MUSKOKA-HALIBURTON, ON – Parents of students might want to start preparing for a full teachers strike as the local union begins their first level of job action.

Members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) began withdrawing from certain services today. Teachers are in a position to walk off the job with just five days’ notice, but that doesn’t seem to be part of the union’s plans yet.

Elementary and high school teachers will no longer leave personalized comments on report cards, participate in provincial standardized testing preparation or most organized activities outside of work hours.

Teachers are also planning demonstrations at their schools and local MPP offices. Pickets will be outside of Norm Miller’s office in Bracebridge and Lauri Scott’s in Lindsay. The union said the protest won’t affect the school day for students.

“We’re disappointed to be at this point but despite Stephen Lecce’s repeated claims of good faith
bargaining the Ford government continues to use their legislative power to impose increased class sizes
and limitations on salary,” OSSTF president Olic Mathew said. “These cuts are negatively affecting our students through bigger classes, less individual attention, fewer course options and more combined classes.”

The union said the Ford government hasn’t acknowledged the negative impact increasing class sizes, forcing e-learning and potential cuts to teaching jobs will have on education across the province. The OSSTF added Ontario has failed to address issues affecting student learning throughout the bargaining process.

OSSTF said it is committed to finding solutions as long as the focus is on creating solid learning environments.

The local union represents roughly 400 secondary teachers and occasional teachers along with about 25
student support professionals.