Over 50,000 Education workers across the province are getting ready for potential strike action next month.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Ontario School Board Council of Unions announced that a conciliator issued a ‘no board report’ on Monday, which marks the start of a 17-day countdown. When that ends on November 3, CUPE will be in a legal strike position – which could close schools.

Today is the final day of scheduled negotiations between the unions and the government.

CUPE and the Ontario government have been negotiating since August after the province unveiled their 4-year plan for education workers, which called for 2 per cent wage increases for staff earning under $40,000 and increases of 1.25 per cent for everyone else.

With inflation sitting at 7 per cent, CUPE is calling for wage increases of nearly 12 per cent for all workers. They’re also bargaining for an increase in overtime pay, more education assistants and custodians, as well as increased staffing levels in libraries, offices and lunchrooms.

Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce, meanwhile, has argued that Ontario’s offer is more than fair.

CUPE members, which include custodians, early childhood educators, administrators and more – voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in early October.

The last time this group of education workers threatened strike action was in 2019 – which included a partial withdrawal of cleaning services. A five-day province-wide strike action notice was issued, but a last-minute deal was reached shortly afterwards.

When this fight ends, Ontario will then have to set its sights on four major teachers’ unions – whose contracts all expired on August 31, 2022.