NEWS
01/07/2017 12:47 EST | Updated 01/08/2018 00:12 EST

Ontario school support staff reach tentative contract extension agreement

TORONTO — Ontario's Liberal government has reached a tentative two-year contract extension deal with school support staff, which would ensure a measure of labour peace through the next election.

The Ministry of Education announced Saturday evening that it had reached a tentative agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents 55,000 support staff.

The current contracts with CUPE and the teachers' unions are set to expire in August, so if ratified, CUPE's deal would last until August 2019 — well after the June 2018 election.

The government had also been in discussions with some of the teachers' unions about contract extensions, but did not confirm Saturday whether all or some of those were still ongoing.

The last round of negotiations were contentious, with support staff and elementary teachers staging work-to-rule campaigns and the government threatening to dock their pay.

It was also an unusually long round of bargaining talks due to new legislation that for the first time mandated that unions reach central deals with the government, then local deals with each school board across the province.