OTTAWA -- Public high school teachers hit the picket line in Ottawa and in other parts of the province Wednesday, as part of the ongoing labour dispute with the Ontario government.

"This is a fight, we have to fight," said Karen Littlewood, the Provincial Vice President of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation.

"They're willing to give up a day's pay to fight for our education."

The walkout has closed all Ottawa-Carleton District School board public and secondary schools, impacting 72,000 students. Schools with the French-language public and Catholic schools are also closed Wednesday. 

In Ottawa, teachers on the picket line outside Glebe Collegiate received the endorsement of former federal NDP Leader Ed Broadbent.

"Teachers don't eagerly go on strike," said Broadbent.

"They're doing it for what they believe to be quality education, and they have my support."

The one-day strike also means all school activities from night school, field trips and extra-curricular activities are cancelled.

Meanwhile, Ontario's elementary school teachers announced they will stage a one-day strike Mon. Jan. 21st, if there is no deal reached before this week.

"We're here because of this government quite frankly," said Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario.

"We're taking this stand so that now and into the future we protect publicly funded education."

The Ford government is now at odds with all the major unions in Ontario, which have all announced some form of job action.

"There's a common denominator in all this discord and upset, and it's the Ford education agenda," said OSSTF President Harvey Bischof.

The Minister of Educaton has announced the government will give money to parents with children affected by the rotating strikes, with compensation ranging from $25 to $60 per day of missed school. 

"We would not be here today if teacher unions and leaderships did not decide to walk out on their students on a daily basis," said Minister Lecce.

"It's a signal to parents that we're trying to be on their side and put a few bucks in their pockets."

Lecce thinks a deal can still be reached but said the compensation is to help families with the adverse impacts in the meantime.

"They [the children] should not have their futures impeded because teacher unions are not making any reasonable moves," said Lecce.

"I think parents are rightfully angry with the teacher unions and their leaders who are instructing their staff to stay out of class."


Students in the English Catholic school system remain in the classroom Wednesday.