Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Education Minister Laurel Broten talks during a news conference after a meeting of provincial and federal environment ministers in Toronto, Monday, May 28, 2007.

NATHAN DENETTE

Faced with a gaping deficit, the historically education-friendly Ontario Liberals are playing hardball with teachers, calling for salary freezes and cutting retirement payouts of unused sick days, according to documents released by the unions.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario, in a scathing letter to its members, called the province's initial offer "offensive" and said it will not participate in two days of talks with the province that were scheduled for early next week.

Meanwhile, the union for public secondary school teachers held a meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the government's offer, which it denounced as "unacceptable" and "an unprecedented attack on members' rights."

Story continues below advertisement

The offer that has teachers' unions up in arms includes freezing salaries until August, 2014, according to a copy of the government's "parameters" obtained by The Globe and Mail.

Retirement payouts of unused sick days would end. Instead, each teacher can take six sick days per year at full salary and up to 24 weeks at two-thirds salary. Sick days would no longer be allowed to be carried forward.

The government does not want to increase its level of contribution to pension plans, ETFO president Sam Hammond wrote.

Dalton McGuinty has styled himself as the education Premier, bringing in new programs such as full-day kindergarten and championing student test scores. But as Ontario faces a $16-billion deficit, the minority Liberal government is putting its foot down and taking a harder line.

The teachers' four-year contracts do not expire until the end of August, but the government wants new deals in March, ahead of the provincial budget, both unions said in the letters to their members

A spokeswoman for the Minister of Education declined to discuss specifics of the initial offer but did not dispute the unions' version of what's on the table.

In February, a teleconference was held with Mr. McGuinty and Minister of Education Laurel Broten. The government's team of three lawyers, one of them a retired judge, presented "an austerity proposal" that would be part of a two-year agreement, the unions said.

Story continues below advertisement

"To say we were insulted is an understatement," Mr. Hammond said in his letter. Mr. McGuinty said teachers "would not like" parts of the proposal, Mr. Hammond wrote.

"We find the tone and, most significantly, the content of the government's parameters to be offensive," he wrote, later adding it's a "mean-spirited" proposal.

Mr. Hammond was not available for comment Wednesday.

When the province negotiated with teachers close to four years ago, discussions with the union for public elementary teachers went months beyond when the contract expired.

Eventually, a salary increase of 10.4 per cent over four years was agreed upon. Secondary school teachers represented by OSSTF were given an increase of 12.55 per cent over four years.

Ms. Broten's spokeswoman, Paris Meilleur, declined to comment on the parameters themselves or the shift in relations between the province and teachers.

Story continues below advertisement

"We have confidence in the process," she said. "It's not appropriate to speak to the specifics at this point."

With a report from Adam Radwanski

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies