KEVIN VAN PAASSEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took the reins of the province's Liberal Party in 2013 after a protracted dispute between teachers and the government of her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty. Teachers had staged large-scale walkouts and halted extracurriculars over a 2012 bill that dictated the terms of their contracts and froze their pay – legislation the government later repealed. Ms. Wynne's new government inherited the task of mending relationships with public-sector unions.
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In April, 2014, the government overhauled its collective bargaining system for teachers and support staff to avoid a repeat of the previous labour chaos. Bill 122 set out a process for settling some aspects of future collective agreements through centralized bargaining. Two months later, a provincial election brought the Liberals into a majority government.
CHRIS YOUNG/FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Strike-fund preparations began in earnest in the summer of 2014, as contracts for all 115,000 Ontario teachers ran out on Aug. 31. Ms. Wynne, hoping to keep a multibillion-dollar deficit under control, stressed that there would be no new funding for salary increases.
- From the archives: No new money for pay bumps, Wynne tells teachers
MATTHEW SHERWOOD/FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL
In April, 2015, negotiations hit an impasse, partly because of a government proposal to eliminate caps on class sizes and give teachers more non-classroom duties. Strikes in April and May closed high schools in Peel Region, Durham Region and Sudbury, with elementary teachers following suit with work-to-rule action. In late May, the Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled the three strikes by high-school teachers to be illegal. The province passed back-to-work legislation on May 28.
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A July meeting between union leaders and the Premier ended with "all the boards, and all the unions" committed to getting back to the bargaining table, Education Minister Liz Sandals said. Ms. Wynne asked for the meeting to try to jump-start the stalled talks before two million Ontario students return to school in September. Most of the teachers' unions were back at the bargaining table in mid-August, with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation the first to announce a tentative deal. Elementary school teachers are set to return to the table Sept. 1.
With reports from Jane Taber, Caroline Alphonso, Selena Ross, Kate Hammer and Adrian Morrow