Broten won’t say whether she’ll force teachers back to work Read.

Ontario’s governing Liberals say they’re ready to respond to the threat of province-wide strikes by elementary teachers, but won’t say when or if they’ll force them back to work. The province has the power under a controversial new law to stop strikes by teachers and lockouts, but Education Minister Laurel Broten won’t say whether she’ll employ that legislative hammer — just that she has it in her arsenal.

Elementary teachers in a legal strike position are expected to walk off the job next month, escalating their job action just withdrawing from administrative duties. The hope of negotiated settlements to end the labour strife in Ontario schools is growing dimmer, as the union representing public high school teachers also broke off all negotiations with school boards until further notice. Parents will get 72-hours notice of strikes in elementary schools, said a president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. It froze the wages of most teachers and cut benefits, such as cutting sick days in half and stopping teachers from banking them to be cashed out at retirement. Broten said she hasn’t rejected any of the local deals reached by the union and school boards. She issued a statement later on Thursday to say “at this point, my ministry has reviewed and deemed workable all of the tentative agreements that have been submitted.” She also encourage the union to take those tentative agreements to ratification votes.

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