In April 2014, ACÉPO became the official bargaining agent for Ontario’s French-language public schools, sitting at the provincial table with the unions. Bill 122, the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014, gave ACÉPO this role.
In 2015-2016, ACÉPO successfully negotiated agreements with the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) and the Association des directions et directions adjointes des écoles franco-ontariennes (ADFO). The agreements with AEFO, CUPE, and OSSTF are valid until the end of August 2017; the agreement with ADFO is valid until the end of August 2018.
“These agreements reflect the desire of all of the parties to offer high-quality education in Ontario. We need to remember that all staff contribute to the successful operation of our schools. Working together, we can create the requisite conditions for student well-being and an environment conducive to learning.”
ACÉPO Chair, Denis Labelle
Two-tiered system of bargaining
The School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014, creates a two-tiered system of bargaining in the education sector.
For central bargaining items, the provincial government and the school board associations negotiate with the teachers’ federations, the education workers’ unions and the principals and vice-principals’ association.
For local bargaining items, the school boards negotiate directly with their local unions at the local level. The government and the school board associations do not take part in these local discussions.
The four Ontarian school board associations (ACÉPO, AFOCSC, OCSTA, OPSBA) work together and represent the school boards at the provincial bargaining tables. The stakeholders at these tables are the school board associations, the Crown, and the union organizations.
The next round of bargaining
Once the collective agreements have been ratified, it is up to the school board associations to manage them. This involves interpretation, dispute resolution, grievances, arbitration, etc.
A new round of bargaining will begin in 2017; ACÉPO has begun planning for this round of bargaining with its partners and the stakeholders involved.