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Ontario school boards association ratifies OCEW contract

The association made up of Ontario's publicly-funded school boards has signed off on a new contract.

The Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) announced Thursday morning that it had ratified its deal with the Ontario Council of Educational Workers (OCEW). The agreement was first reached on December 10, 2022.

"This further demonstrates that our government can deliver agreements with education unions that ensure children remain in class, where they belong," said Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce at the time, as reported by the Toronto Star.

The OCEW represents roughly 7,000 education support workers, mostly in the trades. The OCEW consists of COPE Ontario, the Essex and Kent Counties' Skilled Trades Council, the Labourers’ International Union of North America, the Maintenance and Construction Skilled Trades Council, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), Unifor, and 12 OPSBA member boards.

According to the OPSEU, the four-year contract provides a one-dollar-per-hour raise for each year of the deal, plus a "Me Too" clause should education workers table an agreement with higher wages. Also included is a one per cent increase in benefits each year, with a four per cent increase in 2026.

Additional funding has also been promised to school boards for support of OCEW workers.

"Throughout this process, our goal has been to negotiate an agreement that is fully funded, fair, and fiscally responsible," said OPSBA President Cathy Abraham in a media release. "This agreement will help ensure a stable and productive learning environment for our students. Education workers play an important role in our schools, and this agreement is a recognition that we value the contribution they make to the educational experience of our students every day."

Negotiations continue for education workers represented by the Education Workers’ Alliance of Ontario, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) teachers and education workers, and the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) teachers and education workers.

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