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Ontario’s teacher unions challenge wage cap

Four Ontario teacher unions have taken things to a new level this week as they announced the launching of charter challenges to a law capping public sector wage increases.

The unions, which represent both elementary and high school teachers in public, Catholic and French boards, say it violates their collective bargaining rights.

The Progressive Conservative government passed the law as contract talks were just starting, and the unions say it was an extraordinary interference in the bargaining process.

The law caps all public sector salary increases at one per cent per year for the next three years.

But Liz Stuart, the president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, says the timing of the legislation suggests it specifically targets teachers.

The government has said the wage cap bill respects the bargaining process, noting it still allows for employees to get raises for seniority, performance or increased qualifications.

The average high school teacher in Ontario earns $92,900 according to government figures, while the average Ontario taxpayer working full-time earns about $55,000 a year. There is also job security and coveted pension plans to name just a few perks of being a school teacher. It must also be pointed out that Ontario teachers are the second highest paid in the country and among the highest paid teachers in the developed world. The same cannot be said for private sector workers. -CINEWS

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