Calls on government not to use Bill 115. In return, teachers to halt job actions.

Both sides should seek negotiated agreement through collective bargaining based on respect and fiscal realities.

DECEMBER 21, 2012 – For immediate release.

The announcement this morning from the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) presents an opportunity for the government to hit reset on negotiations.

A negotiated settlement is always better than a legislated one. The agreement we reached with Ontario’s doctors proves it’s possible.

I commend ETFO’s offer to halt further strike actions on the condition that the government does not implement Bill 115.

Both sides must return to the negotiating table as soon as possible. As Premier, this will be my priority. I am confident that as Premier, if negotiations have not concluded, I will be able to reach an agreement with teachers through collective bargaining based on respect and our fiscal realities.

This means that the government should not impose the provisions of Bill 115, and in return our teachers and education workers must refrain from further job actions.  That is what it will take to reach a negotiated agreement.

The current environment is eroding the alliance we’ve built with our teachers, education workers, and administrators. That education alliance has allowed us to build the best education system in the English-speaking world.

All sides must show leadership. They must be collaborative. They must be flexible. And they must put the interests of students and their parents first.