Learning and Education 5363 Views By Eddie Rwema

Extracurricular activities to return to Ontario schools

(EMC news) - Extracurricular activities are set to resume after the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation decided to end its political action.

The Feb. 22 announcement means that public high school students across the province will once again enjoy extracurricular activities.

A statement posted on the federation's website announced the provincial council of the federation voted to recommend to members to suspend their political action related to extra-curricular and voluntary activities.

"We expect that this sign of good will from our members will prompt the government to have genuine discussions that can lead to a fair resolution to this current impasse," Ken Coran, president of OSSTF said in a statement.

"We still maintain that voluntary activities are just that: voluntary," he said. "We encourage members to review recent information and decide if they are willing to return to participating in the activities we know they feel so passionately about."

Students across the province protested the loss of their extracurricular activities when teachers withdrew voluntary work after Bill 115 imposed a two-year wage freeze on teachers' salaries.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said she was happy to hear the results of the vote by OSSTF members.

"I'm so glad that teachers, support staff and students across the province will once again enjoy the extracurricular activities and programs that mean so much to them," Wynne said in a statement.

"For the past few weeks, my team and I have been meeting with our partners in the public sector and engaging in positive, frank and collaborative discussions about our shared priorities."

The move by the high school teachers' union puts pressure on the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario. However, elementary teachers' union president Sam Hammond said he doesn't feel any pressure, given that the two situations are different.

Hammond said his union's meetings with the province will continue, and that its executive will "review the situation, the progress at the table and take a lot of things into account" next Wednesday and Thursday, before making any decision on extracurricular activities, which is expected by March 1.

"We are going to make our own decisions, based on our own situation with the government, on how we are going to move forward," he said.

Earlier, Yasir Naqvi, MPP for Ottawa Centre, said he was confident the government can resolve some of the outstanding challenges.


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