The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation announced Thursday that its members have formally approved a deal that was reached with the government late last month.
Eighty-four per cent of the teachers and support staff members who participated in a province-wide vote approved of the new agreement.
The Canadian Press reports that the deal will improve sick-day and maternity-leave benefits for teachers. However, teachers will also have fewer unpaid days off — just one, instead of three.
In a statement, OSSTF president Ken Coran said the amendments were beneficial for both sides and would ensure a better negotiating process the next time around.
"This agreement respects the fiscal parameters defined by the Ontario government but also respects creative solutions to problematic issues identified by our members," Coran said in the statement.
"In addition, the government has committed to working collaboratively to ensure a fair, transparent and democratic process is in place for the next round of collective bargaining."
Education Minister Liz Sandals released a statement saying she was "pleased" that OSSTF members voted in favour of the deal, which she described as being "fair for taxpayers, federation members and school boards" and also good for students.
Opposition members have remained skeptical of the government's claims that this agreement will not require extra spending to bring into effect.
On Thursday, Progressive Conservative education critic Lisa MacLeod called on the government to "come clean" on how the deal will affect students.
"School boards across the province are having difficulty covering basic costs for things like music programs, libraries and computers," MacLeod said Thursday.
"The Liberals need to be upfront with parents on which programs will be cut to be pay for this money-moving scheme that rewards unions and punishes students."