Ontario's Education Minister is hoping other teacher unions will accept the same offer agreed to by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation.
More than 78 per cent of high school teachers and others represented by OSSFT agreed to the proposal that will see them forgiving strike action as their union continues to negotiate with the province.
Negotiations will continue for the next month, with all outstanding issues decided through binding arbitration.
Steven Lecce says it ensures stability for students.
"After three difficult years, our government has emphasized the need for normal and stable schools that emphasize reading, writing and math, and fundamental skills that help keep kids in class. And I'm proud that our government and the OSSTF have tentative agreement has been fully ratified by an overwhelming 78.4% by the local OSSTF union members," says Lecce.
"That means that a high school student that started last year will graduate in three years without the risk of a strike. This is a huge achievement for 400,000 students and their families. I'm grateful to all the parties for coming together to put kids first."
Lecce is now trying to convince the unions representing elementary and catholic teachers unions to accept the same thing.
Both the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario and the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association have said binding arbitration would not fully address their key concerns regarding the funding of schools.
Both have initiated strike votes, with the results to be known shortly.
"Now is the time to keep these kids in school. I will make the case that a normal and stable and enjoyable school year that goes back to basics is key to Ontario's long-term success. Every child deserves to be in front of their educators, with their friends, without interruption, for the next three years, with the full school experience, the clubs and sports that come with it. And so, by doing this, we can ensure the emotional and the physical development of a child is better and stronger, and, of course, improves their academics along the way. So to the other teacher unions, we ask you to get to the table to sign a deal that keeps these kids in class," says Lecce.
Meantime, OSSTF is reserving its enthusiasm about the deal reached.
"Premier Ford can’t be trusted. For over 14 months, we have tried to engage the Ford government in good faith bargaining, but we haven’t had a partner at the table that cares about safeguarding our public education system. Now we have the opportunity to bypass traditional bargaining pathways to secure a fair collective agreement," says OSSTF President Karen Littlewood.
While provincial bargaining will end on October 27, bargaining with each school board will continue until March 28, 2024, before outstanding items are forwarded to arbitration.