More than 180,000 students at public elementary schools in Toronto may be out of school Dec. 18 as teachers prepare to hold a one-day strike to protest legislation that freezes their wages.
Full-time and occasional, or substitute, teachers will participate in the strike in Canada’s most populous city, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario said today in a news statement.
Union locals representing elementary teachers in seven other regions of Ontario said in separate statements they will also walk out Dec. 18.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government passed a law in September that freezes the wages of public school teachers, who have been trying to negotiate new labor agreements with the province, through the end of March 2014.
In October, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said the province will post a C$14.4 billion ($14.6 billion) deficit in the current fiscal year.
“We have been forced into this action by an education minister who has willfully stripped educators of their legal right to collectively bargain,” Martin Long, president of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto, said in a statement today.
Toronto has 451 elementary schools with 184,000 students, according to the Toronto District School Board, the largest in the country.
School board representatives didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment outside of normal business hours.