POLITICS

Kathleen Wynne More Hopeful About New Contract With Teachers

08/17/2015 04:45 EDT | Updated 08/17/2016 05:59 EDT
Lucas Oleniuk via Getty Images
TORONTO, ON - JULY 3: Toronto, On- July 3, 2014 Premier Kathleen Wynne applauded the Speech from the Throne at the Ontario Legislature Thursday afternoon. (Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
BRAMPTON, Ont. — Premier Kathleen Wynne says she's more optimistic now than she was a few weeks ago about having a normal return to school for students this fall.

Ontario's 115,000 teachers are in legal strike position after being without a contract for a year, and are warning of work-to-rule campaigns if there are no new deals when classes resume Sept. 8.

But after a three-month lull in negotiations, the four big teachers unions are either back at the bargaining table or have scheduled dates with school boards.

Wynne says that's a good sign, and insists reaching new contracts with the teachers is her number 1 priority for the fall.

The premier warns that it will be a "hard few weeks" of negotiating to reach new agreements with the teachers' unions by next month.

The Liberal government, fighting a deficit of $11.9 billion, has said there is no money for salary hikes for teachers or anyone else in the public sector, but the unions say workload, preparation time and class size are other issues still to be resolved.

Wynne made her comments at a Brampton high school, where she announced a $46,000 grant for a sports program for youth.

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