Peel Elementary Teachers' Local

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ETFO President's Letter to the Chatham This Week re Extracurriculars

Posted: March 22,2013

News Category : ETFO News

March 19, 2013

Re: Many questions about teacher-government dispute (Chatham This Week, March 13).

Unfortunately, the letter to the editor concerning the teacher-government dispute contains serious errors.

Teachers are making their own personal decisions as to whether to participate or not in voluntary/ extracurriculars. They are not in a legal strike position when some sanctions do apply if they cross a picket line. Members have rarely, if ever, been fined for such actions when a strike is occurring.

Nor are teachers currently working-to-rule.  They are carrying out all professional duties and responsibilities required of them under the Education Act to ensure a high quality learning environment and student safety.

The responsibility for the current situation rests squarely with the provincial government and only that government can implement the change that will restore peace and stability to our schools.

Like other democratic institutions, union representatives are elected and serve at the will of their members. A vast majority of ETFO members across the province have personally opted to withdraw from voluntary/extracurricular activities as the only way to protest the loss of their democratic rights arising from the imposition of Bill 115. Many continue to urge their union to support these actions.

These are very difficult decisions for teachers. The right to collectively bargain is one of the few democratic processes afforded to working people, and to students who will one day be in the workforce.

That teachers and other ETFO members are taking a stand speaks to the seriousness of what's at stake for democratic rights in Ontario.


Sam Hammond President
Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario