By Dianne Cornish
As Hamilton’s public elementary and secondary students headed back to their classrooms this week after the Christmas break, the fate of teacher involvement in extracurricular activities remained uncertain.
For now, the boycott on activities, such as school trips and sporting events, remains in place, but that could change depending on the outcome of meetings in Toronto on Wednesday. Local presidents and executive members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) and the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) were scheduled to meet to discuss the terms of contracts imposed on them last Thursday by Education Minister Laurel Broten. The union representatives were also expected to discuss the extracurricular ban, which was imposed by the unions Dec. 10 in protest of Bill 115.
Last week, Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty appealed to the union leadership to allow teachers to resume extracurricular activities, but was given no assurances that will be the path they follow. It’s unclear whether the government’s promise to repeal the bill will be enough to convince teachers to drop the boycott.
A staff person at the OSSTF office in Toronto said Tuesday that the Federation’s president Ken Coran was not giving any interviews to media until after Wednesday’s meeting, which fell after the Review’s press deadline this week.