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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