Most Ontarians Oppose Legislating Teachers’ Wages

Most Ontarians Oppose Legislating Teachers’ Wages

Almost eight in ten (77%) believe province should negotiate to reach mutual agreement.

A significant majority of Ontarians believe the province should negotiate an agreement with teachers rather than use legislation to impose wages and benefits on them, according to an independent poll conducted for the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

When asked if the government should negotiate provincially to arrive at mutually agreeable wages and benefits, 77% of Ontarians agree. Only 19% believe that legislation should be imposed on teachers without negotiations.

The telephone survey of 1,000 Ontarians aged 18 and up was conducted by Jane Armstrong Research Associates from August 3-9, 2012. The survey is considered accurate within a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

“From the beginning, ETFO has continued to say that we want to engage in true negotiations with the Minister of Education. It would appear Ontarians agree with that approach,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “Since February, the government has presented teachers with a ‘take it or leave it’ offer with no room for meaningful negotiation. Now they’ve threatened to legislate an agreement based on their terms, and the public isn’t buying it.”

Hammond added that the bullying behaviour of the McGuinty government hasn’t built the kind of public trust that the Premier and Minister of Education might have hoped for.

When survey respondents were asked whom they trust to promote the interests of Ontario students and schools, the results show that teachers, teacher organizations, and school boards receive a much higher vote of confidence than do the education minister and premier. Ontarians express a great deal of trust in teachers (41%), teacher organizations (18%), and school boards (20%). Many fewer express a great deal of trust in the province’s education minister (13%), and premier (10%). Just 8% said they have a great deal of confidence when asked about the Minister’s ability to manage contract negotiations with teachers.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

August 14, 2012  etfo.ca