2.5% in 2006, and 3.0% in 2007.
  3. additional staffing for 1,300 teachers in the areas of art, music, and physical education. (As many as 5,000 additional teachers could be hired over the term of the accord.)

The cost of the accord is estimated at $500 million.

The current work to rule (no staff meetings or other administrative duties) will be lifted as of Monday April 18. This will allow individual boards and teacher unions to reach an agreement within the framework of the accord. If contracts are not reached by June 1, 2005, ETFO will resume its work to rule.

Gerard Kennedy, the education minister, said this of the agreement reached, "I think we have a very good deal if you look at what’s involved here that is beneficial, and I believe it will stand up to whatever scrutiny is applied... In some ways, peace isn’t expensive in education because everyone desperately wants it."

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