The Ontario Liberals tried again today to push through their back to work legislation but once again thNDP blocked it. The bill was tabled today.
Following the normal course, the legislation should get second reading Saturday, then pass on Sunday.
Algonquin's President expects faculty back on Monday and classes to resume on Tuesday.
This isn't the resolution the faculty were looking for after soundly rejecting the latest contract offer.
But for the colleges and the students, it's what they'll take even if it means some awkward moments in the classroom Tuesday morning.
Inside the gym at Algonquin College over the noon hour, a few students with the electrical engineering technology course are blowing off a bit of steam playing badminton to Journey's “Don't Stop Believing.”
“It just goes on and on and on and on,” the music blasts from someone’s iPhone.
It's a fitting song for what appeared to be a never-ending strike.
“At first we thought a few days, a week, and now five weeks,” says 3rd year student Camille Fortin.
But the end is finally in sight for the province's 500-thousand college students with the government's introduction of back to work legislation.
“We're still waiting on answers with respect to the winter break, reading week and our summer,” says student James Savage, “I’m not sure what the restructured schedule will look like.”
The Liberals had hoped again today to push their bill through but the NDP continued to block it. That means likely passage of the legislation on Sunday, faculty back to work on Monday and student back in class on Tuesday.
Cynthia Scully is a 4th year Bachelor of Science student in Nursing, “I’m very excited. I really want to graduate so I want to get on with this.”
“I definitely feel relieved,” says nursing student Laurel Cotaras, “It felt it was ongoing and I’m happy someone is finally stepping in and making progress.”
“There's a problem here, the system is broken, “says Management and Law professor Gilles LeVasseur with the University of Ottawa.
He wonders what that progress really is when the issues on either side haven't really been resolved.
“When you have part timers doing 50% to 70% of the teaching load,” he says, “the system needs to be reviewed. It has to be understood and how do we find solutions to get the best education for our students out there.”
The President of Algonquin College says that's her aim, too. Forcing faculty back to work isn't ideal but neither is a five week strike.
“Families have arguments and disagreements,” says President Cheryl Jensen, “but we are all here for the same reason and that's for our students and so I am confident we will work out our disagreements and get back on track.”
Back to the badminton game in the gym, the students haven't “stop believing” that either.
‘I'm excited to go back,” says James Savage, “because we're only coming here for badminton right now.”
But going back under what circumstances? Gilles LeVasseur say if the system is still broken, this just buys the colleges a bit of time until the next collective agreement expires, putting us possibly back at square one.