Ontario elementary teachers secure a wage increase

Jun 4, 2024 | JRNL219, Provincial News

An arbitrator has awarded 80,000 elementary school teachers an 11 per cent raise under the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, their union, four-year agreement that ends in 2026.

ETFO represents about 83,000 members including public elementary teachers, occasional teachers, support personnel and designated early childhood educators

The wage raise breaks into an increase of three per cent for the years 2022 to 2023 and 2023 to 2024. For the years 2024 to 2025, a 2.75 per cent increase and 2.5 per cent for the final year of 2026.

ETFO officials said Wednesday this decision depicted the highest percentage increase of the last 10 years.

The federation said in a press conference this boost will immediately affect the salaries, wage schedules, premiums and allowances for the occasional teachers in Ontario.

ETFO said it expects the compounded compensation increase for occasional teachers, moving to the new baseline average rate, to be between 14 and 15 per cent. The compensation increase for all ETFO and locals overall will be above 13 per cent.

ETFO president Karen Brown said the offer the Ford government proposed earlier this year was as low as a 1.25 per cent increase. ETFO rejected it. Brown said the arbitrator’s decision of the wage increase is proof the union’s rejection of the Ford offer was sound.

“The Ford government was intent on devaluing our members who are already facing increased violence, insufficient supports for students with special needs, heavy workloads and burn out. This award highlights the Ford government’s failure to recognize and fairly compensate ETFO members,” Brown said.

She said she wished this compensation award could have been achieved at the bargaining table.

ETFO expects this increase to encourage educators and support the public education system, as well as acknowledge the significant role of elementary educators in shaping a child’s future.

“Teachers … are professionals with specialized skills developed through rigorous training and continuous professional development. Just compensation honours this expertise and helps ensure dedicated, qualified individuals feel valued and remain in the teaching profession,” Brown said.