Ontario government approves labor deals with some teachers

Tue Nov 20, 2012 3:05pm EST
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By Claire Sibonney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Ontario's government said on Tuesday it has approved tentative deals between two major school boards and their teachers that freeze wages, the second major labor agreement between the province and its workers in the past week.

The deals are part of a broader push by ruling Liberals to curb the budget deficit of Canada's most populous province by capping the pay of doctors, teachers and civil servants.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who announced last month that he would resign once the Liberals elect a new leader in January, said he hoped the deals will serve as a template for other school boards.

The announcement comes on the heels of another critical settlement with the province's doctors last week designed to freeze wages.

Education Minister Laurel Broten said the agreements between unionized teachers and Ontario's Upper Grand District School Board and York Region District School Board meet the province's "fiscal parameters."

In their March budget, the Liberals pledged to reduce the province's budget deficit - now projected at C$14.4 billion ($14.43 billion) for the current fiscal year - partly by providing no money for wage increases.

The government said such measures will save C$6 billion over three years.