BREAKING: Ontario's College Strike is Over
In a vote at Queen’s Park this afternoon, the province passed back-to-work legislation, offically ending the college strike and getting students back to class this week.
Ontario’s college strike has spanned a whopping five weeks now, the longest in the province’s history. Now, in a 39-18 vote, the province’s back-to-work legislation has passed and faculty and students are expected to return to work and school early this week, likely Monday and Tuesday respectively.
The legislation terminates the college strike and, further, prevents additional strikes or lockouts until the College Employer Council and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)—the union representing striking workers—sign a new collective agreement.
The Wynne government has proposed the creation of a “hardship fund.”
"The government has also instructed colleges to establish a dedicated fund with all savings from the strike," reads a news release issued by the province. "The fund will be used to support students who have experienced financial hardships as a result of the strike and its parameters will be developed in direct consultation with students."
Meanwhile, students were known to have been exploring a class action lawsuit to get a tuition refund, backed by Charney Lawyers. According to The Canadian Press, 14 students have come forward so far as plaintiffs.
Some 12,225 faculty—professors, instructors, counsellors, and librarians included—went on strike on October 16, 2017. Colleges suspended classes for about 500,000 students across the province with no end in sight. And students have not been pleased, missing valuable class time as the College Employer Council and the OPSEU were in talks.
Now that students and faculty will be back in college this week, the new collective agreement remains to be seen, as well as what happens with the lawsuit.
For now, hopefully the tail end of the semester can be salvaged for students and faculty alike.