High school students across Ontario may notice changes to their classroom routines Monday as teachers at 20 boards begin job action in protest of a contentious new law.

A statement issued by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation did not specify what kind of sanctions will be imposed, only that no further negotiations are scheduled.

The OSSTF is one of several unions upset over Bill 115, a law passed in September that places a two-year wage freeze on veteran teachers and limits the ability to bank sick days. The law also targets collective bargaining rights, giving the province the power to ban lockouts and strikes.

Sanctions by OSSTF teachers were slated to begin last week, but the union delayed job action in a last-ditch attempt to negotiate with departing Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals.

Few details have been released about the most recent sanctions, but in a bulletin outlining last week’s postponed job action, the union offered several suggestions on how to work-to-rule.

It’s possible that teachers could take job action by:

  • Only working scheduled hours, unless overtime pay is provided
  • Taking a full lunch away from their classrooms, without walkie-talkies
  • Availing of any and all scheduled breaks

The administration at Ottawa’s Lisgar Collegiate confirms with CTV, lunch was unsupervised and intramural sports over the lunch break were cancelled due to action taken by teachers.

However, OSSTF President Ken Coran has not confirmed how the job action will unfold.

In a statement issued Monday, Ontario Education Minister Laurel Broten called the job action “disappointing” and said the sanctions suggest that negotiations at the provincial level are no longer possible.

“It's also very disappointing that these strike actions will put students and families in the middle,” she said, adding that the province will monitor the strike action closely.

Broten also said that under Bill 115, titled the Putting Students First Act, the province has “the tools to act and will fully explore these options” as teachers begin their strike action.

The OSSTF has said it is open to negotiations on the provincial and local level. In the past, Coran has said that their ability to bargain was “obstructed” by the passing of Bill 115.

The union boasts 60,000 members across Ontario that range from public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, psychologists, secretaries and more.

For a full list of school boards affected by the strike action, please follow the link.