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Ontario public high school teachers head to arbitration for new contract

TORONTO — Ontario’s public high school teachers are now turning to binding arbitration to get a new contract, as bargaining has concluded with the union unable to reach a negotiated deal with the province.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation agreed to a novel process that eliminates the possibility of strikes during bargaining and for the next three years.

The union ratified a deal last month with the government that would see negotiations continue until Oct. 27, after which any outstanding issues would be decided by an arbitrator, and the last day of talks before that date wrapped up Wednesday.

Both union president Karen Littlewood and Education Minister Stephen Lecce say the parties made good progress recently in negotiations, but that monetary issues will be settled by binding arbitration.

The agreement to use arbitration will also see the teachers get a remedy for lost wages under a wage restraint law known as Bill 124, though the details haven’t been made public.

The three other major teachers’ unions have so far rejected the idea of using binding arbitration.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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