Ontario’s elementary school teachers will take job action starting Monday, though it is not clear what that action might be. The teachers' union is supposed to outline its plan Friday afternoon.  It is believed the job action may include teachers refusing to add comments on report cards, not participating in standardized tests and not participating in staff or ministry meetings. 

The wait is creating anxiety among students and parents over what will happen Monday and anger among opposition parties who are calling for the Education Minister's resignation.

‘It’s an awful time to be striking,’ says one mother outside an Ottawa elementary school.

‘It doesn't affect me too much,’ says Sarah Grier, who is a stay-at-home mother, ‘but for the parents who have to work full time, it's an awful situation for them.’

In Ottawa today, Peter Giuliani with the Ottawa Carleton Elementary Teachers’ Federation says the union is meeting with stewards and teachers today, walking them through the first phase of job action.  Giuliani says the Ontario elementary teachers' federation will outline that job action at 2 p.m. Friday.  In a statement, Sam Hammond, the President of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario said, ‘The ETFO has fulfilled its legal obligation to provide notice of legal strike action. We do not take strike action lightly and have been pushed into such action as a result of unrealistic and concession bargaining demands tabled by the Liberal government and the Ontario Public School Board Association.

‘I think there are issues that need to be brought to the table,’ says Ottawa mother Verity Freeman, ‘and during the summer if they did this they wouldn't get the same attention if they do it now. So it's a hard position to be in because it's never a good time.’

In the meantime, nearly 70,000 high school students are at home because teachers in three parts of the province have walked out.  Talks between the Durham school board and the Secondary School TeachersFederation are supposed to resume tomorrow. The teacher strikes are causing fear among some students that they could lose their school year so close to the end of the term.  Opposition parties say Ontario's education system a mess and today called for the Education Minister to resign.

‘When are you going to get serious about negotiations before you wreck the school year for these students,’ said Jim Wilson, the interim PC Leader at Queen’s Park today.

‘The only way to resolve this situation is by negotiating a collective agreement,’ responded Liz Sandals, Ontario’s Education Minister, ‘I believe the teachers prefer to be in the classroom.’

There is no word yet of job action among high school teachers in Ottawa.  They must give 5 days’ notice, something the province wants to change, saying it causes undue anxiety among students and parents of elementary school-aged children. 

For Nigel McIntyre, and Nicola Goldsmith, both Ottawa students graduating this year, a strike would be a welcome opportunity to enjoy some ice cream on a hot sunny day.

‘From the students’ perspective, it's just a break which is always nice,’ adds McIntyre, sitting outside an ice cream shop holding a cone.

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board said in a statement that it has received notice of strike action among its elementary and occasional teachers.

‘At this time, the OCDSB wants parents to know that all elementary schools are scheduled to be open next week with regular classroom activity,’ the statement read. ‘The extended day program will operate as regularly scheduled. We believe that field trips and extra-curricular activities will proceed as planned.’