Most Ontario teachers' unions are back at the bargaining table with school boards, but they haven't started talking about the government's demand for a "net zero" wage increase.
After a lull of several months, negotiations for unions representing 115,000 teachers have either resumed or have dates scheduled, but they're still dealing with non-monetary issues.
Ann Hawkins of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association won't say if her union will accept a deal without a pay hike, but points out teachers already had their wages frozen for the previous two years.
Premier Kathleen Wynne says the government will not fund salary increases for anyone in the public sector until it eliminates an $11.9-billion deficit.
Wynne says she knows "that there is consternation among the teachers ranks," but adds the government "is in a difficult fiscal situation."
The Secondary School Teachers' Federation is in negotiations today and the English Catholic Teachers are scheduled to resume bargaining Thursday, but the Elementary Teachers' Federation doesn't return to the table until Sept. 1.
Unions representing nurses, police, firefighters, municipal employees and hospital workers in many Ontario communities have reached contracts this year with pay hikes or been awarded salary increases by arbitrators.