Elementary teachers’ union files complaint with labour board over province’s decision to scrap controversial hiring rule

Elementary teachers’ union files complaint with labour board over province’s decision to scrap controversial hiring rule

The union representing Ontario’s elementary teachers has filed a complaint with the labour relations board over the province’s decision to scrap a controversial hiring rule.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario says the move, announced last month by the education minister, is “a violation of the duty to bargain in good faith,” and “interference in local bargaining by the Crown.”

“We believe that the government’s unilateral move to revoke Regulation 274 constitutes an unfair labour practice,” said union President Sam Hammond.

“ETFO strongly believes that this decision is a fundamental violation of the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act … the Labour Relations Act … and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Hammond also said in a statement.

Regulation 274 was created in 2012 by the then-Liberal government and the Ontario Catholic teachers’ union as a way to address nepotism, especially in smaller boards. It forced principals to give preference to the five qualified applicants who were on the supply list the longest when filling long-term contract and new full-time positions.

School boards and principals long argued the rule prevented them from hiring the best fit for the job.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said the hiring rule “has hampered diversity, limited job prospects for graduates and created unnecessary bureaucracy for principals, especially as they struggle to hire more teachers during the pandemic.”

Hammond said a number of local collective agreements are still outstanding, and that by changing hiring practices “government is unilaterally altering the terms of the central agreement (with the province) in locals who are in the midst of local bargaining” with their boards.

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