On Wednesday, Jan. 9, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) announced they'd be staging a province wide “Day of Protest” on Friday, Jan. 11 in response to the Government of Ontario's actions on Jan. 3. The Avon Maitland District School Board notified parents Wednesday afternoon that all elementary schools including the Grade 7-8 programs would be closed to students on that day.
Thursday afternoon, parents were informed that a legal ruling might mean schools would be open Friday, and to check the board's website yourschools.ca/labour-update for further information. But they should plan for alternative day care just in case.
Word came through early Friday that any walkout would be deemed an illegal strike. A press release was sent out just after 5 a.m. that schools with the Avon Maitland board would be open as usual, along with most schools in the province.
Schools in some areas were closed Friday due to the information on the decision coming through too late; freezing rain also led to some school and bus disruptions.
The press release stated, “The decision to open the schools comes following a Ontario Labour Relations Board decision announced early this morning in favour of the provincial government. The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) provincial leadership and the local representatives have said that they will respect the ruling; teachers will report to work and the 'political protest' has been cancelled.”
Further information regarding ETFO’s job action is available at www.etfo.on.ca.
The ETFO's president Sam Hammond had issued a statement Jan. 9 saying 92 per cent of over 46,000 members who cast a ballot in December had voted in favour of a one-day political protest should the minister impose contracts using Bill 115 – as she did on Jan. 3.
But it appears the Labour Relations Board determined a contract was a contract, however it was arrived at.