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Canada Ontario education minister delivers warning letter after talks break down

07:35  30 september  2019
07:35  30 september  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

Randall Denley: Explaining the miracle of Ontario's disappearing deficit

  Randall Denley: Explaining the miracle of Ontario's disappearing deficit It’s understandable that Ontarians are cynical when it comes to budget deficit numbers. They’ve had years of training under the former Liberal government, which made an annual ritual of congratulating itself for achieving a lower deficit than it professed to expect. Not that the Liberals produced even a single balanced budget in the last decade, but they did create the impression of a determined crawl toward a distant target. Then the PCs took Then the PCs took power and shocked the public with the news that the deficit for 2018-19 would be $15 billion, far more than the $6.7 billion the free-spending Liberals had promised. That led to allegations that the PCs had inflated the number for political purposes.

In the letter , Education Minister Stephen Lecce reiterates familiar government messaging about the labour dispute and sternly warns employees Letter from Education Minister Stephen Lecce about CUPE job action. Sunday evening, CUPE released a statement regarding the breakdown in talks .

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said CUPE, which represents 55,000 custodians, clerical workers and early childhood educators , had accepted a government offer of new mediation dates and talks could READ MORE: Ontario education minister delivers warning letter after talks break down .

a man wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera: Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce speaks to teachers before giving remarks, in Toronto, on Thursday, August 22, 2019.© THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov Ontario Minister of Education Stephen Lecce speaks to teachers before giving remarks, in Toronto, on Thursday, August 22, 2019.

On the evening before 55,000 educational workers initiate job action across the province, Global News has obtained a letter sent to school boards from Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

In the letter, Lecce reiterates familiar government messaging about the labour dispute and sternly warns employees about maintaining student safety.

"During this period of job action, student safety will remain the utmost priority. I know this is a position we all share, and I expect that no CUPE member will ever undertake any action that would jeopardize the safety and security of any student in the province."

Education workers to begin work-to-rule after negotiations break off

  Education workers to begin work-to-rule after negotiations break off Some 55,000 education workers in Ontario are set to embark on work-to-rule on Monday after last-minute contract talks failed to reach a deal. The decision on a legal strike position comes at the end of two days of last-minute contract talks between CUPE, the province and the Council of Trustees' Associations in an effort to avoid a work-to-rule campaign.

Ministers are reportedly finalising the proposals aimed at helping those who have missed out since school gates closed in March after the UK went into lockdown. Reports of the plan came as 1,500 paediatricians signed an open letter warning the government it needed to get pupils back to school

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce says that following the two-week period, the province will evaluate to see what other measures might be required. (Evan Mitsui/CBC). In the meantime, the province will be providing schools with extra sanitation resources and personal hygiene products, he

Clerical staff, school custodians and educational assistants will start a work-to-rule campaign Monday morning.

On Friday, instructions from CUPE were sent to members. The instructions include office staff not supervising students and educational assistants not remaining in classrooms unless accompanied by a teacher.

The letter, which was also addressed to trustees associations, also states: "I have instructed my bargaining team to reach out to the mediator to offer further bargaining dates to CUPE, as soon as possible. We remain available to negotiate at any time."

Sunday evening, CUPE released a statement regarding the breakdown in talks.

“What the provincial government and the trustees’ associations has done is highly irresponsible,” said Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions.

If Ontario CUPE Education Workers Strike, Some Schools Could Close

  If Ontario CUPE Education Workers Strike, Some Schools Could Close Nothing strikes fear into the heart of parents like the words “school” and “strike.” And on Wednesday, as news broke that non-teaching staff at Ontario’s schools could walk off the job as early as Monday, that worry became a reality. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario School Board Council of Unions gave five-day strike action notice in an address at Queen’s Park. Workers have already been on work-to-rule for three days. WATCH:And on Wednesday, as news broke that non-teaching staff at Ontario’s schools could walk off the job as early as Monday, that worry became a reality.

Ontario education minister delivers warning letter after talks break down . In the letter , Education Minister Stephen Lecce reiterates familiar government messaging about the The protest comes after Education Minister Lisa Thompson announced a slew of changes to her ministry 's portfolio.

Education Minister Lisa Thompson also announces significant changes to Ontario 's education With bargaining talks set to begin before contracts expire in August, Ford warns Ontario teachers October 2019. After talks break down between the union, the province and school boards, CUPE

"The province and the CTA had it within their power to reach a fair deal that protects services for students. But instead, they chose to disrupt students’ education by refusing to see the deal that was there to be made. Now they have left millions of students, parents and families out in the cold.”

A source with the union told Global News that CUPE believes the government is fear-mongering and that no safety concerns will arise.

The source also said Lecce has been tone-deaf to the concerns of the union: "He hasn't really been listening thus far, and we hope that changes."

"It’s a little insulting for the education minister to suggest that they have been bargaining in good faith considering that his government introduced a wage freeze for all public sector workers in the spring," said a TDSB employee that will be affected by the job action, who was not authorized to speak publicly, Sunday night.

"This legislation was designed to circumvent the impending negotiation process in the education sector."

The employee also raised concerns about the likelihood of a deal moving forward: "The Ontario Progressive Conservative government has been bargaining in bad faith and has been since before bargaining began."

What the CUPE deal means for the Ford government and teacher negotiations .
While Ontario Premier Doug Ford's government managed to reach a last-minute deal to avert a strike by school support workers, far tougher rounds of education bargaining loom ahead.  Getting a tentative agreement with CUPE's 55,000 education workers took on added urgency for the Progressive Conservatives as their federal cousins feared the political consequences of widespread school shutdowns in battleground Ontario at the height of a federal election campaign.The Ford government is coughing up an extra $100 million a year as part of the deal, including new funding for support staff jobs and a wage increase.

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