End of School Year Ushers in New Era of Collaboration

The end of the school year is ushering in a new era of collaboration as long-term agreements for all teachers in Ontario’s publicly funded school boards have been completed, Education
Minister Gerard Kennedy said today.

Thanks to the successful conclusion of tentative agreements covering four
years at 12 French-language school boards and an agreement between the Toronto
District School Board and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation,
100 per cent of the 122 negotiations have now been settled. Contracts will run
from September 2004 to August 31 2008.

“We now have a platform for performance for Ontario’s school system,”
said Kennedy. “The ministry and school boards will be working together over
the summer so we are poised to deliver even more progress for students this

After a series of first-ever provincial dialogues on collective
bargaining issues, the government, school board associations and teachers’
federations agreed to first-time provincial frameworks to guide local
bargaining. The frameworks provided significant new resources, contingent on
successful local bargaining.

This September, there will be more specialist teachers in reading,
writing, math, music, art and phys-ed in our elementary schools, and more
teachers to help struggling high school students stay in school and graduate.
“Under the previous government, 26 million days were lost to labour
disruptions in our schools. But, Ontario’s publicly funded education system
has turned a corner,” said Kennedy.

“For the first time, teachers’ federations and school boards across the
province have worked together in a new style to find solutions and common
ground. I’d like to thank all of the parties who worked so diligently and in a
new spirit of cooperation to arrive at these landmark agreements.”