Education sector labour contracts were set to expire on August 31, 2017. After successful negotiations, nine central agreements have been reached between trustees’ associations and all education workers’ unions and teachers’ federations.
The nine agreements have been ratified by all parties and will be effective from September 1, 2017 to August 31, 2019. The parties have agreed that any terms not included in the 2017-19 agreements, including both central and local terms from the 2014-17 agreements, remain status quo. As a result, these agreements will provide two additional years of stability in schools across the province. The agreements provide modest wage increases, lower class sizes and more staff support for students with special education needs and other local priorities.
These agreements are the result of hard work and collaboration from all parties.
They reflect the strength of the government’s partnership with trustees, teachers and education workers, and a mutual commitment to improving student achievement and well-being.
Salary and Benefits
The following changes to salary and benefits have been agreed to:
- 1.5 per cent salary increase on September 1, 2017
- 1 per cent salary increase on September 1, 2018
- 1 per cent salary increase on February 1, 2019
- 0.5 per cent salary increase on August 31, 2019
- One-time payment in 2017-18 for professional development, supplies and equipment equivalent to 0.5 per cent salary increase
- Inflationary increases for benefits
New Staff Support
A new $219 million fund will provide support for a range of local priorities, including more staff to support students at risk, particularly students with special education needs. These funds could support about 875 teachers and between 1,600 and 1,830 education workers. Actual staffing will vary depending on specific agreements, local discussions and compensation specific to each board, as well as job security provisions, staffing reductions related to declining enrolment and other exceptions.
Smaller Class Sizes
The government has made a commitment to invest in reducing large classes in FDK and Grades 4-8. This commitment is a part of the government’s plan to improve public education and advance student achievement and well-being. Additional funding of $56 million will be provided in 2017-18 to support more teachers and early childhood educators (ECEs) to reduce class sizes.
FDK will continue to require an average class size of no greater than 26, but will now also require at least 90 per cent of FDK classes to have 30 or fewer students in 2017-18, declining to 29 in 2018-19. Up to 10 per cent of FDK classes can reach up to 32 students under certain circumstances.
Additionally, school boards will be required to hire an ECE for all FDK classes in the same school and same track in the case where one of those classes has less than 16 students while at least one other class has more than 30.
Currently, most school boards are required to have an average class size for Grades 4-8 of 24.5 or lower. However, 22 school boards are permitted higher averages. School boards with a Grades 4-8 class size average maximum above 24.5 will now be required to reduce Grades 4-8 maximum class size average to 24.5 within five years.
A 3 per cent increase to the Community Use of Schools Allocation was also agreed to, which allows boards to reduce the rates for school space used by the community by helping boards with the costs involved with keeping schools open after hours such as heating, lighting, and cleaning.
Recent amendments to the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014 made extending the agreements possible. Other amendments included giving students and parents more notice of labour disruptions, and ensuring all education workers’ unions participate in central bargaining to promote consistency across the province.
Promoting labour stability reflects the government’s commitment to student achievement and well-being within a fiscally sustainable publicly funded education system.