Elementary teachers in Toronto expected to join picket lines next week

The Canadian Press

TORONTO - Hundreds of thousands of Ontario students will have to stay home next week as public elementary teachers in many school boards stage one-day strikes, including a massive walkout in Toronto.

The Toronto District School Board — the largest in Canada — says elementary teachers in its public schools will be staging a one-day strike on Tuesday.

Education Minister Laurel Broten calls the strikes "an incredibly disappointing development" that puts teachers, students and their families in the middle of the union's dispute with the government.

Broten says the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario should release the schedule of its planned one-day strikes to give parents enough time to make alternate child care arrangements.

The Toronto teachers have been in a legal strike position since Dec. 10, and teachers have not been participating in field trips, play days or voluntary and extracurricular activities.

The teachers' union says the walkouts are in protest of a controversial law that allows the government to stop strikes, freeze wages and cut benefits.

Premier Dalton McGuinty has rebuked teachers for putting students in the middle of what he's calling a dispute about pay, but the union says it's not about money.