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Contract negotiations are underway between OSSTF and the Ministry of Education at the Central Table in Toronto. The Thames Valley District School Board hopes that a provincial agreement can be reached before union action begins. Our CUPE employees are critical employees of the Thames Valley District School Board. We respect the negotiation process and we continue to hope that an agreement can be reached at the provincial negotiating table. ETFO will now review the details of the interim agreement and begin next week with EtFO leaders and local members. EtFO immediately suspends strike action until the results of its central ratification votes are available. A preliminary agreement has been reached between the Ontario government and the Ontario Association of Public Enterprise Councils (OPSBA) with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers` Federation (OSSTF). We understand the concerns of some parents/facilitators, students and staff. We will continue to monitor this situation closely and are committed to providing you with accurate and timely information.

You can find information and updates on our website: tvdsb.ca or on Twitter @tvdsb. We can also share more information electronically about School Messenger. After discussion and consideration of all options, the Thames Valley District School Board has decided to close schools to all students effective Monday, October 7, unless an agreement is reached before that date. If an agreement is reached, we will contact families as soon as possible when students can return to class. For more information on OSSTF`s latest announcement, see: www.osstf.on.ca/en-CA/news/media-release-mar-06-2020.aspx. Thames Valley will not be able to ensure student safety, as more than 3400 of our employees are CUPE members who do not show up to work if no agreement is reached. CUPE staff include facilitators, early childhood educators, teaching assistants, school and central offices, technical assistance (IT) and maintenance. If no agreement is reached at the central bargaining table in Toronto by Friday, January 17, 2020, the union will begin rotating strikes on Monday, January 20, 2020, according to the union. In addition, teachers will no longer participate in professional learning activities as part of the 4th phase of the EtFO Job action. You will find up-to-date information on the current state of work on TVDSB websites and social networks: www.tvdsb.ca/LabourUpdates Thames Valley will continue to share information on the current work negotiations directly with parents/hosts. As always, for work updates in progress, please visit www.tvdsb.ca/labourupdates and follow @tvdsb on Twitter and Facebook. While there is no progress towards a contractual agreement by Friday 6 March, ETFO said it would begin the next phase of its strike protocol on Monday 9 March.

“We are very pleased that preliminary agreements have been reached with our teachers` unions to draw our full attention to the exceptional challenges posed by the COVID 19 pandemic,” said Board Chair Arlene Morell OSSTF, who said ratification votes were scheduled for May. A preliminary agreement with the Ontario Elementary Teachers` Federation (ETFO) has already been signed and ratification votes will begin this week.