A one-day strike planned on Wednesday by members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation will close all schools in the Bluewater District School Board.
The board issued a statement today confirming all elementary and secondary schools will be closed to students Wednesday if no collective agreement has been reached.
OSSTF members employed by the Bluewater District School Board are not limited to just high school teachers, but also educational assistants, early childhood educators and other professionals.
The board advises schools will re-open as usual to students on Thursday, following the one-day job action by OSSTF members.
"Due to the wide range of critically important functions performed by these various employee groups, a full withdrawal of services would have a significant impact on the operation of both our secondary and elementary schools," the board statement explains. "Unfortunately, we feel that this would place us in a compromised position concerning our ability to ensure the safety and well-being of all students within our care."
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Monday wages continue to be the biggest issue at the bargaining table between the province and OSSTF. According to reports, the union is seeking a cost of living increase of about two per cent, while the province is maintaining it won't exceed a one per cent pay raise -- similar to what Canadian Union of Public Employees education workers recently accepted.
The Bluewater Board advises any elementary activities planned for Wednesday will be rescheduled if possible. School based co-op placements and before and after school programs will also be cancelled -- but third-party child care centres will remain open.