The Ontario government passed back-to-work legislation Sunday afternoon, which will see the end of the strike action by Ontario Public Sector Employees Union faculty across Ontario. The strike, which began October 16, involved nearly twelve-thousand teaching faculty across the province on the picket line over issues such as academic freedom for instructors and an end to precarious employment. In response to the effects of the strike, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberal Party introduced a six-page bill last Friday to end the strike, get the teachers back to work, and send both OPSEU and the College Employer Council to binding arbitration.
The bill was blocked last week by the Ontario New Democratic Party, who stated their belief that faculty should be able to come to a deal on their own terms with the Council. On Thursday of last week, OPSEU faculty voted 86 per cent against a tentative deal from the Council, with 95 per cent voter turnout.
Many post-secondary institutions are announcing the resuming of classes this week following the legislation. Reaction from college students on social media has been mixed in response to the news. Many students feel angered and many have declared their wish for the semester to be cancelled and restarted at a later date. Hundreds of thousands across Ontario have been affected by the five-week long strike.
The back-to-work legislation passed with 39 yes’s and 18 no’s – with NDP voting no. It’s expected that college students will be back in the classroom this week.